Captain America annual #10
Issue(s): Captain America annual #10
Romulus acts like she can't control herself. But she manages to steal keys from a security guard, leaving Cap to tend to the guard's injuries. Romulus leaves with body parts from corpses stored in a morgue.
Nick Fury (who was alerted to the Double Helix facility thanks to a card found on Takimoto in the previous part) shows up to talk to Cap. Cap and Fury go to the home of one of the scientists from Double Helix and ask him to look at a tissue sample left behind by Romulus. He determines that she is a super-soldier experiment by Hydra (which we knew) but also theorizes that she was raiding the Double Helix lab in order to find a cure for herself.
Meanwhile, Hydra's final bounty hunter, Dakini, is on the trail of Romulus. But we learn that there's also been a secondary mission to the escape of the super-soldier experiments: let them come into contact with various Marvel heroes.
Dakini tracks Romulus to the Double Helix scientist's home while Cap and Fury are still there.
Romulus is allowed to take a Double Helix cure for herself, but then she notices Cap fighting Dakini and says that Dakini is overstepping her authority, and she kills her.
But Cap lets Romulus go, thinking that she's not responsible for her actions and that the Double Helix will cure her. Nick Fury isn't really happy about that.
But then the twist of the series, which isn't really that much of a twist if we've been reading the main Nick Fury series. Romulus is actually loyal to Baron Strucker. So the whole thing about escaped genetic experiments being chased by Hydra bounty hunters was a ruse.
The goal of this whole event was to just bring Hydra's files up to date on Daredevil, Captain America, and the Punisher.
As i mentioned in the previous part, the idea of Hydra trying to recruit the Punisher is interesting, but it's something that should have been done in this event, not just left out there as something to die on the vine. I also think the timing of this event missed some opportunities. Captain America and Daredevil's status quos are virtually unchanged from any other time Hydra might have encountered them. It would have been more interesting if Hydra actually learned something about Cap and DD through the course of this event. For example, if the story occurred while Steve Rogers was replaced by John Walker, or while Daredevil was crazy - or if Hydra instead focused on Thor or the Hulk while the Eric Masterson and merged Hulk personas were in control - then Hydra could have actually acquired new information and this event would have felt less pointless. As it is, Hydra "wins" by getting to update their databases in a vague and undefined way.
The end of the story does imply that Romulus' wish to cure herself wasn't entirely a ruse, but to show her loyalty she destroys the serum.
The first back-up shows Bushmaster in the Vault, thinking about his life. It's really an origin recap, showing his childhood on "the island" where he and his brother grew up. The key takeaways are that his brother was the original Bushmaster, the Power Man villain, and Bushmaster II lost his limbs while fleeing from the police during a drug bust, and he wound up losing all his limbs when he got run over by a police boat. He was subsequently contacted by Seth Voelker, a Roxxon Oil exec (and later the Sidewinder), who arranged the surgery that gave him his new body ("Why they wanted research on how a human snake would move I don't know").
Bushmaster doesn't know if he took his brother's super-villain name out of honor or spite (the elder brother was a jerk).
At the end of the story, Bushmaster is released from the Vault due to "insufficient evidence of wrongdoing", but Bushmaster thinks of himself as a human freak that can't integrate into normal society, so he thinks to himself that he'll commit a "stupid crime" so that he can be sent back to jail.
The next story shows Sidewinder worrying about repercussions from the fact that he helped Diamondback escape from the Serpent Society. To that end, he teleports into the Vault...
...and teleports Cobra away during his trial.
The idea is to even the score so that the Serpent Society won't go after Sidewinder. But the multiple teleports necessary to locate Cobra in the Vault weaken Sidewinder, and he's forced to teleport away, leaving Cobra right outside the Vault. Cobra considers trying to flee but realizes it's impossible and gives himself up. The incident only solidifies Cobra's desire for revenge against Sidewinder. Oh well!
The final back-up has Nomad wandering in a snowy forest in British Columbia. He's attacked by wolves, and rescued by a mother who is living in a hunter's shack with her son. They find baby Bucky wrapped up inside his jacket.
Nomad is nursed back to health by the woman, but she doesn't trust him and especially doesn't trust him to keep the baby. It comes out that she's also on the run, after having murdered her abusive husband. They eventually come to an understanding and Nomad is allowed to leave. An ongoing Nomad series is announced for 1992.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the third and final part of the Von Strucker Gambit. This whole event has been a kind of tangent to the story running in the regular Nick Fury series, and therefore Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD #27 should continue soon after this.
Crossover: Von Strucker Gambit
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBaron Von Strucker, Bucky (Julia Winter), Bushmaster II, Captain America, Cassandra Romulus, Cobra, Dakini, Halflife (Avengers villain), Nick Fury, Nomad, Sidewinder
The entire plot of the Von Strucker Gambit never made sense to me. For starters, why does Strucker need to go to such lengths to get the information for Hydra's databases? He's formed an alliance with the Skull, and the Skull had an agent in the Commission relatively recently, so the Skull probably has data from the Commission's files on Punisher, Daredevil and Captain America- certainly Captain America. So he could just ask the Skull. And we'll see in Daredevil that he's scheming to plant a virus in the Kingpin's computers, so the Kingpin's computers probably have info on Punisher and Daredevil. Instead, he comes up with this convoluted scheme, which results in several agents killed, agents that knew that he was alive barely avoiding being captured by SHIELD and his lover and lieutenant seriously considering defecting.
Posted by: Michael | September 24, 2015 7:56 PM
It is said that Dakini gave the anonymous tip to the police that draws Cap to the lab. As you say, it still might not have been Cap on monitor duty that night.
And remember that Romulus is posing as a genetic experiment that escaped from a lab, so no one knew she was responsible for Hydra's recent actions.
I nonetheless agree the whole story makes little sense and is pretty bad.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 24, 2015 8:52 PM
Both this "event" and the ongoing Nick Fury series that runs concurrently with it suffer from terminally lazy writing, relying on repeated shock value as an attempted substitute for both characterization and plot. Captain America and Fury ought to have a better understanding of each other after well over fifteen years of dealing with their conflicts, but they do not. Romulus kills Dakini for overstepping her authority only to later complain with Strucker about how unfair it is that Dakini wasn't aware of their true goals, and _then_ she just accepts Strucker's evil gloating.
Even Captain America is basically portrayed as a mindless hypocrite that is shocked by a murder, cries "God and Country" (something that no one should say, and certainly not someone like Cap who has actually met and dealt with conflict) and then actually complains with Fury about his lack of concern for actual human beings. This is basic stuff that he should have learned to deal with back in the 1970s at the very latest.
On the plus side, there is acknowledgement that Hydra has an interest in Daredevil (something that goes back to a very short Tony Isabella run featuring Silvermane as head of Hydra) and that even Hydra realizes that Punisher is deeply unbalanced and might easily become one of their agents if given the proper pitch. Unfortunately, that goes nowhere, exactly like everything else in this event.
The Nomad story sounds utterly aimless.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 25, 2015 4:56 AM
@Luis- Gruenwald also had Cap say "God and Country".
Posted by: Michael | September 25, 2015 7:42 AM
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