Captain America #326
Issue(s): Captain America #326
Anyway, this is a Halloween issue, with Captain America getting a report from his hotline of strange lights at the Red Skull's former house and getting confronted with ghosts of dead enemies.
I have to say i am disappointed in Captain America and the Avengers. The fact that Cap is even slightly concerned that something may be going on here shows that they've been a bit irresponsible leaving the place open and unguarded. And to see that there is still equipment here! Shouldn't the Avengers have dismantled all this stuff?
The first ghost to appear is the Red Skull himself.
Then after talking tog Cap for a while, the Skull introduces the ULTIMATUM guard that Cap killed.
And since that's the only guy that Cap actually killed, he's also faced with MODOK, Porcupine, and the Scourge, all villains that died under his watch.
While fighting MODOK, Cap knocks out his little headband gem and that prevents him from focusing his mental blasts. I don't know if that would work on the real MODOK. I assume MODOK has some level of native mental attack ability just thanks to his enormous brain.
But this all turns out to be a scheme by Dr. Faustus to get Cap to kill himself. When the villains fail to defeat Cap, and when facing the fact that he killed the ULTIMATUM guard (something everyone else seems to think Cap ought to be anguished about, but which Cap, sensibly given the circumstances, remains pretty calm about) and let these other villains die, Faustus trots out the tired Bucky routine again, throwing in Cap's mom, dad, and Sharon Carter.
None of this fazes Cap much, and he rejects the idea of suicide.
Meanwhile, the ghost of the Red Skull attacks Faustus, leaving him in a state of shock.
A weird thing about this issue is that the story spills over onto the top of the letters page.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP give the Red Skull a behind-the-scenes appearance for this issue, i assume based on revelations from the Red Skull's return in Captain America #350 (although it's the only BTS appearance around this time for which that they don't say "cf CA #350").
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I liked this issue when it came out. Good use of Dr Faustus, and a good way to have the Skull make an appearance after his death. I also liked the self-description of the ULTIMATUM agent, it reveals a lot of these guys aren't ideological, but just mercenary goons going from one outfit to the next (or perhaps were once ideological and then grew out of it, now just doing it as a job).
Given what we know about Cap #350, I wonder what Gruenwald's intentions were at this time.
Posted by: Chris | March 4, 2014 8:38 PM
Numerous readers had problems with the idea that Cap didn't believe in ghosts considering all the stuff he's encountered.
Posted by: Michael | March 4, 2014 9:47 PM
I roll my eyes at scenes like Cap not believing in ghosts too, but considering that the public in the Marvel U is still surprised by alien life, even though Earth has been visited by aliens for 60 years now....well, it's no so hard to believe.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | March 4, 2014 11:58 PM
Looks like Neary was influenced by Ditko on this issue!
Posted by: Mr. Unbearable Buttcheeks | March 14, 2014 10:56 PM
According to Amazing Heroes Preview Special #3, Gruenwald said Man-Thing was going to appear here, and the ghost was referred to as the Dead Skull.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 31, 2014 9:32 PM
The ghost that confronts Faustus was the "original" (in publication time) Red Skull, John Maxxon, who was killed in 1947 and shown to literally be in Hell a couple of years later.
Posted by: JP! | September 4, 2017 10:01 PM
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