Characters Appearing: Captain America, Human Torch (Golden Age), Princess Fen, Sub-Mariner
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #2-4
Issue(s): Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #2, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #3, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #4
Review/plot: Ah, something a little more...substantial. According to the editorial note in issue #2, this series was designed to fill in some of the holes in Cap's history. What it really seems to be doing here is adding some characterization to those early stories - and by early stories i mean Roy Thomas' Invaders as much as the early GA stories. (Unfortunately a lot of the Sentinel Of Liberty stories actually were out of continuity. Issue #1 took place in the future, and there was a story set during the American Revolution and another during the Kennedy Administration when Cap was still on ice.) This story is a little sappy and nostalgic but it's still pretty good.
Due to Cap being unable to control his teammates during a battle, the Human Torch is captured by Nazis and re-programmed. Atlantis is taken over by Nazis claiming that they will protect the Atlanteans from an Allied attack. In return, they are given access to Atlantean technology. Cap, after getting chewed out by his commanding officer, is approached by Namor to go to Atlantis and overthrow the Nazis. Namor is so furious he can not even speak.
As they arrive in Atlantis, the reprogrammed and super-powered (so he can burn underwater) Torch appears, and the Nazis make a show of fighting him off. Cap and Namor are imprisoned under the orders of Namor's mother, Princess Fen. Cap is surprised that Namor is so meek in front of his mother.
In the next issue, Cap escapes and, after finding American navy officers held in a death camp...
...approaches Namor, who is speaking with his mother. Cap convinces the Sub-Mariner that his mother is manipulating Namor and full of irrational hatred. Namor is convinced and the two of them go and find the Torch and knock some sense into him. Unfortunately, the Nazis have been working on Human Torch replicas, which are released in #3's cliffhanger ending.
In the final issue of this arc, Cap manages to learn a lesson his commanding officer was trying to teach him by "taking control of the battlefield" (which is done by luring the Torch replicas into an abandoned ship and then sinking it). The Torch tries to reason with the replicas but is dismayed to find that they are "just" robots whereas, according to Cap, the Torch has proven he is a robot with a soul.
Everyone learns something - Cap learns how to apply some tactical advice. Namor learns that his experience in WWII has given him more backbone to stand up to his mother. And, sadly, the Torch learns that he is truly, truly alone - neither humans nor robots are like him. And both Namor and the Torch decide that while they can't really trust most humans, they can definitely trust and rely on Cap. So maybe it's a little sappy and not super-profound, but it's a pretty good story, supplying some much needed character development into early marvel history. And there's a decent action story in there as well.
Garney's art is good on storytelling and poses, but his faces are lifeless.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: The first person narration by Cap is clearly from some later date, but nothing in the narration prevents this story from being placed in the Golden Age. The narration identifies the year as 1942 and says that he'd fought alongside Cap and Namor "for months". The MCP place this after the 1990s Invader series.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
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