Captain America #269
Issue(s): Captain America #269
This is the first published appearance of Team America.
First, a quick check in with Cap's supporting cast. The issue begins with Ann Kappelbaum feeding waffles to Steve Rogers, Josh Cooper, and Mike Farrel. When Josh reads about a Neo-Nazi rally in the paper, Mike says he hates to say that it doesn't surprise him, and then Anna has minor flip out.
Then Bernie Rosenthal shows up to mend fences over her recent spats with Steve, but Steve is still a little aloof.
J.M. DeMatteis' writing always feels a little flat to me. Here too. But at the same time, it's really a relief to see relationship troubles being handled with a light touch instead of screaming, crying histrionics.
Now, on to what
An irony is that while comic books, especially before modern movie special effects, were the ideal form for super-hero action, real world action can sometimes look a bit flat. If you can watch guys on television doing a motorcross or whatever, why would you want to see it in a comic? But i'll tell you this. If Mike Zeck were illustrating the Team America book, it might have been a whole different story.
Team America's personalities aren't entirely fleshed out at this point (e.g. i think this is the only appearance by R.U. Reddy where he doesn't mention wanting to make money to pay back his disapproving father) but at a minimum it is fully established that Wolf is Hispanic.
By the end of the event, there's a real Mutual Appreciation Society thing going on.
Looking at that picture, i'm realizing that we dodged a bullet here. Captain America dresses up in a patriotic costume and often rides a motorcycle. So do Team America. So what was stopping these guys from becoming permanent members of Cap's cast? I mean, look at them all together. It really seems like a natural fit. And i can't express how happy i am that it didn't happen. Although having them turn up here again after their series was cancelled instead of the New Mutants would have felt a little better.
Now, on to the plot. In the audience at the motorcycle event is Noble Prize recipient Alfred Knopfler (what, you don't think egghead scientists can enjoy some motorcyclin'?). And soon a kind of bland looking android shows up to kidnap him...
...and Cap and Team America follow through the teleportation portal. And they find themselves in a little town where the Mad Thinker has built robots of famous thinkers from history.
But the problem with the robots is they only contain what the Thinker was able to program into them, so he's now moved on to capturing real scientists and transferring their minds to robots. Now, i'm a little unclear on how "transferring their consciousness" works. I've never been clear on this sort of thing. I mean, he's not scooping out their brains. So it should really just be a copy of the original, not a transfer. It does say in the end that the SHIELD scientists are working to restore the kidnapped scientists, though.
But you'd think if the Thinker could find a way to do this in a non-destructive way and get scientists to agree to it voluntarily, it might be something the government or SHIELD might actually support. For one thing, it keeps a dangerous super-criminal like the Mad Thinker occupied. And the conversations that the Thinker would be sponsoring might actually have some real value to society. So if he would agree to be kept under supervision, something that i would think wouldn't be a problem for him, it might actually be ok.
As the Thinker says, he's getting older (and clearly putting on weight) and he could put his criminal days behind him if he could find something challenging to occupy his mind with.
But of course things don't work out that way, so we're going to have to settle things with our fists.
Team America try to get in on the action, and kudos to Honcho for that really impressive jump kick, but as Cap notes, they're not really cut out for this. They're not even on motorcycles!
One thing i do like is that the Mad Thinker claims that he knew Captain America was going to show up, and he soon proves that wasn't idle boasting, because he's already got a Captain America android prepared.
But one thing the Thinker wasn't prepared for is the Marauder, the mysterious black-garbed cyclist that appears whenever Team America is in trouble.
When it's over, Team America isn't even aware that the Marauder showed up.
Nick Fury and SHIELD show up at the end for the mop-up. And we see Team America and then Captain America driving off on their motorcycles. Now, this town is in New Hampshire. And they were all teleported out of New York. Can't someone give them a lift home in a SHIELD plane or something?
Anyway, this series effectively sets up the pattern for Team America. They're at a motorcycle event. Trouble happens, and they get knocked out. The Marauder shows up and saves them. Exciting!
Still, better executed here than what we'll see in the Team America series.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Team America #1-2 take place prior to this issue, even though they were published afterwards, because they show the formation of the team. There's no mention of Cowboy or Wrench in this issue, but this issue has to take place after the first meeting of Honcho, Wolf, and R.U. Reddy in Team America #1, and #1 runs into #2. The MCP place Cap here between Avengers #218-219 and this also has to take place after Cap's appearances in Defenders #106-107 since that runs directly from Cap #268.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAnna Kappelbaum, Bernie Rosenthal, Captain America, Honcho, Josh Cooper, Mad Thinker, Marauder, Mike Farrel, Nick Fury, R.U. Reddy, Wolf
The androids appear again in Marvel Team-Up 129 and a couple of issues of New Warriors.
Posted by: Michael | July 25, 2013 7:32 PM
So who created Team America? Zeck and DeMatties or Jim Shooter?
Posted by: a.lloyd | March 18, 2017 8:41 PM
Comments have been disabled for the summer while i'm not around to moderate.
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