Captain America #261-263
Issue(s): Captain America #261, Captain America #262, Captain America #263
I should note that this arc starts with Steve Rogers out with Sam Wilson and Josh Cooper. Steve and Sam get drunk...
...and then barely manage to handle a couple of muggers.
But the story starts for real when Cap sees the new Nomad, operating in the Los Angeles area, on tv, and then accepts a conveniently timed telegram inviting him to participate in a Captain America movie. When some Nihilists attack when Cap arrives in Los Angeles, Nomad is on the scene, operating somewhere between bungling and actively interfering...
...but getting all the credit when the fight is over.
That scene repeats itself several more times over the first two issues of this arc, with Cap getting increasingly more suspicious.
Eventually the Ameridroid and Nomad make a direct attack on Cap...
...and then Nomad is betrayed and killed.
Cap is defeated and brought back to the Red Skull.
But Cap is able to get through to Lyle Dekker, the human mind inside the Ameridroid.
I have a weird fondness for the Ameridroid. A giant Captain America robot is just such a dumb idea that it goes back around to being cool again. One problem with him, though, is the artist has to be really careful to accentuate the size difference, because in all other respects he looks exactly like the real Cap.
Cap then destroys the Red Skull's version of the Cap movie, which would have caused viewers to riot in the streets.
There's potentially a good plot here, but J.M. DeMatteis' dry writing style doesn't work for me.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP place this between Avengers #208-210.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAmeridroid, Beast, Captain America, Falcon, Iron Man, Josh Cooper, Red Skull, Redwing, Vision
In Captain America 27, written by Robert Morales, Cap comments that he can't get drunk as a result of the Super-Soldier serum. This story seems to contradict that
Posted by: Michael | July 9, 2013 10:45 PM
This story arc comprises the earliest domestic Marvel comics I ever read. I enjoyed them very much, mostly due to Mike Zeck's artwork and J.M. DeMatteis' plotting and scripting. One-time supporting characters Leonard Spellman, Wally Lombego, and Jason Staid add an interesting perspective to the proceedings.
DeMatteis does have a tendency to center on metaphysical or spiritual themes but this one is a straight action story and it works on all levels. DeMatteis would go on to also display his flair for humor on his Justice League tenure with Keith Giffen later in the decade but he would play it straight throughout his Cap run. Gotta give him his due as a highly versatile writer.
Cultural references: In Cap #263, Skull toady Will Brynner is arrested by one Lt. Cal Lummbu, a word play on Peter Falk's rumpled TV detective Columbo.
As Brynner is driven away by the police, bystanders "Joe" and "Billie" from "the Trib" realize that Cap has been set up and that Nomad was a phony. Joe tells Billie that he will make sure that everyone learns the truth. Joe Rossi (Robert Walden) and Billie Newman (Linda Kelsey) were general assignment reporters working for the fictional Los Angeles Tribune newspaper on the TV series "Lou Grant" which was still being aired when these issues were published.
Posted by: Clutch | March 26, 2014 4:56 AM
DeMatteis later said in Comics Interview #39 that his first 6 or 8 Caps "really sucked".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 26, 2014 8:58 PM
Per DeMatteis in the same Interview, this story had a long history. It was originally supposed to be a Treasury-sized tie-in to one of the Captain America TV-Movies, but the format got scrapped and the story got recycled here.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 26, 2014 9:04 PM
Hey! Is this the same Ameridroid that was featured in Captain America Corps?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | September 8, 2014 10:32 PM
Jon, that was an alternate universe story, but basically yes. Also, if you're not familiar with it, check out Captain America Annual #6. The set-up for that is what Stern was riffing on for the Corps story.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 9, 2014 7:33 AM
Wait, who's the blonde guard who's working for the Skull? The Skull employed female minions?
Now I want to know the story of this poor woman!
Posted by: Piotr W | January 1, 2017 4:50 PM
I always wondered why anybody would work for the Skull (or the joker or any villains known for killing their minions) because you know you'll get "dusted" at some point.
Posted by: kveto | January 3, 2017 8:12 AM
I can't imagine anyone working for the Joker... the guy is obviously insane. I can imagine *some* people choosing to work for the Skull... still, I'm curiously what are the reasons of this particular blonde? ;) She looks nice...
Posted by: Piotr W | January 3, 2017 8:24 AM
I think this is the first time the Red Skull appeared in anything other than the green jumpsuit he's worn since the Golden Age. (Stan Lee has said the jumpsuit is good because its featurelessness makes the mask stand out.) The Nazi uniform is striking, but maybe too topical. I like the black battle suit he gets in the next decade.
Posted by: Andrew | January 16, 2017 7:23 PM
DeMatteis must like the name "Edward Ferbel" for some reason, since he reuses it as the name of one of the wacky neighbors in his late-1980s Mister Miracle series at DC.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | March 19, 2017 3:01 PM
It's ironic that, in Byrne's telling, Stern and Byrne left because they couldn't do a three-issue Red Skull story, and the next team to work on the book for multiple issues start with a three-issue Red Skull story.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 26, 2017 10:40 PM
Comments have been disabled for the summer while i'm not around to moderate.
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