Characters Appearing: Captain America
Captain America #291
Issue(s): Captain America #291
The plot is actually pretty interesting. The new Tumbler is after Guardian Life Insurance Company (GLIC), who apparently played Insurance Company to the Super-Villains, because they won't pay up on his brother's policy. They have a scam where they offer policies to villains at exorbitant costs and then refuse to pay them out after the villain dies. Since the villain is likely to have died committing an illegal act, the family wouldn't have the right to collect. In the case of the original Tumbler, he was killed in a set-up by the Secret Empire, so his brothers feels like they ought to honor the policy.
In all honesty, i think Guardian Life is right to hold off on payments. In the Marvel Universe, if you just wait long enough, anyone is likely to come back to life, so the longer GLIC can tie up the beneficiaries in red tape, the more likely the policy will become moot.
The new Tumbler is aware that Cap didn't kill his brother, but he finds a convoluted way to maintain a grudge:
Still, I can't help thinking that John would be alive today -- if you hadn't been such a thorn in the Secret Empire's Side! To my mind, that makes you an accessory to his murder -- as guilty as if you'd fired the laser-burst that laid John low!
Cap gets through to him, and they team up to investigate Guardian Life.
Herb Trimpe can be pretty awesome sometimes.
We get to see some of the villains that Guardian Life is insuring: Jester, Doctor Octopus, Mr. Hyde, Cobra, Solarr, and the Plantman.
You have to wonder who some of those villains have designated as their beneficiaries.
Anyway Cap and the Tumbler fight their way through GLIC's security forces and expose their secrets.
Bill Mantlo really corns it up for this issue. It's not his typical stilted dialogue. It seems like he's really making an effort to be Silver Agey. Maybe inspired by the Herb Trimpe art?
"A figure leaping lithely, agilely to the street..."
"...you're not the Tumbler! He's dead -- savagely slain by the original Moonstone..."
Maybe it's the alliteration.
This is the new Tumbler's only appearance. The world didn't really need another Tumbler. He tells Cap he's hanging up the costume at the end of this issue, and it looks like he meant it.
(I don't know what's going on with the hand in that panel.)
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This story was supposed to Paul Neary's debut(for Marvel, anyway), but Herb Trimpe was used for a quick substitute.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 17, 2013 3:46 PM
It's a good thing Tumbler decided to hang up his costume for good. Otherwise, he would have been a prime candidate for Scourge. He was a low level villain who didn't really have much appeal to readers.
Posted by: clyde | March 12, 2015 3:59 PM
Apparently there was some controversy about this story: https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/strange-comic-books-captain-america-291/
Posted by: Tenzil | May 31, 2015 2:15 AM
Tenzil, thanks for posting a link to my blog post on this issue.
Yes, this story does make you wonder how life insurance would work in a world where people routinely come back from the grave.
Doctor Octopus has a Guardian policy. He has actually died and been resurrected on a couple of occasions (as opposed to just being assumed dead). Would GLIC have to pay out each time? And would his beneficiaries have to return the money each time he came back?
Heck, even normal people die and come back sometimes. During the Infinity Gauntlet crossover Thanos killed half the living beings in the entire universe! All of them later came back.
I expect that on the Earth in the Marvel universe policies would have to be written VERY differently, to take all of this stuff into account. Otherwise insurance companies would go bankrupt extremely fast.
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 31, 2015 12:10 PM
"SAM SM…" wouldn't be the Leader (Sam Sterns).
It's more likely Plantman (Sam Smithers).
OK, I'm off to do more nerd things...
Posted by: mikrolik | May 31, 2015 12:17 PM
*squints*. Ok, you're right. Thanks, mikrolik. I've updated the post.
Ben, i enjoyed your review of this issue; interesting to see that it caused a real world controversy and also more generally how your different perspective and circumstances caused you to enjoy it more. And thanks for the link, Tenzil.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 31, 2015 1:36 PM
fnord12, thanks. I think Super Mega Monkey is a fun resource site, and your commentaries are always entertaining. I've been meaning to comment here for a while now. Keep up the good work.
Posted by: Ben Herman | May 31, 2015 1:57 PM
I remember there were actually a fair amount of letters over the course of Gruenwald's run that wished to see this Tumbler again.
Posted by: Scott | December 22, 2015 7:31 PM
Since Otto did not know Stunner at that time, my guess is that Otto took the policy in case he ever had to fake his death. Which was a likely scenario, lol.
Posted by: AlluAllu | August 21, 2016 2:21 AM
Those villain folders are a pretty fun easter egg... but you gotta wonder how unorganized that company must be! They're not in alphabetical order or anything!
Posted by: Kombatgod | September 18, 2016 7:51 AM
I just thought of something; Calvin Zabo aka Mr. Hyde is a beneficiary. But I don't think it's known at this point that Zabo is Hyde. I was looking at a trade publishing the Avengers Under Siege Masters of Evil Storyline (published after this story), and the authorities reported Hyde had no other known identity. Wonder why Cap didn't have anyone investigate the folders more carefully… ;-)
Posted by: mikrolik | September 18, 2016 6:30 PM
While I'm sure there's a lots complications that come from Marvel's revolving door of death, I don't think life insurance is one of them, at least to the point the insurance companies have to arrange their policies around such complications.
1) A lot of civilians stay dead
I think a lot of funeral expenses, and where applicable, beneficiaries, are handled by financial arm of whatever their affiliation. Be it an employer, trust fund, personal fortune, or sovereign nation.
For instance, when Phoenix died, I would bet Xavier at least offered to pay for Jean Grey's funeral. (Her grieving family seemed otherwise financially secure. It probably cut through the red tape of "Suicide by atomization on the moon.") When Ant-Man was gone, the Stark Foundation covered the funeral costs, and acted on behalf of his child support obligations. Doctor Doom probably just declares whatever legal status he wants.
I think the most major case would be around the time of Aunt May.
Posted by: rabartlett | April 24, 2018 7:10 PM
That is, May is a regular person, who would believably have taken out a life insurance policy, and her death was faked by Osborn, someone who has no inclination to make life easier for Peter Parker. (The aforementioned benefactors of super people would "take care of things" out of altriusm, and hopefully be too relieved at the party not being dead to play take-backsies.) This probably means the whole thing was a real problem for the Parkers, but it probably doesn't come up very often in the public.
Posted by: rabartlett | April 24, 2018 7:17 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|