Characters Appearing: Arnie Roth, Bernie Rosenthal, Captain America, Contessa Valentina Allegro De La Fontaine, Dead Ringer, Diamondback, Fabian Stankowicz, Falcon, Free Spirit, Jack Flag, Mike Farrel, Moonhunter, Peggy Carter, Superia
Captain America #439
Issue(s): Captain America #439
Falcon is flying around the city when he spots Nighthawk, who he knows to be dead. Nighthawk fires a rocket at a tenement building, forcing Falcon to stay and deal with the fire instead of pursuing Nighthawk.
Meanwhile, Captain America is planning a mission. Contessa Valentina is visiting to let him know that Nick Fury and SHIELD are willing to provide "ordinance" but not manpower or official SHIELD sanction.
He can only transform into people whose corpses he's touched, and so he keeps a box full of fingers around.
(Fingers are colored in the Comics Code Authority approved "Same Color As The Box".)
Cap's plans are interrupted by a call from Falcon telling him about "Nighthawk". They find the house where Farrel and Dead Ringer are holding Bernie, and attack. Dead Ringer transforms into Death-Stalker. We learn that Ringer's motivation is that he wants to kill and replace Captain America.
But Cap's current armor protects him from the Death-Stalker touch.
Dead Ringer threatens to touch Bernie if Cap won't surrender, but Farrel jumps in and takes the killing touch.
Cap takes out Dead Ringer with his suit's compressed air canon. Good for cleaning your keyboard and zapping bad guys.
Mike Farrel is dead, though.
In a subplot, we see Superia testing a cure to Cap's super-serum problem on Diamondback.
Dead Ringer is a marginally more subtle instance of Gruenwald's Handbook-inspired plotting compared to, say, the Superia Stratagem or Cap Wolf.
Instead of footnotes, this issue has the references listed out in the lettercol. This is called an experiment, and it's something that will take prevalence in a few years. I am surprised to see it being tried out here, actually, since i associate that with the Bill Jemas period when Marvel was trying to balance its continuity stewardship against the imagined concern that new readers (e.e.g coming in from the X-Men movies) would be alienated by all the references. I don't know what prompted Marvel (editor Ralph Macchio?) to try it this early. But at this point there had been a general trend towards not annotating references altogether, so i will happily take the end notes.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place while Nick Fury is still alive. Bernie Rosenthal is still visiting with Mike Farrel, so not too much time has passed since last issue (but enough that Cap has begun setting up for his next mission). Avengers #385-386 take place before this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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