Captain America #339
Issue(s): Captain America #339
Steve Rogers (no longer Captain America) happens to be up in D-Man's chartered plane along with Falcon, Nomad, and Vagabond when Famine arrives in the Midwest. Steve is actually sleeping, and having a bad dream fighting a symbolic representation of the bureaucracy that took away his Captain America identity.
I think the reference to the Red Skull shows that Mark Gruenwald wasn't yet planning to tie the Skull into Cap's identity story yet. It doesn't feel like foreshadowing.
When they get the news about Famine, D-Man's pilot takes them there. Redwing and Falcon are the first line of attack as the others parachute to the ground.
Falcon is affected by Famine's hunger power...
...and then Steve and Nomad deal with Famine while the super-strong D-Man keeps her mechanical horse away from her.
That scene where Nomad punches Famine, causing her to swallow her own blood, which makes her want to throw up, because she doesn't like food, always grossed me out a bit.
But i always liked where Steve Rogers' authoritative voice stops Famine in her tracks for a second. A formative Captain America experience for me.
Cap manages to subdue Famine and talks about bringing her to a psychiatrist, but she calls out to her master and is teleported away.
Meanwhile, the new Captain America and Bucky are at their Fort George base in Maryland. They run into the Blob, Pyro, and Avalanche, who are gloating over the death of the X-Men (a very different attitude than we saw in the X-Men Fall of the Mutant issues, where Freedom Force worked directly with and bonded with the X-Men).
Cap and Bucky are then sent to deal with the Famine situation, but by the time they arrive, Steve's group has already taken care of it.
You might have noticed Steve Rogers using a makeshift shield in the fight against Famine above. In an epilogue that takes place "two weeks" after the rest of the issue, Steve goes to Tony Stark to get a new shield.
The one he gets is made of adamantium, not the irreproducible vibranium-steel hybrid of the original, but it's a good substitute.
Tony Stark imagines that having accepted the shield, Steve won't interfere with Stark's mission against the US government.
A good issue that takes advantage of the Fall of the Mutants tie-in to update readers on Steve Roger's current status quo (although, having missed the story where he gave up his identity, the cool surreal dream sequence in this issue had me convinced for a little while that some big government dude actually did beat up Cap and take his costume and shield). The tie-in with Armor Wars is also nice; more of that next issue.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place after Famine is teleported away in X-Factor #25. We'll see Famine teleported back to Apocalypse towards the beginning of issue #26. The appearance by Freedom Force here indicates that the X-Men's Fall of the Mutants are already completed by this point, and therefore any scenes we see of them on television in X-Factor #26 must be re-broadcasts. The scene at the end of this issue with Tony Stark takes place "two weeks later" and is a condensed repeat of a scene from Iron Man #227-228 (the end blurb incorrectly says #238).
Crossover: Fall of the Mutants
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAvalanche, Battlestar, Blob, Captain America, D-Man, Falcon, Famine (Horseman of Apocalypse), Iron Man, Nomad, Pyro, Redwing, USAgent, Vagabond
I think the dream fight is foreshadowing, though of a kind that readers wouldn't have recognized. The Bureaucrat has Steve's face when he rhetorically asks if he was expecting the Red Skull, and of course the Red Skull at this point does have Steve's face, though neither Steve nor the reader knows it yet.
What's more, as the master of continuity that he is, Gru probably would have known exactly how he wanted to bring back the Skull, through Zola using Maelstrom's cloning/bio-modem MO. I think Gru had his plan for the Skull already.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 13, 2014 9:11 PM
Freedom Force must have been commuting back and forth between Dallas, since we next see them there in New Mutants 65-66.
Posted by: Michael | May 13, 2014 9:44 PM
This would fit a bit better after Daredevil #252 because you see Famine teleport away at the end of this issue and her arrival from this teleport near the beginning of X-Factor #26 and the Daredevil issue takes place mostly during the timeframe of X-Factor #25/Power Pack #35 while this kind of bridges the 2nd half of X-Factor #25 and the opening pages of X-Factor #26?
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | May 15, 2014 1:20 AM
Jay, fair enough. I see the Daredevil issue as potentially spanning a longer period until the army finally starts to go around and tell people things are ok, but it's easy enough to make the swap and your reasoning makes sense.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 15, 2014 7:29 AM
When this issue was mentioned in Amazing Heroes Preview Special #5, a Government Act to register and license non-mutant superheroes was cited as to be announced by John Walker-Cap. As this flies in the face of concurrent statements made by Chris Claremont concerning the Mutant Registration Act, did this ever happen?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 20, 2014 6:26 PM
The third-person limited omniscient narration int his issue reads very differently than anything in previous issues of this story; it's impressive how much Gruenwald shifts his narrative voice to fit the crossover's tone.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 25, 2015 8:28 PM
Two issues in, and Dwyer's mastery of sequential art is apparent. DeZuniga's inks actually look okay.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | July 13, 2017 12:38 PM
If I remember correctly, Cap's classic shield is apparently a vibranium-steel alloy, and adamantium was later created in an attempt to duplicate this one-off accident. But Cap's shield always seems to have a "bounce" to it that never seems to appear in representations of adamantium, which to me is usually portrayed as just being effectively indestructible, rather than absorbing or reflecting in the way Cap's shield appears to. So I'd attributed that to the vibranium part of the alloy.
Which makes it interesting that here Cap has a pure adamantium version & can still use it for the same angles as always (in Iron Man 228 he comments that the "angle of deflection" is only "a millimeter off"). Does adamantium always contain some vibranium? Or is it that adamantium is that close a duplicate to the shield even without a vibranium element?
Also, if I'm right about the "bounce" not usually being part of adamantium, then presumably it's just the Cap has the skills to throw it in the way that creates those deflections, but others would not be able to? Which I think fits with John Walker needing training to get the deflections right, but I think(?) there are other examples of people using the shield that way without needing the training?
Obviously Cap will be better at doing it than anyone else, but Cap #261 showed that a drunk Cap couldn't do the same thing with a dustbin lid, so there must be some property of it that aids the deflections?
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | October 8, 2017 1:30 PM
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