Captain America #222-223,225-227
Issue(s): Captain America #222, Captain America #223, Captain America #225, Captain America #226, Captain America #227
That means Cap getting attacked by the Killer Volkswagen Beetle...
...the Lincoln Memorial...
...some weird dreams...
...and Animus, "a strange being that appears to embody the worst of both ends of the evolutionary scale, the savagery of early man coupled with the massive mental capacity of man's future potential".
Animus always shouts, "Die-e-ee!". I don't know exactly how that should be pronounced, but i like the consistency of it. Despite that guttural cry, she (we'll learn that she is actually Vamp from the SHIELD Super-Agents, although i doubt that was the original intent) speaks intelligently and in fact says that she's only trying to kill Cap under duress.
All of these attacks are directed by the Corporation. Whenever Animus is near defeat, the Corporation teleports her away.
After the repeated failures, Kligger kills Veda.
Animus' second attack is while Cap is on a train, and the result is a lot of innocent lives lost in a trainwreck. That draws the attention of SHIELD. Tired of hitting dead-ends on his quest for his lost memories, Cap demands that Nick Fury release Mason Harding, the inventor of the Madbomb, so that Harding can use his memory inducing techniques to discover Cap's lost memories.
The memories that Harding discovers, which no one points out contradicts previous memories that we've seen, such as in Captain America #176, will all eventually be re-retconned away, so i'm not going to go into too much detail on them. We learn that Steve was a wimpy artist type that grew up in the suburbs and didn't get along with his dad.
He had an older brother who was more of a sports guy, and when he joined the army and was killed in the Pearl Harbor attack, Cap joined the army to get vengeance.
It's a bad retcon - Cap was never about vengeance. We also didn't need to saddle him with Daddy issues or the tragedy of the death of an older brother. And it's contradictory even beyond the previous childhood scenes that we've seen because we know that Captain America was active prior to Pearl Harbor. I think the one thing that sticks from this origin is Steve Rogers' artistic abilities; i don't think we've seen him demonstrate them before.
After the memories are revealed, Cap's super-serum is somehow neutralized.
Roger McKenzie becomes the writer with issue #226, and Roger Stern is now editor (Stern was also editor on the #224 fill-in. Shooter was editor on #222-223 but the story was continuing a plot introduced in issue #215). I really feel like they must have said, "Look, enough with the origin retcons! We've gotta do a straightforward super-hero story! Bring in the Red Skull!"
While Cap's training at SHIELD to deal with his lack of super-serum, the Red Skull attacks from afar, using a beam that turns all the SHIELD agents (including Dum Dum) into Red Skull clones under the Skull's control.
Cap's powers return while fighting an out-of-control robot. The whole loss-of-powers bit feels again like McKenzie and Stern just sort of quickly reversing the previous creative team's stories.
Then Cap faces off against the Red Skulls.
Issue #227 is a straightforward fight issue and it works well enough. My one complaint is this little sequence.
When Steve Rogers wears his shield on his back under his civilian clothes, it strains credibility but i think readers are generally willing to overlook it. But to ask us to believe that it can fit under Cap's armor, in the front, and not be obviously bulging out is a bit much.
Captain America also learns during this arc that the Falcon has quit his post as the leader of the SHIELD Super-Agents, but he isn't able to follow-up and find out why yet.
It's hard to pass an overall judgment on an arc like this. First, i have some sympathy for Steve Gerber, who inherited the Thomas/Glut "Hunt for Steve Rogers" plot. I think he did a terrible job with the actual Steve Rogers origin, and while i'm sure the artist/tough guy conflict and daddy issues parts were his idea, he shouldn't have had to come up with a backstory for Steve Rogers in the first place, and he should have had a more continuity-minded editor to help him navigate the existing history. The Animus and Corporation parts of the arc are actually pretty good. And then the McKenzie issues are pretty generic, but it was exactly the antidote for all of the retcon noodling. One consistent factor is the art team, who is competent throughout, and have fun with the crazy Animus concept.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Captain America #224 was a fill-in issue. This arc should take place soon after issue #221 ends. Presumably, the Killer Volkswagen Beetle attacks Cap the morning after he falls asleep in his apartment at the end of #221. That puts this whole thing prior to the Korvac saga due to the reference in the Korvac saga to Captain America #218 (i point this out because my placement here differs from the MCP in that regard).
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
The title to #223 may refer to the MC5 song "Call Me Animal".
There was originally announced to be also a story cowritten by Mark Evanier & Steve Gerber, and a fill-in by Mike W. Barr featuring the Hulk.
The first person to have the "older brother of Captain America" idea was Ted White, author of the 1960's paperback "Captain America and the Great Gold Steal"(I may have the title partially wrong). Steve's older brother was then called Alan Rogers. Roger Stern took pains in his FOOM#8 article to declare it non-canon.
FOOM#21(4/78) announced that Gerber was changing his plan to wrap up Omega's story in Defenders, and do it in this book instead. Unfortunately, he got fired first. He was also intending to write out SHIELD and Sharon Carter for good.
In FOOM#22(11/78) Roger McKenzie had this to say about Roy Thomas' missing history of Steve Rogers:"If, after all these years, Cap can't figure out who he is yet, he might as well not worry about it."
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