Captain America #327
Issue(s): Captain America #327
We begin with the Bold Urban Commandoes terrorizing foreign exchange students at the University of Wisconsin.
The Super-Patriot himself doesn't get involved. The BUCkies attack seems to be about testing out public opinion on persecuting foreigners, and, if opinion turns out to be less than positive, framing Captain America for it since the BUCkies claim to be his followers.
But at the same time the BUCkies are clearly into it...
...and the Super-Patriot doesn't have any qualms about it.
If this were a Don McGregor era Black Panther story or even Englehart era Cap, i'd be looking for a metaphor about elite conservatives cynically riling up the masses with a phony fear of terrorist minorities in order to benefit personally, but i don't think that's exactly what Mark Gruenwald is going for here. I'm not sure the Super-Patriot really has political ideas so much as he wants to be popular and is reading the mood of the country.
There's also the fact that these guys all just seem too dumb for words.
The University of Wisconsin is also where Bernie Rosenthal is now going to law school, and Captain America stops by for a visit...
...so he's in town to confront the Super-Patriot when he appears at an AmericAid benefit concert alongside Willie Nelson and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Cap confronts the Super-Patriot after his big speech, and Cap tells him that he's crossed a line with his BUCkies actions. So they go and have a fight in the parking lot.
The Super-Patriot has super-strength and at least a measure of invulnerability, so during the fight Cap's hands become numb from bashing up against him.
Unlike when Cap fights, say, the Hulk or Mr. Hyde, though, the Super-Patriot is also a skilled fighter. He also has a lightsaber.
During the fight the Super-Patriot makes more claims about Cap being obsolete.
The most substantial argument comes at the beginning, when the Super-Patriot starts the attack after Cap turns his back on him. Cap says that a sneak attack is un-American, and the Super-Patriot responds, "Oh? How about the bombing of Libya?"
Whatever the reality or your opinion about the 1986 bombing of Libya, the point here is that Cap says sneak attacks are un-American and the Super-Patriot says yes they are, because the bombing of Libya was a sneak attack and that was done by America. So i guess to the degree that the Super-Patriot has a specific complaint about Cap, it's that he is too high minded to fight dirty. Interesting considering in the Super-Patriot's first appearance, he was criticizing Cap for using guns instead of using honest hand to hand combat.
In the end the two of them both seem too exhausted to fight further, although Super-Patriot ends things by throwing some shuriken, one of which is blocked only by Cap's chain-mail (note to future artists: not scale male).
As far as Super-Patriot is concerned, he won the fight, and he heads off pumped up enough to make another speech. Cap is left in the parking lot trying to convince himself that it really was a draw.
When Bernie finds him later, he's practically shell-shocked...
...so she decides now isn't a good time to break up with him.
This issue also reopens the debate about Captain America's politics. Bernie and a fellow law student have apparently been debating it. The other guy sees Cap as a "militant conservative" but Bernie has been arguing against that using the fact that his formative days were during FDR's presidency.
My opinion here is that Bernie would know what she's talking about, having dated Cap for several years!
In practice, though, it's almost irrelevant. Cap was in favor of civil rights and student protests in the 60s and 70s, but we have seen very little of his political views since then, even when he (nearly) ran for president. Super-Patriot, meanwhile, either cynically or because he really believes in them, supports actions so "conservative" that he's well beyond mainstream Republican views and is for all intents and purposes a villain. To that end, so far, we're seeing a kind of rehash of Englehart's 1950s Captain America, only slightly more subtle. That said, Gruenwald isn't done yet.
Also in this issue we have an IRS auditor wondering why Steve Rogers reported an increase of one million dollars in his salary this past year, and discovering his secret identity thanks to "recently declassified World War Two documents". I'm hoping this guy is just a really good researcher and that the government didn't declassify the specifics of Operation: Rebirth.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP has Cap #325-327 between Avengers #277-278.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
Gruenwald's writing of Super-Patriot, and even of Captain America himself, is in no way whatsoever subtle. Undecided, perhaps, and certainly a bit aimless. But subtle?
Super-Patriot comes across here as a quintessencial bully, with the emotional maturity of a twelve years old. If anything, he is too caricatural to be taken seriously. Cap looks bad for attempting to.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 8, 2014 11:24 AM
I believe Gruenwald was from Wisconsin which is why we see some of his stories or setting elements in Cap and Quasar take place there.
Since it is so obvious that the Buckies are tied to the "sports entertainer" Super-Patriot, I'm surprised there isn't a criminal investigation into him by either state or federal authorities after the attack on the UW International House. Plus after SP destroys that parking lot, he should be sought after himself as well.
Gruenwald has an interesting idea here, but he's not executing it well.
John Beatty's inks do not go well with Paul Neary's pencils. It's not working well.
The last year or so of the book hasn't gelled well after an interesting start. I didn't find Captain America as a title that interesting for about another year.
Posted by: Chris | March 22, 2014 10:08 PM
Now I hope the next Captain America movie has someone with a sword, head sword, laser sword whatever. just because I love the visuals of Cap's shield vs. an enemy's sword.
Posted by: david banes | April 12, 2014 4:10 AM
A semantics note on Semites and Shemites:
Walker's personality so far as been a combination of crass opportunism and the aforementioned condoning of racism (or at least intolerant nationalism that just happened to come down on non-white foreign students).
The situation from that issue involved or referred to Algerians, Libyans and Iranians. All of these nationalities stand considered as Caucasians (also, Iranians stand as Aryans).
In-universe, during the Hyborian Age, the ancestors of the Arabs lived as the people of Shem such as Belit. During the Hyborian Age, an area called Iranistan persisted. The origin of the Aryans occurs towards the end of the Hyborian Age, as various peoples migrated around the Vilayet Sea, later the Caspian sea.
Geneticists always distinguish between "North African" and "sub-Saharan" haplogroups. In job applications for census purposes, Arabs fall under the Caucasian category. "The term "White" refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa".
1997 OMB standards - The White House
Posted by: PB210 | April 19, 2014 12:00 PM
The debate between Bernie in her law school classmate over Cap's politics apparently mirrors a response Roger Stern had to a letter writer in Captain America #246. In the letter's page for that issue, reader Matt Kaufman mentioned believing that Cap was a Conservative, to which Roger Stern replied: "If anything, Steve Rogers probably grew up as a New Deal liberal".
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | June 28, 2015 1:23 AM
There seemed to have been a coloring error in the BUCkies scene. Either Lamar is the one who knows how to spell (he calls them out on the spelling and says, when lighting the gas that he needs to buy them a dictionary) or he doesn't ("It does?").
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 11, 2015 1:02 PM
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