Captain America #349
Issue(s): Captain America #349
Then Battlestar shows up with news about Flag-Smasher's capture of the John Walker Captain America and his demand to speak to the original Cap. The Captain has to decide if he's going to respond with that or go back to Manhattan to deal with Inferno. He also seems to judge Battlestar in a positive light for originally having called himself Bucky, as long as it meant that he was honoring his old partner.
Up in the Arctic, Flag-Smasher berates himself for being such an "idealist" that he would take money from anyone without investigating them, which is what has led to the current infiltration of ULTIMATUM (more details to come), and he wonders where the heck Captain America is. He's then attacked by ULTIMATUM troops.
Cap, D-Man, and Battlestar show up in time to help out.
Cap fights his way into the base and meets up with Flag-Smasher, who tells him that it's the Red Skull that has infiltrated ULTIMATUM, and he's activated a Doomsday Machine. Flag-Smasher doesn't know or care if it's the "real" Red Skull
Battlestar is left behind to take care of John Walker while the rest fight there way out to go to where the Doomsday Machine is.
Flag-Smasher has Walker's shield (i.e. Cap's original round shield), and Cap asks to switch.
Flag-Smasher's original naive and idealistic idea was to use the device to force the countries of the world to unite against a common predicament of being blasted back into a pre-industrial age. But he doesn't want to help a Nazi. What's funny is that Flag-Smasher has no idea how to stop the machine, and that's why he called Cap. But why Cap and not, say, Reed Richards? Cap's "idiot" is priceless.
But i guess the idea is that Cap has earned Flag-Smasher's trust and that's why he hasn't told anyone else (e.g. Battlestar or the US government) about the Red Skull's infiltration or asked for more generalized help.
Since Cap has no expertise in disarming Doomsday Machines, he tells D-Man to ram the building with the Quinjet. D-Man is supposed to jump clear first, but the ULTIMATUM troops keep landing on the hull and planting bombs, and one of them gets caught on the ship. So D-Man remains on the Quinjet as it crashes. It does stop the Doomsday Machine, but Cap is unable to find D-Man and he's presumed dead.
So that's D-Man's short stint as an Avenger. He will eventually resurface, but in a very different way. His days as a pure hero are over. The character will actually become a joke, and while that's deserved in part thanks to his ridiculous costume, it's worth noting that he had a long period as an earnest and competent partner of Steve Rogers.
Beyond that this is a fun adventure. For one thing it has the Walker/Rogers threads closing in, and it's nice to see Battlestar teaming up with Cap. I imagine some people reading this might have imagined after seeing Cap make D-Man an Avenger that Cap would make Battlestar one too, but of course by the end of the issue we're in a different scenario. Flag-Smasher continues to be too "idealistic" to take seriously as a challenge to Cap's ideology, but he still makes for a fun quasi-ally here. If nothing else, when he appears we know we get to see those awesome ski jets. And now that the return of the Red Skull is out in the open, we have a lot to look forward to for next issue.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Captain was dropped off by the Beast in the Quinjet directly prior to the beginning of this issue, and the Beast is now giving the Falcon and Yellowjacket (i guess they're giving her a pass for helping them?) a ride home. So this takes place directly after Avengers annual #17 (but i'm not listing Beast, Falcon, or YJ as Characters Appearing since they're gone before the issue starts). Steve Rogers appears as the Captain in Avengers #299-300 (which are Inferno crossovers) before becoming Captain America again in Captain America #350.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
Here the Skull is ready to use a doomsday device to send the world back to the pre-industrial era, but just a couple of years from now (real time) the Skull will balk at a scheme by the Viper to blind everyone watching TV at a certain time. There's a lot I like about Gruenwald's Skull, but there are some glaring inconsistencies about the Skull's overall MO and goals. We get a mission statement of sorts next issue, but it seems to be forgotten almost as soon as it's uttered.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | August 10, 2014 3:24 PM
Just something very cool about Flag-smasher, wielding his morning star and cap's shield, while flying on ski-jets.
Posted by: kveto from prague | August 10, 2014 6:03 PM
I was one of those people hoping that Battlestar was going to be a new member of the Avengers. At the very least, I thought maybe he'd be Captain America's (Steve Rogers) new partner.
Posted by: Bill | August 10, 2014 6:37 PM
Very few backgrounds, tons of word balloons. I like this story but I don't like this storytelling.
Posted by: cullen | August 10, 2014 6:56 PM
Flag-Smasher was always written as a foolish buffoon after his very first appearance. A shame.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | August 10, 2014 8:04 PM
I have to wonder if the "idiot" scene is a backhanded reference to Ozymandias' Giant Alien Squid in Watchmen.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 14, 2014 8:19 PM
D-Man, in spite of his terrible costume, was written as a fairly interesting character in this book. I can't imagine though that Avengers readers would have been willing to accept him on the team, so it was kind of the right move to kill him off at this point.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 14, 2015 7:27 AM
Yeah, Flag-smasger's "original" idea wasn't that original (and even Alan Moore had to change the structure of the world to make the idea "work").
Luis, the man travels by ski-jet. He was never going to be seen as anything but. (Although he's still seen as a lot less "foolish" than other "radicals" like Quentin Quire.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | January 8, 2017 1:18 PM
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