1978 · The 70s

November 1978: Captain America 280 – In which we learn DO NOT give the Hulk a lift.

 

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Notes: Captain America 280 was written by Rogers Stern and McKenzie and pencilled by Sal Buscema and opens with Captain America along with the remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. Super Agents Marvel Man (he who will be Quasar) and Vamp, making their way to Alcatraz. They are following a lead from former Super Agent Bluestreak that the Corporation (a criminal enterprise organised like a business) has kidnapped Sam ‘Falcon’ Wilson and is holding him there. We get some exposition to bring us up to date and then we shoot across the state.

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Fred Sloan is giving the Hulk a lift, we are not really told why (SERIOUSLY WHY WOULD YOU LET THE HULK IN YOUR CAR?) but  he calms down and slowly reverts to Bruce Banner, who has no idea who Fred is, or what is going on. Before anything can be said, they are stopped by police, who pull them over and then shoot the two of them. That there is the point where we stop hearing from Fred Sloan in this story. These cops are part of the Corporation and they take the pair away.

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Back at Alcatraz Cap, Marvel Man and Vamp break in and speak to Curtis Jackson, the Corporations head of West Coast operations through a screen. Jackson shows the heroes the Falcon strapped to machinery in front of the sea gates, if the doors are opened, Falcon will quickly drown. Jackson offer a choice, he will swap Sam Wilson, for his nephew Jim, a former employee of the Corporation and also a friend of the Hulk. Jackson also reveals he has Bruce Banner strapped to a table. Cap stalls for time, but Jackson is interrupted by the sudden appearance of Kligger, his East Coast counterpart, who earlier in this issue shed the identity of senator Sitvak. Kligger brings with him a shackled Jim Wilson, Moonstone and it turns out Vamp, who as well as being Kligger’s agent, is also his lover. He wants to swap Jim for Cap.

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Marvel Man sees his chance and uses his power bands to free Banner as several dozen guards burst onto the scene to keep the heroes from Jackson and Kligger. This panics Banner, who becomes the Hulk and then it all hits the fan. Hulk lays into Marvel Man and Captain America, leaving them unconscious, but is blind sided by Vamp, who has been changed by Kligger into her male alter ego Animus. With the heroes down, Jackson opens the sea gates and water begins to fill the prison. . .

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Notes: Well that was tense. This was a good issue, the writing was punchy and the plot although a bit labyrinthine, was tight and made sense throughout. The art was clean and eye catching, one of the better Sal Buscema eras was the 70’s and his is still the Hulk that I think of when the word comes up. The idea of corporate gangsters was an interesting variation of the arch-villain idea and provided a great foil for the more loosely affiliated heroes, who battled one another more than the villains here. I liked the whole issue tying into the Hulk and the previous story and it gave a great sense of a cohesive universe, without trying so very hard. I wish I had the Hulk issue, I really do.

Next Time: The Avengers face their greatest threat to date, bureaucracy.

 

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