Captain America #264
Issue(s): Captain America #264
...has captured four telepaths and hooked them up to a machine where he forces them to recreate a reality more in line with his sensibilities.
Two of the telepaths, however, are racists (one's a garden variety American racist, and one's an older German woman who longs for the glory days of Nazi Germany) and one's just a boy, so their own fantasies keep conflicting with Hardy's as well as each others.
The final telepath is an admirer of Captain America
When Hardy tries to write Cap out of his reality, the entire reality phases out of resistance, because the Cap loyalists' vision of America was so integrated with the idea of the Captain America that one could not exist without the other. The two racists psychics die, but the other two will appear in a later Captain America crossover with the Defenders (and we'll learn who Hardy's backer was). Hardy seemingly dies, too, but we've heard that before.
The two surviving psychics are not named in this story, but they will be called Ursula Richards and Phillip Le Guin, an inversion of two science fiction writers, Ursula Le Guin and Philip K. Dick.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Captain America was returning home from the events of the previous arc in California at the start of this issue, so no Captain America appearances should appear in between.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
One of the most clever single comic stories ever - DeMatteis is a true master!
Posted by: Jack | July 8, 2015 7:05 PM
I got suckered in by the original X-Men on the cover. This was where I got turned onto the Awesome that is Cap.
DeMatteis on his game (and not co-writing with Keith Giffen) is as good as anyone out there, not that his stuff tends to be exactly accessible to the fanboy mindset...
Posted by: BU | July 9, 2015 10:50 AM
This story is based on Ursula K. LeGuin's classic sci-fi novel The Lathe of Heaven, about a reality-warping psychic who is used to try to "fix" the world. LeGuiin's name is referenced in the names of two of the psychics.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 2, 2015 9:41 AM
The story actually owes more to Philip K Dick's early novel Eye in the Sky, which also featured an artificial reality created from the dreams of a racist. (The characters also travel through realities created by a communist, a paranoid, and an evangelical.) I recommend it, though it's more of an old fashioned adventure than the sort of mind-benders he's more famous for.
Posted by: Andrew | January 9, 2016 4:22 PM
I definitely read somewhere that Lathe of Heaven was LeGuin's homage to PKD anyways, so it's no stretch at all to say that this story is an homage to both.
Posted by: George Lochinski | September 22, 2016 5:24 PM
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