Captain America #308
Issue(s): Captain America #308
...he winds up going up against a real weirdo.
Just to head off any chuckles, the cover assures us that he's no laughing matter. There's no need to be so defensive! I actually think the guy is pretty cool.
The Armadillo is a creation of Dr. Karl Malus, previously responsible for the Hornet and Erik Josten's upgrade to Goliath. Actually, it's Goliath that Armadillo is here for. Goliath's been a prisoner of the Avengers since his last defeat, since the authorities didn't have anywhere to keep his giant body.
Malus wants Goliath back. The other thing that's cool about the Armadillo is he's not really a super-villain. His wife ("Bonita") is suffering from paralysis, and Malus was the only doctor who said he could cure her. In return, he mutated Armadillo (his real name is not given in this story) and sent him to retrieve Goliath. After the initial fight, Cap is cooperative and he and Armadillo get to talking.
During the fight, Armadillo's shrinking potion got smashed, so Armadillo is unable to bring Goliath home. Cap tells him to go ahead and head back to Malus' lab to pick up another one, and poor gullible Armadillo does just that, leading Cap to Malus' lair. Malus folds easy, which is appropriate; he's a super-scientist but not a fighter.
Malus threatens to withdraw help for Armadillo's wife if Cap arrests him. Cap backs down, leaves the lab, and calls the police from a pay phone. A little weird.
It turns out all of this has been observed by the Beyonder, who was so impressed with Captain America that he makes a clone of Steve Rogers' body for himself.
Meanwhile, the Serpent Squad, initially angry at Sidewinder for past betrayals, get caught up in his latest scheme.
I would almost say this was a great plot, but the way Cap just sort of walks away and leaves the poor mutated guy and his paralyzed wife in the hands of the evil mad scientist is a little odd. The scripting is also on the corny side. But overall, not bad at all. Add to that some nice art by Neary and a new character that you have to at least describe as interesting.
Due to the new Flexographic printing process, a panel in this issue has Cap without a nose.
The lettercol for issue #312 is full of hilarious "Nose-Prize" attempts (including the Armadillo's evaporating Pym Particles, the Beyonder sampling the nose for his own new body, and a suggestion to have the Armadillo wriggle his thumb and say "Ha ha, Cap. I've got your nose!"). A Mighty Marvel Correction Kit is also supplied.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place six hours after Secret Wars II #1 (see the References below if you're interested in an hour by hour breakdown of Cap's last few appearances!). The Beyonder takes Steve Rogers' form here and next appears in Uncanny X-Men #196. Wonder Man is technically behind-the-scenes in this issue; he's at the premier of a movie he did stunts for, and that's where Mockingbird and Hawkeye head off to, leaving Cap alone at the West Coast base.
Crossover: Secret Wars II
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
Gruenwald's run has a lot of ups and downs, but I appreciate how he was introducing new villains to Cap's rogues gallery. It was always subpar and very limited (how many Nazis can he possibly fight in this day and age), and after the Skull's death, he needed more. Not all were great, but the set up to the Serpent Society was fantastic.
Posted by: Chris | June 1, 2012 10:07 PM
Goliath weighs fifty tons? That's 100,000 pounds and a ton per foot. I think someone didn't do their weights or math quite right...
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 2, 2012 6:52 PM
Noseless Cap looks like a proto-Iron Patriot. (that or it just went through a space-time loop to end up on Tony's armor for that time in the 70s)
Posted by: Ataru320 | November 16, 2013 10:57 PM
Gruenwald later admitted that Armadillo was a deliberately silly character and was inspired by all the "armadillo" references in 1970's Marvel letter columns.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 31, 2014 5:55 PM
When I was reading this I noticed the nose (or lack of) picture. Thanks for clarifying this.
Posted by: Ryan | August 11, 2014 6:16 AM
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