Writer Mark Gruenwald
Penciler Paul Neary
Finisher John Beatty
Letterer Diana Albers
Colorist Ken Feduniewicz
Cover Dated November 1986
Look at that handsome cover by Mike Zeck and John Romita Jr. They found a way to out three, count ’em, three Captain Americas on the cover.
This is part of the Marvel 25th Anniversary non-event. Some issues were just the regular issue of the month. Others were milestone issues.
This issue has the very first appearance of Super-Patriot, John Walker, who will one day become US Agent. I own his first appearance, how crazy is that? Before he becomes US Agent, he will become Captain America in maybe twelve issues after this one, or something like that.
For Captain America, Steve Rogers, he is coming off a two issue storyline where he fought the Flag Smasher and his Ultimatum group. That story ends with Cap having killed one of these terrorist. People are all up in arms about this.
Which I don’t get, as he killed so many villains and enemy soldiers during World War II, but I suppose the world of the Marvel Universe forgets that as that must be a weird thing to wrap your mind around.
SHIELD brings Cap in to meet Jasper Sitwell. This is at the time when SHIELD is distancing themselves from superhero agents. They want them to be either an agent they can direct or not be bothered with them. Cap killed this terrorist while abroad, so he isn’t protected by American rights. SHIELD offers Cap a year contract, which they are willing to predate the filing of his application, so his mission would have been an official SHIELD mission. Which would protect Cap from having to stand trial in Switzerland.
Cap gets a couple days to think about the offer. All Jasper asks, is that Cap doesn’t appear in his uniform during these days.
Super-Patriot meets up with his agent, there will be a press conference the next day. He opts out of stopping a mugging, as it isn’t a big enough news story.
Cap is living at Avengers Mansion, which I really like. Why would he have his own apartment, when he can live rent free at his friend’s house?
Hercules and Black Knight are throwing a party. Jarvis is hard at work, keeping food and liquor coming. Cap passes on the party, he isn’t in the mood.
Cap wishes he can call his girlfriend, Bernie Rosenthal but it is after one in the morning and it is a week night. We segue to see she is up and cramming for a law test. She wants to call him, but doesn’t have a number for him, which is odd. She knows he is Captain America, so should have a direct line to him at the mansion.
Steve sees a flyer for the Super-Patriot event and decides to go. It is a giant event. Super-Patriot is giving a speech about how Captain America is old news and it is time for an 80s hero. There is a staged fight, but the audience doesn’t know it is staged. Steve tries to make it to the stage.
Super-Patriot has to fight the Buckies, three bodybuilders wearing silly Captain America knock off costumes. We see that Super-Patriot’s weapon of choice is a flame sword that comes out of a torch that resembles the Statue of Liberty’s torch.
By the time Steve makes it to the stage, the fight is over and police have arrested the Buckies. One of these will be John Walker’s Bucky when he becomes Captain America.
Steve suspects something and follows the police, as they don’t drive a police car, they drive off in an unmarked van.
I like how Super-Patriot keeps referring to Captain America as, grampaw. It is so strange.
Steve follows the van and it eventually leads him to John Walker and his agent, having lunch. Steve dons a suit and dark sunglasses and crashes the private lunch.
At first, they can’t figure out who this stranger is, who is threatening to reveal their little stunt. Once Walker figures it out, he challenges Steve to a fight for official patriot hero. Steve turns him down but gives him some advice – if you want to be a hero of the country, you must be worthy of the title.
The agent sends the Buckies after Steve. We see they are super strong. They also fight Steve, with all they have. They also don’t know he is really Captain America, so from their perspective, they are fighting a regular guy.
Steve throws his portfolio case at one of the guys, inside is his shield. When it smacks the guy, the guy shouts, my pelvis! Which must really hurt!
This is during the time that Steve is trying to be an artist, which I believe he works for Marvel at one point.
This fight gives Steve something else to think about, once it is over, he has come to a decision.
The issue ends with Captain America holding a press conference at Avengers Mansion. I like how Cap’s section is only his head in tiny panels as he is giving one of his speeches. The panels resemble a television set, very much like Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns.
Cap feels bad that he had to take a life. If Switzerland wants him to stand trial, he will. He is honored to be America’s Sentinel of Liberty and he will continue to strive to be better.
We see that Super-Patriot is admiring Captain America’s resolve but he isn’t quite done going after him.
. . .
Captain America Month has begun!
Also, be aware of April Fools Day! My wife got me this morning already by telling me she saw a comic book writer report on the news how comics are going to stop printing and go fully digital in a matter of years.