Characters Appearing: Captain America, Crossbones, Ken Reid, NFL Superpro, Sanction
NFL Superpro #8
Issue(s): NFL Superpro #8
NFL Superpro's second interaction with Marvel universe characters features not just Captain America but also his villain Crossbones. I was a little apprehensive, at first, about Crossbones being used as a generic mercenary villain (hired by Superpro's archvillain Marco Sanzionare, aka Sanction)...
...but the story will later acknowledge Crossbones' current status quo of being estranged from the Red Skull. I guess the man needs to make a living, and Superpro should have been some easy cash, if it wasn't for Cap.
Crossbones attacks while Superpo is in his Phil Grayfield identity, covering an NFL anti-drug campaign.
Note that Phil's cameraman Ken Reid doesn't think much of the guy running the campaign.
Phil sees Crossbones in civilian clothes but acting suspiciously, and changes into Superpro, having mastered the sixty-second costume change.
Crossbones is just full of the witty ripostes, calling Superpro "Stupidpro" and telling him to "Eat my shorts!". Hey, it's all Superpro deserves.
Crossbones manages to hit Superpro with a poisoned knife. But luckily Captain America shows up before Crossbones can go for the kill.
Crossbones escapes while Cap sucks the poison out of Superpro's leg.
Cap calls Crossbones a "hired thug" but it's here that it's noted that until recently he worked for the Red Skull. Impressed with Superpro's choice of colors, Cap invites him for a workout at the Avengers mansion sometime. Then they part ways.
It turns out that Crossbones was planting evidence to make it look like Phil's friend, a spokesperson for the NFL's anti-drug campaign, has been using drugs. The suggestion that his friend might be on drugs makes Superpro angry. We wouldn't like Superpro when he's angry, but then again, we never like him.
Superpro finds what seemed like an obviously planted clue (but will turn out not to be) in the trench coat that Crossbones was wearing, and follows it to a building where, luckily, the security guards are as dumb as he is. Of course, being dumb, his stealth mission is foiled when he falls through a skylight.
And he lands at the feet of Sanzionare. Note Sanzionare and Crossbones arguing about how dumb Crossbones is.
Sanzionare takes the lead in fighting Superpro, but, despite their earlier bickering, Crossbones jumps in when Sanzionare gets in trouble (and seriously, just stick with Stupidpro if all you can come up with the second time is Stuporpro).
Strange attempt at a kind of 3-D effect from Herb Trimpe. Reach out and shake NFL Man's hand.
Sanzionare and Crossbones manage to get away using the innovative technique of turning off the lights and running.
We don't actually see Superpro finding any evidence clearing his friend's name, but he does give a press conference the next day and that's the end of it. I guess the word of NFL Superpro is enough.
I think it's kind of funny that the selling point of this issue, at least by the cover, is a team-up with Captain America, and yet the two basically have one interaction in the middle of the comic and that's it. The best Cap could do was compliment Superpro's costume colors. I'm sure Jarvis was not instructed to wave the guy through if he ever did show up for that workout. I guess Cap will always vaguely remember Superpro as the guy who needed poison sucked out of his leg. On the other hand, when Superpro thinks back on this incident, it's probably the highlight of his career.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Crossbones is not working for the Red Skull at this point. This could be during the period where he's keeping Diamondback prisoner, since we know that he frequently leaves her alone.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
NFL anti-drug campaign
Yea, that's the great thing about comics, the total break from reality.
Posted by: JC | February 22, 2016 10:24 AM
"I think it's kind of funny that the selling point of this issue, at least by the cover, is a team-up with Captain America"
Just to play Devil's Advocate, all it says on the cover is "Guest Starring". That only implies an appearance by Cap, not any kind of real Team-Up. Although, the poison sucking is certainly a meaningful interaction for Superpro.
Posted by: clyde | February 22, 2016 11:17 AM
What is Crossbones supposed to be doing in those last two panels? It looks like he's telekinetically throwing debris at Phil?
Posted by: Michael | February 22, 2016 8:36 PM
Issue #8 was the second issue of NLF Superpro that I got. I also bought a copy of issue #1 because, um, well, sometimes I don't have the best judgment when it comes to comic books. What can I say? It was the 1990s.
Anyway, even though the first issue was a dud, I got this one when it came out because at the time I was a huge fan of Captain America, so I wanted this for Cap and Crossbones. This was actually Crossbones' first ever appearance outside of the pages of Cap's title. Yeah, I know, not exactly an auspicious way to branch out into the wider Marvel universe.
Still, it was entertaining enough, since Crossbones basically spends the entire story beating up and mocking Superpro.
Herb Trimpe actually drew a pretty sinister version of Crossbones. Some of his other art for this issue, though, was really odd. That spokesman at the anti-drug press conference has a ridiculously long & narrow head. And I can unfortunately never un-see the sight of Cap sucking poison out of Superpro's leg.
Yea, that's the great thing about comics, the total break from reality.
JC, I'm sure that if this series had somehow managed to continue longer, eventually there would have been a story revolving around the NFL's earnest efforts to combat instances of domestic violence and sexual assault among their players, and soon after that another story about the League's passionate mission to significantly reduce brain injuries on the field.
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 23, 2016 1:25 PM
" I'm sure Jarvis was not instructed to wave the guy through if he ever did show up for that workout."
Jarvis never lets ANYONE in! I can't count the number of times I've seen Jarvis turn someone away from Avengers Mansion or hang up the phone on some poor guy asking for help. It doesn't matter if you're a superhero or not, Spider-Man's fallen victim to this before. I'm pretty sure I remember him slamming the door on Gravity in the Sanctum Sanctorum once of all places.
Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Jarvis has tried to stop the Avengers getting in their own base before.
Posted by: Max_Spider | February 23, 2016 2:23 PM
Its interesting that at a time when a lot of the art in comics was veering more and more towards cheesecake, Herb Trimpe's art style changed to start giving the male characters bubble butts! You can see it here on Superpro and Crossbones in some of the scans of their fight, and to a lesser extent some of the other characters in these scans as well.
It becomes even more pronounced in his later work on FF UNLIMITED and elsewhere--I remember one AVENGERS Annual where Hercules looks like he's got two globes shoved down the back of his outfit...
Posted by: Dermie | February 27, 2016 11:55 AM
I didn't realize Cap had such a refined palate, to be able to discern what kind of snake that venom's from by taste.
Posted by: Mortificator | February 27, 2016 10:37 PM
It used to be, at least from my vantage point, that the Hulk was the one to have a team-up/showdown with a new character because Ol' Greenskin seemed to make an appearance in everyone else's books at one time or another. Guess Peter David must have been given some veto power at the time and exercised it after seeing Superpro. So it fell to Spidey and Cap to be the designated "sales boosters".
Posted by: Brian Coffey | July 4, 2017 3:00 PM
Being as Phil/Superpro was essentially a bonehead, one can just imagine him mangling his recounting of his first meeting with Captain America and the "leg-sucking" incident, only to have his friends back away shooting him strange looks. Aside from that, the blonde, bespectacled, painfully thin anti-drug lecturer in the third scan could be a dead ringer for Ichabod Crane from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 5, 2017 10:33 PM
well, I think we've found crossbones most embarrassing appearance.
thats a really odd left handed handshake between cap and superpro.
Posted by: kveto | October 28, 2017 11:56 AM
"Eat my shorts?" Crossbones watched too many Simpsons episodes before going on this mission.
Posted by: Nate Wolf | October 29, 2017 4:11 AM
@Nate- There is also the funny novelty song from the '80's "Eat My Shorts" by Rick Dees (of "Disco Duck" infamy).
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 29, 2017 8:11 AM
Every time I come back to the scan of Cap sucking the poison out, I'm reminded of Bill Murray as Carl Spangler in "Caddyshack". Only Carl has more smarts and charisma than Superpro.:-)
Posted by: Brian Coffey | November 8, 2017 8:19 PM
I meant to say Carl SPACKLER, sorry.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | November 9, 2017 9:50 PM
Comments are now closed.
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