My review of Flags of Our Fathers #1 finished with a claim that it had me “looking forward to the next issue.” Well, that next issue has arrived, and I’m happy to say it doesn’t disappoint.
The issue begins soon after the first. Captain America and Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos have managed to prove their worth to the Black Panther and gain entry into Wakanda. Meanwhile, the Red Skull has now been sent to aid the Nazi operation against the small African nation. The Red Skull is instantly portrayed as a far superior foe than Baron Von Strucker. Strucker seems to underestimate the Wakandans and seems to favor the Nazi Blitzkrieg tactic of rushing in as many troops, supported by tanks, as possible. The Red Skull, as you’d expect, is a far craftier and resourceful villain, and his tactics set up what is sure to be an interesting, crazy and somewhat awesome finale.
The issue also continues the discussions of race and what the world will be and should be like after World War II. It’s kind of disappointing to see Captain America as this amazing beacon for civil rights and equality among all when you know that he’s not going to be around once World War II is finished to promote them. His conversations with the Black Panther possibly make you like him even more as he says a lot of things about World War II that I at least thought. In one panel he says, “You can’t go to war with some jerks who call themselves the Master Race and turn around and do the same thing back home."
Similarly, the Black Panther has some great dialogue as well, and the best moments are easily the conversations between these two figureheads, with the Panther acting almost as a mentor to the younger Steve Rodgers. You don’t find out too much more about Wakanda itself, with a lot of mystery still surrounding the tiny nation, but they do explore the Black Panther which was pleasing. The story also has some humor, like the Howlers' entry to the '"battle." The Skull's dismissive treatment of Strucker is quite entertaining while the happy, un-segregated Howlers show a few cracks that are more in line with the times. Fury asks Gabe to make friends with the Wakandans so they can see where they really lie with the mysterious Africans, and it’s hard not to read it, as Gabe does, that Fury asking him because he is black. It’s good to see that Hudlin hasn’t given the story the complete benefit of hindsight.