Characters Appearing: Captain America, Dino Manelli, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Eric Koenig, Gabriel Jones, Izzy Cohen, Nick Fury, Percy Pinkerton, Reb Ralston, Sam 'Happy Sam' Sawyer
Captain America #273-274
Issue(s): Captain America #273, Captain America #274
This fill-in by David Anthony Kraft (the third during J.M. DeMatteis' run, and the second two-parter) finally addresses the topic, but it still leaves some open questions.
The real occasion here is a reunion of the Howling Commandos.
And Baron Strucker is the ideal villain to show up, since he was the arch villain in the Howlers book, to an almost tedious degree. But it's confirmed that this Strucker is actually a robot. More specifically, he's an LMD of the real Strucker who thought he was the real thing.
Now that i guess wraps up the technical details. There were a cadre of LMDs, and they were programmed to think they were Strucker and carry on his plans and think they were him, much like a Doombot. But it was implied in the Byrne/Stern story that the Strucker robot was a creation of Machinesmith. So does this mean he was supplying Strucker? Or, like Airwalker, was he really just collecting various robots with the intention of using them for his own purposes? But the Strucker LMD had been in prison since the 1970 Cap stories, so when did Machinesmith gain control of them?
And on a more meta level, what was the reason behind keeping Strucker dead, even retroactively cancelling out his last appearance? If that seems like a strange question, you probably haven't read that many Marvel comics. Were there even greater plans in the work for Strucker? Or was he deemed not interesting enough to use anymore?
Anyway, as if you haven't already guessed, the Baron Strucker LMD attacks the Howlers during their reunion. And the Howlers go back into action to defeat him.
General Sam Sawyer sacrifices himself to help defeat Strucker...
...and Nick Fury (correctly!) blames himself for not calling in SHIELD instead of handling things with the Howlers, and specifically for not having them check out Hydra island, the location where Fury seemingly killed the real Strucker in the Steranko story, when Strucker first resurfaced.
That island sinks into the sea in this arc.
As for catching up with the Howlers, well, Gabe and Dum Dum have been members of SHIELD and we've been seeing them all along. Eric Koening was a latter day Howler that joined after Cap's WWII meeting with the group. But he is also a member of SHIELD, and Cap met him in Captain America #146. So he must have Alzheimer's or something, because he doesn't seem to remember it (neither does Cap, but he's met a lot of people, you know?).
Here's Pinky, Izzy and Reb. Reb is a Senator now and that's why he's able to "outrank" Fury and ensure that the non-SHIELD Howlers are included in this mission.
And there's Dino, taking the "my mother is your biggest fan" line very well.
I call this a fill-in, and it is interrupting DeMatteis' run and delaying his Baron Zemo storyline. But we're not just treading water. This (sort of) answers the question of the Strucker-bot, has the death of Happy Sam Sawyer, sinks Hydra island (which definitely feels like a deliberate clean-up), and checks in with the Howlers, several of whom had not been seen for some time.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places these between Avengers #224-225.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I suspect this was just more of Shooter disposing of disposable characters, in this case a Nazi villain who's not as iconic as the Red Skull. Retconning out the '70s Cap appearance was a good way to make Strucker's real final appearance a classic (the Steranko's story), and that '70s story didn't fit well with Strucker's established MO anyway. I would guess Stern and Byrne, and maybe Gru in the background, were in on this at some level. They'd all appreciate a continuity/redundancy fix if this kind. I doubt there were plans to bring Strucker back.
That said....wasn't Nick Fury vs. SHIELD, or something like it, originally meant to be published in the early '80s? And Kraft had already done rogue LMD stories with Zodiac in Defenders. Was a big LMD story being previewed here?
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 27, 2013 12:33 PM
Nick Fury Vs. SHIELD was announced in 1985(I think) but it didn't show up until 1988. Most critics complained that it had obviously been sitting on the shelf for a while.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 27, 2013 1:34 PM
Strucker was kept dead because at that time Marvel really took the "dead is dead" policy seriously. Strucker, like Norman Osborn and Thanos, stayed dead for almost 20 years.
Posted by: Andrew | May 14, 2015 12:35 PM
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