Captain America #231-236
Issue(s): Captain America #231, Captain America #232, Captain America #233, Captain America #234, Captain America #235, Captain America #236
Issue #231 is basically a downtime issue, with Cap wrapping up the Corporation plot, saying goodbye to the Falcon, getting into a bunch of fights with SHIELD, and cleaning up his apartment.
Then he gets involved in a Hate-Monger/Sons of the Serpent type plot that is masterminded by Dr. Faustus. The downtime and SHIELD conflict parts are very good. The main plot is one that we've seen several times now and it's getting a bit old, and isn't done especially well this time, either. There's a scene involving Cap trying to make an alliance with the crime kingpin Morgan that is particularly bad.
Daredevil shows up to help Cap when he is inevitably brainwashed by Faustus' National Force.
Faustus's front-man is the 1950s Cap, who's been psychologically manipulated into his new persona... the Grand Director (which is only a slightly more extreme version of his previous self).
Cap and DD manage to escape the National Force, and there's a funny line where, after three times, Daredevil asks Cap to stop calling him "son".
Then... everybody's favorite: the blind man flies a plane.
Eventually Cap catches up with Faustus and the "Grand Director", but the Director sort of grasps that he's being manipulated and immolates himself.
After that, Cap is able to capture Faustus and stop his scheme.
Sharon Carter is one of the victims of the Faustus' hate-ray.
Later, all of the brainwashed goons kill themselves to avoid capture. Sharon is assumed to have been among them but it isn't definite.
I didn't think much of this when i first read it, but it turns out that this really is the death of Sharon Carter. Of course she'll be back years later (more than 200 issues), but this is the last of her for a good long time.
A flashback shows that while Faustus was brainwashing the 1950s Cap, he forced him to murder his Bucky, but we'll learn years later that Faustus didn't really have Bucky killed, and Bucky will come back to eventually be Nomad.
One thing to say about this arc: it's the first time i'm aware of that a racist bad guy group doesn't turn out to be led by a non-white guy in an "ironic twist".
I also think Don Perlin's inks (on all issues except #235) compliment Sal Buscema's pencils very well.
As Dan notes in the Comments, we see someone shadowing Captain America in both issue #231...
Aside from that reference to a "Brotherhood", we don't find out what he's about. When i first read these issues i think i assumed he was part of the National Force, but that doesn't really seem to be the case.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This arc starts in the aftermath of the Corporation plot that ended in Hulk #232. Other than the fact that Becky Blake is working for the firm, there's really nothing forcing placement for Daredevil.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (16): show
The weird thing is that Faustus's legs are injured in this issue. When he shows up next, in Marvel Team-Up 132-133, he's walking. But when he shows up after that, in Captain America 326, he's in a wheelchair, and the dialogue implies that it was a result of his injuries in this issue.
Posted by: Michael | November 20, 2011 6:57 PM
The title to #235 is a reference to DC's periodic "Enemy Ace" WW1 feature.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 21, 2011 12:11 AM
You refer to the Grand Director as Captain America II but isn't he really Captain America IV?
Posted by: Jay Patrick | April 10, 2013 6:58 PM
Yeah, you're right. I tag the other two as the Patriot and Spirit of '76, and this guy was the second Cap by publication date, so i used to tag him as Captain America II. There was also a point where i was willfully ignoring the other two.
But i changed 1950s Cap to Captain America (Grand Director) at one point and didn't update this entry. Fixed it now; thanks!
Posted by: fnord12 | April 10, 2013 8:55 PM
Kurt Busiek has letters in #232 and #235.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 25, 2013 6:34 PM
Okay sure, Daredevil flies a plain but I was pretty well pulled in by Cap's attempts to save himself from falling. I am surprised Sharon stays dead for a good while, I guess she won't be popping up as I read Essential CA #7.
Posted by: David Banes | November 25, 2013 7:28 PM
Was it ever revealed who the mystery man in #232-233 was (or who he was intended to be?) It's apparently meant to be the same character in #237 who the Falcon speaks (in what seems to be just a means of throwing that plot out the window).
Posted by: Dan H. | October 4, 2014 8:16 PM
I've added the scans of the mystery man that Dan refers to on this entry and on #237. But i don't know who he was supposed to be. Dropped plot, i guess?
Posted by: fnord12 | October 5, 2014 2:35 PM
I often wondered why this storyline, a fairly important one where Cap's longtime girlfriend gets killed, was not often referenced. After reading it in essential format i understand why. It is very bad.
The Grand Director adds nothing to the story and Daredevil feels incidental. I only kinda wish he had acctually shot "Bucky". We'd have been spared Jack monroe/Nomad.
Posted by: kveto | March 18, 2015 2:19 PM
It is actually securely above average for a Cap story.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 18, 2015 5:30 PM
Fnord, this is interesting, because the way you present the book, it seems like Sharon's death is not obvious, but when they did Marvel Universe they showed an image that was her burning up. Those images usually were in the original death scenes (that's why some of them in books I've never read look familiar - because I saw their deaths pictured in MU). Did that Sharon image not appear in this original run?
You can see that image here.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 14, 2015 6:13 PM
The scene that i show above is all that is in issue #233. In Cap #237, he sees a video tape confirming that Sharon was killed, and the scene on the video is the same drawing as what you linked to except that it's cropped and in black & white (you can find it on that entry). It's possible that at some point afterwards they used the full image as a flashback, but i wouldn't have tracked it. Or maybe they took the drawing and recolored it for the Handbook? Or originally decided it was too gruesome (or not Code approved?) so they cut it, and then used for the Handbook? As you say, it's interesting (unless i just missed a panel somewhere, but i did double-check #233 and it wouldn't make sense for it to appear in #234-236 since Cap doesn't find out about it until #237).
Posted by: fnord12 | April 14, 2015 6:37 PM
I think the Handbook had to "re-create" quite a few death panels because there was no good on-panel image. I would assume in this case since they didn't have an actual panel, they had an artist create one based on that video image panel.
Admittedly, I can't name any of the top of my head, but I know there are a bunch. Quick googling only finds comments about creating some panels to show power demonstrations, and editing panels of Cyclops to show him in his "current" costume (which he never actually wore, so all the panels showing him in it had to be edited).
Posted by: S | April 14, 2015 9:26 PM
With the handbooks, the new art for deaths are most prominent in the Scourge massacre victims who all got original art of Scourge shooting them.
And I love the idea Sharon Carter basically died off-panel. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Mark Waid kicked off his crap run by bringing her back (and morphing her into a completely different mega-bitch of a character). She should've stayed dead. Her and Steve have absolutely no chemistry and their relationship always reads as incredibly forced. Like two people who work at the same office and feel obliged to be in a relationship with each other. At least when Cap was with Bernie or Rachel they felt natural and like they were actually a couple that are attracted and like each other.
Posted by: AF | April 4, 2016 8:55 AM
Certainly the Marvel Universe 'Dead Handbooks', with their specially-commissioned 'death panels', gave every impression that characters were included only if their deaths were unambiguous and irrevocable. Was I naïve to believe that? (Not so naïve that I kept giving Marvel my money in perpetuity, mind.)
Posted by: Oliver_C | April 4, 2016 1:39 PM
Oliver_C: Well, I'm sure the people who wrote the stories assumed the deaths were irrevocable, but comics being a medium where writers constantly change, new people came on board and said "Well, maybe I could just bring this one character back to life..." Unfortunately, this happened so often that death no longer has much of an impact since writers can always bring them back to life later, and continuity is waaaaay more lax these days.
Posted by: mikrolik | April 5, 2016 2:09 PM
Also, let's not forget that by the time the deluxe handbooks came out in 1986, there were already characters brought back to life who had been in the Dead and Inactive books in the first go-round, namely Jean Grey. So, it was obvious even by then that things could easily change.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 5, 2016 4:10 PM
Mark Gruenwald explained in the front cover of OHOTMU Deluxe #16 that the art team of James Fry and Josef Rubinstein did the newly drawn death panels in the book of the dead entries when a clear shot of the death was not in the original issue.
Posted by: Rick | April 10, 2016 4:37 PM
@Michael: Maybe his legs got worse during Marvel Team-Up, forcing him to use a wheelchair?
Posted by: D09 | May 29, 2016 12:38 AM
Regarding that "mystery man" from these issues (since I hate unsolved mysteries)...
On the basis of his first two appearances, I actually feel like there's a strong candidate. Maybe not conclusive, but enough to make him an odds-on favorite in my mind.
The mention of a "Brotherhood." Well, it's one of those things that could be TOO obvious, but when we think of a Brotherhood in the Marvel U. we immediately think of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Cap had recently fought the most recent incarnation of the group and we know that they were on their own at this point, having been abandoned by Magneto. So making a revenge strike at Cap seems like something they'd do.
AND I might be engaging in some confirmation bias, but every time we see the guy there's a reference to glancing, spotting, gazing...
So based on those two issues, I feel like the guy was meant to be Peeper. He would find and monitor Cap and then call in the other members of the former Brotherhood when the time was right. Plus, Peeper had a distinctive build and it seems like this guy is clothed and shadowed almost to disguise that.
Problem: He also appears in #233 (you don't have scans of that appearance here). In that scene he doesn't act anything like I could see Peeper acting. Seems much more like a mastermind on his own and makes a weird comment to the effect of "Once I get my... hands on him..." It's almost like a change was already made as to this guy's identity well before the switch in writers was made.
Posted by: Dan H. | March 22, 2017 11:47 PM
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