Characters Appearing: Cowboy, Georgiana Hebb, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Honcho, Marauder, R.U. Reddy, Red Fowler, Wolf, Wrench, Zarathos
Team America #11-12
Issue(s): Team America #11, Team America #12
These are the final issues of the series, and it's the only continuing story (i.e. more than one issue) in the twelve issue run. The story features the return of the remedial branch of Hydra that we saw in the early issues, and also a guest appearance by Ghost Rider.
"Mr. Ghost Rider. Sir? We have these licensed stunt motorcycle characters, and, well, it seems like having you as a guest star would be an obvious fit."
Dave Simons, inker for the Ghost Rider's this series at the time, pencils the Ghost Rider guest appearance here, and he brings the kind of caricatured look that compliments Bob Budiansky's style very well on Ghost Rider but seems a little weird here.
When i see art like that, i expect there to be jokes. But the only joke here is that we're reading this at all.
And note Georgiana above. Keep that in mind for the revelation at the end of this story.
While we're waiting for Hydra and Ghost Rider, we can pass the time staring in at horror at this scene with Wolf committing statutory rape.
She'll later claim that she's 19 but... no she's not.
However, she has seen so much in such a short time.
The best thing about this is that her parents (looks like grandparents to me) are Hydra agents.
If you want an argument for universal health care, this is it.
It's not just the old people. Everyone in Hydra is in it for the benefits.
On first glance, this answers the longstanding question of how Hydra manages to keep recruiting their loyal foot soldiers. But the question really is about the loyal foot soldiers. Sure, Hydra can afford to keep some old people on retainer in return for a basic health insurance policy. And they can recruit middle management with six figure salaries. But how do they get the masses of goons that will bravely march into battle against a guy with a flaming skull head, shouting "Cut off a limb, and two more shall take its place!". Surely if Hydra can afford to pay each of them $250,000 in 1983 dollars they've already conquered the world in any way that really matters.
Anyway, Team America decided to check out Johnny Blaze performing at his carnival (and were duly impressed), but the Ghost Rider detected something strange about the group, and so that night he tracks down the Marauder.
Blaze is able to hold back the demon enough that they don't yet get into a conflict. But then the demon forces Blaze to see Team America's event the next day, and pretty soon the Ghost Rider is on the circuit among the other racers.
As an announcer says, this is Unlimited Class Racing, so why the hell not? The Marauder soon manifests as well, and there's no denying that seeing the two supernatural bikers is pretty awesome.
This is where Hydra's rank incompetence comes in. Because they were supposed to jump in and take out Team America. But surely they would know to hold back now that there's two supernatural madmen on the tracks, right? No! Because Hydra goons follow orders to the letter, as we saw earlier, and their manager is too busy enjoying the spectacle to issue countermanding orders.
To be fair, they've come with enough firepower to take over a small country.
Meanwhile, Team America is shocked to see that the Marauder is around while all of them are present.
During the chaos that follows...
...Marauder takes a hit to save Wolf...
...making Ghost Rider remember that he's a spirit of vengeance, so he switches sides and turns on Hydra.
When it's all over and Ghost Rider (unceremoniously) departs, the Marauder is still knocked out from the Ghost Rider's blast, and Team America unmasks him. Or her.
Georgiana doesn't remember anything about the battle.
The first half of issue #12 has the remedial Hydra middle manager escaping from her execution for failure (the downside of that $250,000 position)...
...and making a personal attempt on Team America's lives in order to redeem herself. But she fails, thanks in no small part to Georgiana's hair pulling and Wolf's casual manhole cover tossing.
And with that, she reveals the origin of Team America. About a generation ago, Hydra engaged in Project: New Genesis, which involved secretly genetically engineering a number of families so that their first-born sons would be mutants.
The project was deemed a failure. "Some" of the children had "remarkable" abilities (presumably this includes Wolf's super-strength, maybe Wrench's mechanical ability and... um... Cowboy's lariating?) but nothing that seemed useful to Hydra.
That changed when the Marauder wiped their files. Now Hydra realizes that the five men share a subtle mind link, and can project the power of the Marauder onto another person. Specifically (per issue #12), Georgiana.
What's not explained is why the Marauder deleted the files in issue #1, or (less important) how the motorcycle and Marauder's clothes get generated (presumably the Team's powers include matter generation, and maybe if they were rock stars instead of stuntmen, the Marauder would manifest with a guitar instead of a bike). There were also scenarios throughout past issues, particularly the solo stories, where it wouldn't have made a lot of sense for Georgiana to have been around. This issue does leave open the possibility that it's not just Georgiana that they can project onto...
...and that will be confirmed in their next appearance in New Mutants.
In return for this information, the Hydra lady just wants to be allowed to see her family one last time before she is executed. Since she's built up a relationship with her local terror cell, they also let her have a few moments.
But when it is time for her to die, Team America comes roaring to the rescue, oblivious to the fact that if Hydra fails to kill her they'll kill her family instead. Nonetheless, the Hydra goons fall like bowling pins to the might of Team America's motorcycling.
The final goons are taken out by Georgiana, who can now ride a bike herself.
And the big reveal is that she hasn't been cheating on Wrench with Cowboy all along. She's been taking riding lesson from him.
Uh-huh. "Riding lessons". That's what all those tender looks and touches and lingering hugs were about in earlier issues.
Anyway, poor Wrench buys it, and pretty soon it is the most awesome wedding ever.
I think the priest should have been on a bike too, but i don't want to be nitpicky.
Team America break up at the end of this story, but we'll see three of them together again in New Mutants helping Cowboy raise funds for his riding school (since he enjoyed teaching Georgiana so much), and the events of that story will pull the whole team together again.
Also quickly and implausibly wrapped up in this issue is R.U. Reddy's conflict with his father. We learn, a little late in the series, that Reddy has been receiving letters from his father all along but not opening them, and finally in issue #12 Reddy gives his father a call and they decide to be friends again. It's Reddy's father that pays for Wrench and Georgiana's wedding.
The cover to issue #12 says "Because you demanded it -- the end of Team America!". And an editorial from Shooter says Team America made money every month but "comes down to a question of how successful is successful enough?" and:
..if a title's just squeaking by each month, then doesn't it make sense to try something else? It takes just as many people just as much time and effort to produce a marginal title as it does to create the adventures of the X-Men... A comic book that is an artistic triumph deserves to be continued, even if the world hasn't caught on to it yet - and even if it never does. A recent example of that is Daredevil, which for the first year or so of Frank Miller's tenure on the book was selling poorly... So doesn't Team America deserve the same respect? Isn't it an artistic success? I don't think so.
Me neither, Mr. Shooter!
The editorial also notes that Team America will soon be appearing in New Mutants. Because if at first you don't succeed, why not contaminate some other comic with your failure?
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Ghost Rider #75-76, before the final arc in his series.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Actualy these two issues weren't bad, their biggest crime was in making me pic of the horrible, horrible rest of the series
Posted by: Russell White | September 15, 2013 6:48 AM
Oh, dear God. Reliving this rag has been like one long walk of shame. When I was a boy, I had a 7-11 within walking distance. After school, and during the summer months I'd walk there, pick up a Slurpee, and pick up comic books. At 12-13 years of age, I would usually pick up Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Marvel Team-Up and Two-In-One, and (wait for it)... TEAM AMERICA! Somewhere in a trunk in my attic, there may still exist evidence I bought this travesty. Most comments I've made when I visit here tend towards the horror line, but this series is a true Marvel Horror! Excuse me, I think I need a drink.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | May 29, 2017 5:33 PM
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