Captain America #268
Issue(s): Captain America #268
He's a high level agent in an organization that employs men in gladiator outfits. The group will eventually be revealed as the latest version of the Secret Empire, run by Professor Power, but the organization is not named and Power does not appear in this issue.
Masters frees the still-paralyzed Nighthawk, allowing him to roam the facility, mainly so that he can help pacify the psionic but mentally disturbed girlfriend from Defenders #102.
The Empire has also the two telepaths that Captain America recently encountered - Ursula Richards and Phillip Le Guinn (I assume their names are tributes to science fiction writers Ursula Le Guinn and Philip K. Dick). The other telepaths in this issue will later be named Georgia Orr, Al Gentle, and Theodore Kroeber.
Meanwhile, Steve Rogers is on a date with Bernie Rosenthal. They've just seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Steve is arguing that Indiana Jones is too amoral (the cover promises "Featuring Steve Rogers' review of a smash movie!").
But the date goes bad when Bernie accidentally lets an "I love you" slip out and Steve is unable to return it.
That guy reacting to Cap above is Arnie Roth, who will turn out to be an old (pre-WWII) friend of Cap's. This is his first appearance, but there's not much to it (although considering we'll learn that Roth is gay, his exaggerated body language in these panels is a little suspect).
Soon afterward, he receives a telepathic summons from the telepaths. He heads to SHIELD to get it traced, and there's a weird exchange where the SHIELD technician asks to be called "Ms." but Cap either insists or keeps forgetting to not call her "Miss" instead. Not sure what DeMatteis' intention there was - either it's that he's so stressed out that he's not listening, or he's too old fashioned to honor the new salutation.
The technician, Gail Runciter, will be a minor character in Cap and SHIELD stories for a while. This is her first appearance.
But Cap does make it to the Secret Empire's headquarters...
...and he frees the other Defenders.
However, they are forced to surrender when Masters threatens to blow up the entire base and kill everyone inside.
Like DeMatteis' Defenders (and this really is more of a Defenders story), this is competent but straightforward super-heroics. Definitely a step back from the Stern/Byrne run.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP place this between Avengers #218-219. Continues directly in Defenders #106. Because of the Hulk's appearance there, this has to go in the gap between Hulk #268-269.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAl Gentle, Arnie Roth, August Masters, Bernie Rosenthal, Captain America, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Gail Runciter, Gargoyle (Defender), Georgia Orr, Hellcat, Josh Cooper, Mindy Williams, Nighthawk, Phillip Le Guin, Theodore Kroeber, Ursula Richards, Valkyrie
one thing i liked about the Steve/Bernie relationship. Its clear hes the looker of the pair and shes the plain jane. a nice switch on the usual comicbook dynamic.
Posted by: kveto | February 28, 2016 2:46 PM
"considering we'll learn that Roth is gay, his exaggerated body language in these panels is a little suspect"
Zeck's introduction of Roderick Kingsley/Hobgoblin is even worse for this.
(Not necessarily totally Zeck's fault - I guess part of the issue is that Marvel didn't like to clearly state that characters were gay, so the artists tended to do caricatures to try and state what the script wasn't, as apparently occurred with Starr Saxon/Machinesmith. Though Stern hadn't intended for Kingsley to be gay or effeminate so that's a different matter.)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | February 19, 2017 1:32 PM
I think Arnold's reaction is just typical "shock reaction" and not meant to be anything else.
Posted by: Chris | February 19, 2017 2:32 PM
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