Captain America #399
Issue(s): Captain America #399
I get that Iron Man having to make that snap decision could be a bit galling (and this is unrelated to Iron Man pulling rank later), but surrendering does seem to be a smart decision. They are here on a diplomatic mission, not to fight. And surrendering got them to the Kree homeworld in an expedient fashion. Cap basically acknowledges this on the next page. In the meantime, though, the whole dispute makes me think that maybe this whole plan of the Avengers' is half baked. What exactly are they hoping to accomplish? What bargaining chips are they bringing to the table in this negotiation? Maybe they should have tried to bring people that the alien leaders would listen to - maybe Silver Surfer for the Kree and Professor X for the Shi'ar. Of course then it wouldn't be an Avengers story. Anyway, as it turns out, the Kree side of the mission was basically doomed to fail, which may explain why the writers didn't really flesh it out.
Ronan the Accuser shows up with additional accusers, claiming custody of the Avengers. After a brief pissing match, Shatterax backs down and hands them over.
Cap, clearly still not sold on the "I surrender, take me to your leader" idea, has Sersi execute plan 5-2-1, which has her transforming all of them to look like more Accusers.
This temporarily gives the Avengers free range on the planet.
One interesting thing is seeing Crystal observe Hala for the first time. Her people were created by the Kree, and one day she'll wind up marrying Ronan, so seeing her first experience on the planet is nice.
As soon as the Avengers get somewhere private, Iron Man has a freakout and demands that Sersi change him back. He's worried that she's mucked with his armor.
And here's where Iron Man pulls rank.
This is very weird. I don't think we've ever heard the idea that the founding members override the chairperson, and on top of that i'm pretty sure that Cap was made an honorary founding member (although, i guess as AF says, that came later).
And the most disappointing thing is that Cap does not assert his leadership, and he lets Iron Man go on a separate scouting mission from the rest of the group (Hawkeye/Goliath asks to go with IM and Cap allows it). Since Cap fails to nip this little rebellion in the bud here, it sets a precedent that will allow IM to override Cap again in this event, over a more serious matter.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Intelligence, in his Supremor body, has assembled a little super group.
I do like these guys, even if the Pursuer isn't a cockroach this time. Supremor has them searching for the Avengers.
Iron Man and Hawkeye locate the Kree Central Government building, and IM contacts Cap and issues another pissy ultimatum, telling him that he's got an hour to get his team to the building or they are going in alone. The whole thing is very strange.
On the way to the building, Cap's team is attacked by Korath the Pursuer.
They defeat him.
In this issue's back-up, it's said to be "hour twelve" of Crossbones' kidnapping of Diamondback. He's got her tied up in the subway. He leaves for a bit, and while he's gone Diamondback is attacked by a group of rapey super-predators.
Crossbones comes back and kills them all.
If this is what the world was like back in 1992, i can see the need for the Punisher.
As for the main story, it's really hard to understand the way the characters are scripted. I get the idea that a schism between Cap and Iron Man is being played up; it's a central conflict in this event. But it's just done so poorly. Both characters come across like 5 year olds inarticulately being pouty at each other. On top of that, the Avengers are just wandering aimlessly around Hala? That was the plan? Everything here feels like there was a rough plot outline and no one came back to fill it in.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part eight of Operation: Galactic Storm. It continues in Avengers West Coast #81.
Crossover: Operation Galactic Storm
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBlack Knight (Dane Whitman), Captain America, Crossbones, Crystal, Diamondback, Hawkeye, Hercules, Iron Man, Korath the Pursuer, Ronan the Accuser, Sersi, Shatterax, Supreme Intelligence, Ultimus
I always thought that the Avengers' goal was stopping the use of the wormholes. There wasn't a clear way of that happening. They basically just made it up as they went along.
Posted by: clyde | January 28, 2016 2:04 PM
Cap's position as a "founding member" was only established when we get to Busiek's run. So at this point, it wasn't a consideration.
But on Iron Man using his position as a "founding member" - is this actually the first time a lot of these characters are finding out for certain that this is the original Iron Man? Wanda and Julia (and maybe some others?) found out on-panel in West Coast, but nobody else finding out has been explicitly shown has it? Just a lot of people blatantly suspecting it to be the case. In which case it adds another major dickmove from Iron Man: to announce the truth as a means of undermining Cap's leadership choices.
Posted by: AF | January 28, 2016 2:10 PM
I have this memory of Cap nominating someone for Avengers membership, and the current chairperson getting upset because he didn't have the right to do that, but then someone pointed out that it was ok because he was an honorary founding member. I thought it was with Sub-Mariner, but i just checked and that doesn't seem to be the case. Did i just make that up? Am i conflating it in my head with something that happened later?
@Clyde, what's interesting is that Thor demonstrated the ability to shut the wormholes down.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 28, 2016 2:24 PM
FNORD - I doubt that he even knew he could do that. This was the phase where Eric was just doing things on the spur of the moment. Which is why he was a perfect choice for this mission, IMO.
Posted by: clyde | January 28, 2016 2:51 PM
Hmmm... something about that does sound really familiar. At least the first part with Cap nominating someone and the chairperson being annoyed they didn't check with them first.
But most of Cap's nominees/recruits by this point have been welcome (Black Panther, Sersi, Spider-Man) or not referred to (Gilgamesh, D-Man).
I was thinking Stern era but can't place any if it's not Namor, so maybe during the Korvac saga when him and Iron Man are locking horns?
I'll go flip through some trades...
Posted by: AF | January 28, 2016 3:01 PM
OH! Don't have the issue at hand but maybe the Beyonder in #261? (which makes your Sub-Mariner guess very close!)
Posted by: AF | January 28, 2016 3:04 PM
Close, but no cigar;)
Posted by: clyde | January 28, 2016 3:09 PM
Not a bad issue. It feels like an Avengers issue but the focus is on Cap as he is the one to defeat the Pursuer.
Iron man seems way off character. I mean Tony Stark is a d@ck but not this much of a d@ck.
Posted by: kveto | January 28, 2016 3:28 PM
kveto - I think you're giving Iron Man too much credit. He always likes to be in charge and have the final word on everything. He's a classic example of a "Type A" personality. It was inevitable that he would clash with Captain America.
Posted by: clyde | January 28, 2016 3:42 PM
"and one day she'll wind up marrying Ronan"
Posted by: Thanos6 | January 28, 2016 3:57 PM
Wiki entry on Crystal - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_(comics)
"Cosmic Inhumans (2008-2013)
This time period marked another new development for Crystal's character as she and her fellow Inhumans became involved in intergalactic conflicts. Secret Invasion: Inhumans (2008-2009) by Joe Pokaski marked the beginning as it was discovered that Black Bolt had been replaced by a Skrull. This revelation leads to a series of events that eventually sees the Inhumans ascend to become sovereigns of the Kree Empire and Crystal betrothed to Ronan the Accuser."
Posted by: clyde | January 28, 2016 4:00 PM
More specifically, the Kree had been decimated by both the Annihilation Wave and the Phalanx invasion, and the Inhumans were feeling badly characterized so began a whole space dictatorship thing. Ronan was the then "king" of the Kree but due to his failings during the Phalanx war he wasn't highly regarded by his people. Ronan allowed Black Bolt to assume the monarchy if he could marry Crystal. They agreed and forced Crystal to marry Ronan. It was dreadful writing by a guy who basically got to write comics out of pure nepotism (he was one of Jeph Loeb's friends who Loeb had dragged to Marvel from the TV show Heroes).
In War of Kings, we saw Crystal and Ronan was largely a political marriage. For Crystal it was just as a means to legitimise the Inhumans rule over the Kree, but Ronan liked Crystal and after a while Crystal began to feel for Ronan.
It was a poorly conceived and introduced idea but it started to find it's feet.
Then the whole thing was dropped and annulled by Jonathan Hickman. ¬_¬
Posted by: AF | January 28, 2016 4:20 PM
I never liked Gruenwald having Herc use the term "womenfolk". Herc is supposed to sound Shakespearean. "Womenfolk" sounds like a term out of the Old West.
Posted by: Michael | January 28, 2016 8:13 PM
Tony does say "I figure that gives me the right...". It sounds like he's making things up as he sees fit, and not that the established rules of the Avengers gives founding members precedence.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | January 28, 2016 10:30 PM
the truth is not very politically correct but fnord has brought it up here himself, so... Mark Grunewald is just not a good writer. Dude, I get it- he was a beloved editor and he loved comics and died tragically too young. But he wasn't a good writer, altho' some of Quasar is entertaining in a fruity way, LOL. Take it from your Main Man from The Wasteland... Gruenwald and Rik Levins are why this book needed to be rescued by Rob Liefeld.. facts don't lie.
And it's forced because they didn't know how to make Iron Man and Cap go into conflict faster. Not different from Civil War, ROFL! The more things change...
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity, Actor, Author, Comics CEO | January 30, 2016 3:40 AM
I'll agree Gru may not have been the best SCRIPTER in comics, but I think he was one of the all-time greats at IDEAS and PLOTTING.
Posted by: Thanos6 | January 30, 2016 4:36 AM
I think that's very selective evidence for someone who seems bent on turning every issue's comments section into the same debate about Rob Liefeld.
You're neglecting the fact that between Rob Liefeld "rescuing" Captain America there was a popular and critically acclaimed run by Mark Waid. A run that they went back to immediately after Liefeld and co. were gone.
That books like Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Fantastic Four were all facing the exact same problems of diminished interest, creators overstaying their welcome and ineffective plots and art.
Gruenwald's run on Captain America doesn't get anywhere near as bad as people insist it does. Capwolf, the armor and Superia Stratagem are all still readable. Capwolf is a bad idea and it is longer than it ever deserves to be, but a 7 issue stretch of a 100+ issue run does not equate to an "awful run". The armor is literally just a visual (a bad visual) that he wore for 7 issues. It's purely cosmetic. Superia Stratagem is NOWHERE near as "stupid" as everyone says it is (Cap disguises himself in a woman's outfit and the villain wants to perform a sex change on him is nowhere near the "Cap gets turned into a woman!" that the internet insists the story is).
Sales were down across the board for all the Avengers titles, don't just point at Creator You Don't Care for #1 and say it's all his fault and that Preferred Creator #1 is responsible for salvaging something. (particularly when Another Creator #1 interjects between the two and completely invalidates your point about Preferred Creator #1)
And for the record, I think Waid's run is one of the worst runs on Captain America, so I'm not arguing preference here...
Posted by: AF | January 30, 2016 5:01 AM
Agree with most of what you say AF. Though personally I come from the slightly different perspective of thinking that Gruenwald's Cap run gets worse and worse from about 382 onwards, but that doesn't mean the whole run was bad and that Gru was never a good writer. For me I like most of what Gru did up to about 1991, and don't much rate what he did after that. Then again I don't rate much that Marvel did in the 90s at all, so it's a bit unfair to be saying Gruenwald was a bad writer when the quality of the whole line seems to have gone down at this point. By '92 I had gone from buying 20 Marvel comics a month to just buying PAD's Hulk & X-Factor, and DeMatteis' Spectacular Spidey, and occasionally anything else that looked interesting.
I do think Gruenwald had lost it at this point, but that happens to a lot of comics writers eventually. One thing I keep coming back to though as I look at the mundane art of a lot of 1992 comics is that the art actually seems to be making the scripting worse rather than better, the artists don't seem to know how to make things look good anymore. If this issue still had one of the earlier artists of the run (for instance Ron Lim or Kieron Dwyer) it still wouldn't be a great issue, because Gruenwald was not writing as well as he used to, but it would definitely be better than it is.
Posted by: Jonathan | January 30, 2016 6:08 AM
@AF- yes the Superia Stratagem is as stupid as everyone says it is. We've got all the female villains working together for no real reason, some bizarre interpretations of Black Mamba's powers and Superia herself is a Straw Feminist. A Straw Feminist is a sexist and stupid stereotype because (a) it confuses criticisms of real or perceived sexism with hatred of men and (b) historically one of the creepier elements of feminism has been its attitude towards men that don't measure up to traditional standards of masculinity (Betty Friedan's blaming POWs that died during the Korean War for their own deaths, arguing they should have been able to tough it out; feminists supporting jailing unemployed fathers for nonpayment of child support (i.e. fathers that were legitimately unemployed and unable to make the payments not merely fathers who quit their jobs to punish their exes);current feminist stereotypes of "neckbeards" and "virgins living in their parents' basements"). A lot of Gruenwald's run after 382 was crap- his characterization of Mike Farrell was just horrible. And the body of his work does show disturbing attitudes towards women. And he did make continuity mistakes on occasion despite his reputation for being Mr.Continuity- e.g. Faustus in the wheelchair in the haunted house. No, his work isn't as bad as some people say it is. And yes, Avengers, Thor and Fantastic Four were all having the same problems but that doesn't make the writing on those books any less bad than Gruenwald's.
Posted by: Michael | January 30, 2016 10:26 AM
@AF- bruh, I wasn't even THINKING like that. For one thing, I don't want fnord layin' the smackdown on me lol by thinking I'm trying to have arguments.. I ain't... I'm only discussing facts. I think there was a revival of strong-writers in the 90s which was itself a reaction to the criticism of artist-led propaganda.. I thought, and think, Mark Waid is horribly overrated.. Busiek is much better...
But back to this issue as it's what fnord would prefer we comment on... I agree that some writers eventually start losing the plot.. Peter David was amazing and made his career on HULK but then, post #400, his stories and characterization just get worse and worse.. whenever Gary Frank left the title... it seemed like he didn't have long-term plans but I am not privy to what he had to go through with editorial interference? (and fnord's comments about Hulk involvement with this storyline- Galactic Storm- is what got me thinking about that)
So I wasn't trying to start a debate. But the truth is, Gru's stories and Levin's art- which is not what I'd call "accessible" or even Marvel house style- are probably bigger factors to why Cap's stock had sunk so low, regardless of Waid and Garvin's run which followed. That's all bro!
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity, Actor, Author, Comics CEO | January 30, 2016 12:52 PM
I DO wanna point out though that I thought it was a good characterization and continuity moment when Iron Man worried about Sersi's changing his armor potentially being damaging to his health... most writers just take that stuff lightly ("it's MAGIC") but that is pretty thought out and a valid concern I guess... good little touch. Yeah, Gruenwald isn't all bad he's just not that GOOD... similar argument is made towards Mantlo if I recall right??
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity, Actor, Author, Comics CEO | January 30, 2016 12:54 PM
Well, it's another point entirely but I think there's undoubtedly awareness that Superia is over-the-top. She's in no way meant to represent feminism. The same way John Walker, Flag-Smasher or any of other number of characters aren't meant to be a complete representation of their ideologies. I mean, it's a Cap villain. They're extremists by nature.
His treatment of women around that period is pretty tough but I think if you see any malice in it, then you're trying too hard to find it. It's unfortunate. It's uncomfortable. It's unnecessary. But he really doesn't have any agenda he's trying to push. He was just lacking a direction to head in. Should his run have ended much earlier? Probably. But I don't know if the alternative would have been any better. Look at how Thor progressively got worse and worse with every creative team. Or the various editors like Terry Kavanagh and Ben Raab deciding they can and should write the books if the main creator leaves.
Peter David's Hulk went on far longer than it should've and that got just as hideously 90s and "bad" but of the two runs it's always Gruenwald that is the traditional target of choice.
Posted by: AF | January 30, 2016 5:29 PM
I never got why Tony doesn't treat Cap like a founding member here since they found him on their SECOND MISSION. It's close enough.
Posted by: Jeff | February 25, 2016 1:52 PM
Gru's early Cap stuff is pretty great, I think fnord has him pegged about right, and he clearly lost his way towards the end of his run. For me, Gru's Cap was the peak of the book.
Posted by: OrangeDuke | January 7, 2018 7:31 PM
I thought OHOTMU established that Cap replaced the Hulk in terms of "founding member" of the Avengers' charter. It was certainly something I believed from an early age, long before Busiek's run. Of course, I don't have my issue here to review.
In any case, while we can assume that "founding member" status has some sort of organizational role, besides prestige, that general members (even chairman) don't have, I think it's absurd to assume IN THE FIELD that the chairman can be overridden, no discussion. It doesn't make sense that it would be a tactical role, as that would make the chairman irrelevant. More in terms of making sure the organization as a whole follows the charter guidelines - kind of like an oversight committee or board of directors. And it would be the entire "founders' as a committee, not an individual member, exercising that.
This is just bad writing in order to make the plot work. It is inelegant and obtrusive.
Posted by: Chris | January 7, 2018 8:27 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|