Captain America #193-200
Issue(s): Captain America #193, Captain America #194, Captain America #195, Captain America #196, Captain America #197, Captain America #198, Captain America #199, Captain America #200
A group called the Elite (who are very much like the Secret Empire and would eventually get folded into that organization) develops a device called the Madbomb that causes people to go crazy and fight each other. After getting hit by a mini-version of the bomb...
...Captain America and the Falcon are recruited to find the Elite's base and defuse the bomb before it goes off on the day of the celebration of the US's bi-centennial. They discover an underground empire in the desert where people are genetically modified to enjoy working for their "superiors".
Those that do not successfully undergo the modification become genetic freaks.
Cap and the Falcon are captured and then break out of their prison, and they fight their way through the empire, even getting engaged in a skateboarding "death dirby".
In what feels like a mangling of the plot, the army subsequently finds the base on their own, and basically come to Cap and the Falcon's rescue. They learn absolutely nothing about the location of the bomb at this point, but luckily a government spy locates one of the Elite's scientists visiting the house of his sick daughter. With Cap and the Falcon, SHIELD takes over the daughter's sick house and eventually gets their hands on the scientist, who has had a change of heart and tells them the location of the bomb.
The Falcon defuses it while Cap goes after the Elite leader.
And that's the other bizarre and silly thread in this story. The Elite leader, whose last name is Taurey (i.e., Tory)...
...(the leader of the Elite's army is General Heshin, i.e., Hessian), had an ancestor who was a royalist during the Revolutionary War, but was defeated by a revolutionary named Stephen Rogers. He's been hunting for the ancestor of Rogers, who turns out to be... Stephen Rogers, who he doesn't know is Captain America. But Cap hears about this and challenges Taurey to a duel, but Taurey wimps out.
It's a really decompressed story with no subplots or twists or anything. The stilted dialogue is especially problematic in a story that involves mind control and a conspiracy that leads to a lack of trust - are people talking like that because they aren't themselves, or is it just written poorly? Cap and the Falcon aren't even significant drivers of the plot - a lot of the successes in the story come from faceless soldiers and spies. Really weird. And the Falcon says the word "Jive" every three panels.
Generally speaking, nice art, though.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: Captain America and the Falcon: Madbomb TPB
Inbound References (4): show
Captain America, Cheer Chadwick, Falcon, Hesperus Chadwick, Leila Taylor, William Malcolm Taurey
Some of Kirby's text in his earlier issues was apparently rewritten to reflect elements from previous issues, as you can see from the caption in the Falcon panel up top.
This arc is a reminder of just how much comics have changed. The arc has sentimental value as a kid coming of age in the Bronze Age - this was one of the first arc's I remember reading and at the time it seemed epic. I reread this a couple of years ago and I still find it a pleasure, but clearly comics have changed. Also, within the era - Kirby just took the character in a different direction - Cap & Falc departed from the rest of the Marvel continuity while under Kirby's pencil. The current arc by Remender and Romita Jr is reminiscent of this Kirby era. Love it. Both.
Skateboarding Cap? What did Steve get jealous of Tony's super-roller skates?
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