Captain America #248-249
Issue(s): Captain America #248, Captain America #249
Dragon Man was revived by the Machinesmith.
After watching SHIELD's inspection of the Struckerbot...
...Cap goes home and is invited by his brownstone neighbors to meet the newest tenant, Bernie Rosenthal.
After hitting it off really well with Bernie, Steve has to abruptly excuse himself from the get-together because he sees the silhouette of Dragon Man in the moonlight.
Then the fightin' begins!
Eventually Cap makes his way back to the Machinesmith's lair...
...where he gets to fight a bunch of half-assembled robots in the likeness of various super-heroes and villains.
Machinesmith recounts his origin: he used to be Daredevil villain Starr Saxon, and also took on the Mr. Fear persona for a time, but fell to his death while fighting DD. A robot transferred his consciousness to a computer. Cap fights and destroys Machinesmith's 'bodies' many times before learning that he's really trapped in a computer mainframe. His attack on Captain America is actually an elaborate plot to get Cap to accidentally kill him by destroying the mainframe.
It's also explained that the Machinesmith has been a supplier of robots to the villainous side of the Marvel Universe in general, which explains how random bad guys wind up with sophisticated robots. Along with the Tinkerer supplying gadgets and the Taskmaster supplying goons, its part of an effort to better explain the workings of the Marvel Universe, and it's a nice touch.
The plot doesn't really add up to me; especially considering Machinesmith's previous appearance in Marvel Two-In-One where he was just a typical villain, but also because the elaborate nature of the attacks on Cap didn't really seem necessary. The Baron Strucker bot makes sense if you're trying to get Cap's attention (although that robot first appeared in Cap #130, which means Machinesmith's been plotting all this out for a looong time), but why go through all the effort of reviving Dragon Man? Still it's a fun action story with nice art.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This starts "less than an hour" after Cap's fight with the Strucker robot last issue. The MCP has this issue placed earlier than its publishing date to clear the way for Cap's appearance in the Avengers.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showAir-Walker, Bernie Rosenthal, Captain America, Dragon Man, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Gaffer (SHIELD Scientist), Josh Cooper, Machinesmith, Magneto Robot, Mike Farrel, Nick Fury, Thing Robot
Barry Smith, who drew the original Starr Saxon story, stated in a Comic Book Artist interview that Starr was supposed to be the first gay Marvel villain. It didn't seem too obvious when I read the story in Essential Daredevil V.3.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 30, 2011 12:05 AM
The yellow robot in one of those panels is supposed to John Byrne's Rog 2000, which he created while at Charlton.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 4, 2011 7:16 PM
249 knocked me out when I was 14-15. That panel of Cap's shield returning to his arm is simple, yet powerful.
Posted by: Chaim Shraga | June 11, 2012 10:55 AM
What bugs me about revealing Starr Saxon as a robot supplier to the criminal underworld is that the golden age of random robot henchmen was prior to, or roughly contemporaneous with, Saxon's debut. Saxon, especially in his pre-Machinesmith days, just isn't a satisfying explanation, especially when you have anthropologists like Bolivar Trask inventing Sentinels. 'Chiney is both superfluous and inadequate.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | December 18, 2012 1:46 AM
Odd that you have Cap 247 broken up from Cap 248-249 with Fanfare 22-23 in between. I believe Cap's only appearance in Fanfare 23 is his leg on the stairs. I guess he could have gone to Avengers Mansion in the hour between 247 and 248, but it seems more likely he would have stayed at Fort Dix.
Posted by: Amidon37 | January 11, 2015 1:40 PM
Agree. I've moved Cap #247 a little closer to these issues, and after the Marvel Fanfare issues.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 11, 2015 7:42 PM
It never occurred to me until just now, but Bernie Rosenthal is totally drawn like a more adult Kitty Pryde. Makes sense if Byrne created them both at around the same time.
I love the panel of Dragon Man trying to take a bite out of the shield.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 18, 2015 7:59 PM
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