Archive for September, 2012

Captain America #450

September 30, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney
April 1996
****
With crossover kudzu past, Waid/Garney rev their run back up. Rogers has quit playing CA before (more than once!), but this man-on-the-run twist has him fired instead. In the Oval Office, Pres. Clinton reveals that Cap’s the lone suspect in a security breach—and exiles him from the US!
[continued from The Avengers #396]
[last issue: Captain America #449]
[next issue: Captain America #451]

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Captain America #449

September 29, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney & Sandu Florea
March 1996
***
An Avengers crossover throws Garney off his game, leaving his backup Florea to draw rubber faces & tiny Liefeld feet. But Waid’s Cap still thrills. When goons drain the power from Manhattan, the true-blue man-of-action leaps off the Brooklyn Bridge to rescue a downed copter & direct ambulances.
[continued in The Mighty Thor #496]
[last issue: Captain America #448]
[next issue: Captain America #450]

Captain America #448

September 13, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney
February 1996
***
CA, trapped w/in a Cosmic Cube by the Red Skull, runs A. Moore’s “Man Who Has Everything” scenario. Dream-Bucky, speaking as Cap’s subconsciousness, dispels the illusion that demos Waid’s unnuanced approach to Cap (compared w/ Gruenwald’s New Deal hero).  Garney’s art has panache, synthesizing every mid-’90s art tic, from Jim Lee’s rippling physiques to manga-like jawlines, into smooth coherence.
[last issue: Captain America #447]
[next issue: Captain America #449]

Captain America #447

September 12, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney & Mike Manley
January 1996
***
More running thru a hi-tech base, as the three protags compete to control Kirby’s ultimate deus ex machina, the Comic Cube. The issue does feel padded, esp. w/ several splash pages. But Garney’s clear layouts (finished by Manley) keep the action buzzing, while Waid has set plausibly high stakes.
[last issue: Captain America #446]
[next issue: Captain America #448]

Captain America #446

September 11, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney
December 1995
***
A Cosmic Cube Cult hopes to resurrect Hitler, against the Red Skull’s wishes! Not a bad idea, but most of #446 is formulaic (if well-executed) ’90s supercomics. Cap clenches his jaw to show ethical conflict while his ex-flame, SHIELD Agent Carter, has been made over as a surly mercenary antihero.
[last issue: Captain America #445]
[next issue: Captain America #447]

Captain America #445

September 10, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney
November 1995
****
In a nice parallel scene, an empty coffin is interred at Arlington as medtech rejuvenates the Captain. The save comes via the Red Skull (who’s body is a Cap clone, you’ll recall). The real surprise is his sidekick: the late Sharon Carter! Otherwise, it’s mostly jumpsuited thugs in secret bases.
[last issue: Captain America #444]
[next issue: Captain America #446]

Captain America #444

September 9, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney
October 1995
****
Waid, already mid-run on a superb Flash for DC, briefly adds this mag to his resumé. His debut ish eulogizes Cap, killed by his own super-serum—or was he? The Avengers honor his courage by announcing his death & fighting terrorists in standard ’90s robo-suits at the Jefferson Memorial.
[last issue: Captain America #443]
[next issue: Captain America #445]

Captain America #255

September 8, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
March 1981
****
Byrne decamps for FF and Stern begins his work on Spidey. But first, they cap their run by recounting the supersoldier’s origin. It’s framed nicely by an Oval Office scene, as FDR gives CA the famous shield. Rubenstein deserves special tone, applying inks thick & rough to suggest the Golden Age era.
[last issue: Captain America #254]
[next issue: Captain America #256]

Captain America #254

September 7, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
February 1981
****
A gothic tale set in England, with a vampire that’s less Marvel’s Dracula than Stoker’s original. This bloodsucker fought Cap & the Invaders back in WW2, & now loses his head w/ a gruesome chop of the supersoldier’s shield! Also notable: a working-class student becomes Cap’s UK analog, Union Jack.
[last issue: Captain America #253]
[next issue: Captain America #255]

Captain America #253

September 6, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
January 1981
****
Stern’n’Byrne pull the mid-’70s Invaderscontinuity into their run—an inevitable inclusion, since they’ve been enriching Cap’s character w/ period details & “man out of his time” theme. The plot’s a horror trope (an odd fit for the supersoldier) as Cap returns to England to hunt a Nazi vampire.
[last issue: Captain America #252]
[next issue: Captain America #254]

Captain America #252

September 5, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
December 1980
****
When one of Thor’s heavies aims a supertanker at NYC, that ol’ French mercenary Batroc teams up w/ Cap to pummel him. You can almost feel the punches land in Byrne’s fight sequences, plus he tosses off one or two A+ layouts. The peppy caper wraps up quickly, so the creators offer some bonus material.
[last issue: Captain America #251]
[next issue: Captain America #253]

Captain America #251

September 4, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
November 1980
****
This throwback to the Lee/Kirby era gets burnished by its creators’ superlative craft. Look at how much time Stern/Byrne devote to Silver Age super-criminals Hyde & Batroc, who hold NYC ransom! Read how revealing the dialogue is, see how smooth & muscular the artwork is. JB draws a perfect Cap.
[last issue: Captain America #250]
[next issue: Captain America #252]

Captain America #250

September 3, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
October 1980
*****
Cap considers a presidential bid on a third-party ticket but declines cuz he’s an idealist, not a pragmatist. A boldly introverted issue for a milestone number, #250 hit the racks for the autumn election, when Watergate still cast a black shadow over the Oval Office & the country seemed rudderless.
[last issue: Captain America #249]
[next issue: Captain America #251]

Captain America #249

September 2, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
September 1980
****
It takes confidence—or chutzpah—to create a villain w/ a great hook & kill him right away, at least when the death has substance. Downloaded into a mainframe, a roboticist lives a bodiless existence. He loathes it, but his programming won’t allow suicide. So he dupes Cap into executing him!
[last issue: Captain America #248]
[next issue: Captain America #250]

Captain America #248

September 1, 2012

Roger Stern & John Byrne
August 1980
***
A sturdy structure (& Byrne’s long, delicate line) propels the action from last ish to next. A megalomaniac designer of robots has targeted Cap, first w/ that Nazi replicant and now w/ a synthetic dragon (a classic Kirby creation). The issue’s charm, however, is seeing Steve hang w/ his neighbors.
[last issue: Captain America #247]
[next issue: Captain America #249]