Marvel Super Heroes #3
Issue(s): Marvel Super Heroes #3 (Captain America, Wasp, & Blue Shield stories)
Mark Gruenwald - Editor
The first story in this issue is the latest installment in Danny Fingeroth's Dominic Fortune saga. This one doesn't have much of a present day story: Captain America goes to his old neighborhood in the Lower East Side, breaks up a gang of truck hijackers, and then bumps into Dominic Fortune, who it turns out knows him.
The rest of it is told in layers of flashback. First, it turns out that Dominic Fortune, then Davey Fortunov, helped out a young Steve Rogers when he was getting beat up by the neighborhood bullies.
Then we see that before Steve Rogers saw the newsreel on the Nazis that inspired him to try to enlist for service in World War II, he was watching a film short on Dominic Fortune. Steve idolized him a bit, and then recognized him.
Then it turns out that Dominic Fortune was an initial candidate for the super-soldier program.
But he was ultimately rejected, ostensibly because of his character.
And if all of that wasn't enough to have you grinding your teeth over the messing around with one of the core origins of the Marvel universe (personally i'm fine with what's happened so far), Danny Fingeroth inserts an attack by enemy agents after Steve Rogers was selected for the super-soldier program, but before it was administered.
And Dominic Fortune shows up to rescue him.
Steve Rogers has yet to develop Captain America's characteristic humility.
That's Fortune's lover Sabbath making sure that the soldier that Fortune sent Steve with isn't a double-spy. Fortune stayed behind to fight the enemy agents, and eventually gets captured. So Sabbath goes to save him and gets captured too. And then Steve does get a little humility and goes back to rescue them.
That's a pre-serum Steve Rogers, don't forget. This scrawny guy:
Back in the present, Steve and Dominic catch up.
Given that Dominic Fortune, who was active in the 30s, is a part of Marvel's shared universe, i don't think it's terrible to suggest that he was considered for the super-soldier program. And saying that he and Cap met during Cap's childhood isn't so bad. But the idea that he was directly responsible for protecting Steve after he was selected for the super-soldier program seems a bit much. And considering how deeply the program was compromised and attacked, it makes it hard to accept that the government didn't triple-down on the security when the serum was actually being administered. If the government had responded appropriately to this attack, Dr. Erskine should never have been killed. It's too bad they didn't ask Dominic Fortune to stick around.
To me it's like Danny Fingeroth has adopted Dominic Fortune as his pet character and is now inserting him in important Marvel events to increase his cred. I demand that Dominic Fortune be inserted, Forest Gump-like, into all major Marvel events. Dominic Fortune was the guy who led the Golden Age super-heroes that popped out of Rick Jones' head during the Kree-Skrull War. Dominic Fortune saved the residents of a nursing home from an attack by demonically possessed walkers during Inferno. Dominic Fortune was in the 0th part of The Terminus Factor, when the Termini were a bunch of bacteria that he had to scrape off his dentures.
I've enjoyed Fingeroth's use of Dominic Fortune in the various fill-ins that he wrote, but i can see why this one never saw print. Well, until now, since the Marvel Super Heroes book seems to publish everything indiscriminately.
Somehow, despite Janet's leg being visible, she's wearing her Wasp costume underneath, so she shrinks to Wasp size and attacks Kingsize. A sting from the Wasp causes Kingsize to rampage (literally) like a bull in a china shop.
Kingsize shows the ability to change into various forms, including a frog.
Also in the department store is Dakota North. She's picked out an outfit that a clerk says "screams you". Which is true, because it is the outfit that Dakota wears all the time.
Dakota takes a few shots at Kingsize, but then gets knocked out. Really just a cameo appearance.
The fight next takes the Wasp near a book signing by a J. Dudley Harkness.
Wasp eventually figures out that she should shoot the gem on Kingsize's forehead. That knocks him out.
Kingsize has been talking about how the Wasp's "kind" has "made life for the... giants... impossible" (ellipses in original). In the end, the Wasp decides to take his grievance seriously enough that she has Kingsize sent to the Fantastic Four instead of the Vault. Kingsize will appear years later, in Heroes For Hire during Civil War. But to my knowledge the story hinted at here is never told.
J. Dudley Harkness seems to be John Harkness, the pseudonym that Steve Englehart used (rather frequently) when he was unhappy with what Marvel editorial was doing with his stories. And he looks like Englehart, or at least like the John Harkness that appears in Fantastic Four #333. Not sure why Dwight Jon Zimmerman would insert him into this story, though.
But later it turns out that Firebolt is the one causing the problems.
Blue Shield stops Firebolt by putting a forcefield around him while he's generating a plasma bolt. The result is that Firebolt incinerates himself. By the way, it's said that at this point the Blue Shield has been wearing the belt that gives him his forcefield for so long that he's absorbed its properties and he no longer needs to wear it; the powers are inherent in him.
A scientist at Project Pegasus convinces Blue Shield that he should stick around as Security Chief. After all, Roxxon will just hire more people to attack them. Pretty amazing that scientists at a government facility are fully aware that Roxxon is trying to sabotage them and they can't do anything about it.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Hulk and Captain Marvel stories from this issue appear in separate entries. This issue also had a jokey explanation of Speedball's powers, which i put on the main blog.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBlue Shield, Captain America, Dakota North, Dominic Fortune, Jeannine O'Connell, Kingsize, Radion (Dr. Henri Sorel), Wasp
I think we can close our eyes and just call the Cap/Dom Fortune story a "what if...?" It never really happened.
Posted by: kveto | July 29, 2015 4:23 PM
That John Harkness cameo is definitely a head-scratcher. I had no idea that he had any other in-comic appearances.
Posted by: TCP | July 29, 2015 4:43 PM
If the spy was Erskine's assistant, then why did they need Steve to tell them where Erskine was?
Posted by: Michael | July 29, 2015 9:25 PM
Okay, I haven't looked at Marvel Super Heroes #3 in quite some time. But I certainly enjoyed it a lot back when I first bought it. Granted, I was 14 years old at the time!
I liked Danny Fingeroth's story that involved Dominic Fortune in Steve Rogers' early years. The way I see it, after all these years there have been so many subtly different (and occasionally very much revised) retellings of Captain America's origins that as a reader you can pretty much just pick & choose which ones are in-continuity. If you like the idea of Cap having known Dominic Fortune, than it happened. If you don't like it, well, then just ignore it.
I don't think that there was ever an abundance of Dominic Fortune material, so I had no problem with Fingeroth slotting the character in to some other events & stories. I mean, it's nowhere near as blatant a retcon as revealing that Wolverine knows EVERYONE in the Marvel universe or shoehorning the Illuminati into all of Marvel's classic storylines.
So, now I'm wondering... has Wolverine met Dominic Fortune? I would not be at all surprised to find out that the answer is yes!
As for the Wasp and Bule Shield stories, they were okay. I thought they were fun one-off tales. I had completely forgotten that both Amanda Conner and Greg Capullo had early work in this issue. Shows they were both good artists even back then.
The whole thing with "J. Dudley Harkness" went completely over my head until today. Yeah, that is odd , but it has to be a reference to Steve Englehart. In the story Harkness is signing a novel called "The Rugged Man" which is undoubtedly a nod to Englehart's first novel The Point Man...
Posted by: Ben Herman | July 29, 2015 9:48 PM
I think Dr. O'Connell in the Blue Shield story is supposed to be the same Doctor O'Connell in Marvel Two-In-One 53-58.
Posted by: Michael | July 29, 2015 9:57 PM
I don't know about Wolverine, but Sabretooth has.
Posted by: Erik Robbins | July 29, 2015 10:47 PM
@Michael, you're right, and by the way, she was Quasar's fiancee in Marvel Two-In-One #74. Added her here.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 30, 2015 7:39 AM
Fnord, is this The only appereance of this Firebolt guy? I don't ser him tagged in The characters section
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | August 4, 2015 5:47 PM
According to the MCP it's his only appearance, and that makes sense considering he's introduced in this issue and incinerated at the end of it. I usually don't tag characters with just one appearance.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 4, 2015 5:55 PM
I knew about tour tags, it's just that seems weird to have a new security chief at pegasus with zero background...
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | August 5, 2015 1:40 AM
Agree, Jay. I guess it's because the point of the story was just to restore Blue Shield in that position, so they needed a throwaway character for him to replace.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 5, 2015 7:11 AM
Comments are now closed.
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