Summary: This issue gets started with Namor and his allies having to halt a rampage at the Running of the Beasts(which is sort of like the Atlantian version of Running with the Bulls). While Namor nearly has everything in control, Krang and his army arrives to assist. Namor tells Krang that he was a wanted criminal, and Krang explains that since he didn't recognize Namor's authority as king, he didn't have to listen to Namor's edicts... Oh burn! Realizing that a battle with Krang now would prove to be costly because of all the civilians around, Namor lets the smug Krang leave. Later on, after some tests, Namor discovers that someone had drugged the Beasts, with that someone almost definitely being Krang. This fact still doesn't push Namor to attack Krang, since Krang was living in one of the poorest sections of Atlantis, and once again, Namor didn't want to put his innocent subjects in the crossfire. Besides that, Namor's current girlfriend, Abira, is still suffering the aftereffects of her recent trip to Hell, and winds up having a vision of Crazy Mutie Island being destroyed after she meets a hooded man. This issue ends with Atlantis's Logomancer being attacked and stabbed by several Atlantians, including the mysterious hooded figure from earlier.
Thoughts: Hey, you know what? I actually enjoyed this issue! Sure it took 9 issues, but I can finally point and say, “Yes, I did enjoy an issue of this series!” I'm still probably going to drop this series after the Namor Annual comes out, but at least I can look back and say that this series wasn't all bad for me!
Score: 7 out of 10.Man, Namor sure looked like a chump there...
Captain America #617:
Summary: Picking up from last issue, Bucky manages to narrowly defeat Ursa Major in the prison cage match he had been forced to take part in. After the battle Bucky passes out and is thrown back in his cell. The warden is revealed to have been aware of the illegal fighting contests the inmates had been throwing, and is fine with it, since he, much like most of the people at the prison, hated Bucky. The next day, Bucky is approached by a prison gang called the Wolf Spiders, who want to add Bucky to their group. Bucky declines, which leads to the Spider's attacking him. Bucky manages to beat them all up(because he rules), and afterwards is met by an older inmate named Alexi. Alexi tells Bucky that he used to be a member of the KGB, and that Bucky had trained him during his Winter Soldier days. Alexi tells the skeptical Bucky that he only wanted to help Bucky survive the prison, and takes Bucky out behind the prison, where he shows him the man he'd be battling for the amusement of the guards and inmates that night, a giant who was one of the Titanium Men. From there we head to Black Widow, who along with Sharon Carter is in Russia investigating the crimes Bucky was sentenced for. According to the KGB files Widow got her hands on, Bucky had supposedly gone rogue in the early 80's and killed two people, a man, as well as a woman who was caught in the crossfire. After some sneaking around and sleuthing, Widow discovers that both the “victims” were operating under false identities, and were KGB members themselves who had been sentenced to death by the KGB, meaning Bucky hadn't gone rogue and was being forced to carry out the orders of the KGB... In other words, Bucky was innocent of the crimes the Russians had convicted him of. However, before the two women can leave with their evidence, they are met by several heavily armed Russian agents. Finally we head over to Steve Rogers, who was still agonizing over whether or not he should take up the Captain America mantle again. Eventually Steve goes to Henry Peter Gyrich(!) at the Justice Department. It seems that Gyrich was the one who recommended that Bucky be extradited to Russia. Gyrich claims he made the recommendation to avoid an international incident, but Steve doesn't by it, since Gyrich has always had an ax to grind with costumed heroes. During the meeting, a costumed man speaking in Russian makes an attempt on Gyrich's life, but thanks to Steve, the assassination attempt fails. The assassin makes a break for it and is able to fly away, leaving Steve to wonder just what Gyrich had done this time to get himself targeted by the Russians.
Thoughts: I have to admit, the Bucky portion of this issue didn't really do it for me. For whatever reason, it just didn't click like almost every other issue of Captain America does. Fortunately, I thoroughly enjoyed the Black Widow/Sharon Carter and Steve Rogers portions of this story, so it all kind of balanced out. We already know that poor Bucky was framed by the Russians, now it's just a matter of Widow and Sharon getting that info out of Russia and remaining in one piece. As for the Steve Rogers parts, I've always been a closet fan of Gyrich, so it was great to see he was up to his old tricks here. I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing what kind of shady deal Gyrich made to screw Bucky over as well as get himself targeted by the Russians. All in all, this wasn't my favorite issue of this series, but it's still better than like 80% of the comics I read during any given month.
Score: 8 out of 10.Steve's a better man than me, because I wouldn't have saved Gyrich!