1982 · The 80s

May 1982: Captain America 272- Or, surely he should be wearing a helmet

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Captain America 272 was written by J M DeMatteis and drawn by Mike Zeck and opens with Steve (Captain America) Rogers riding his bike in costume through one of the seedier neighbourhoods in  New York. He comes across a car accident and see’s that the driver (a cabbie) has had his throat slit. Steve drops him off at the hospital nearest too him, before heading to another hospital in Harlem. There he finds Sam (the Falcon) Wilson and several of his family (including his girlfriend Leila) who are there because Sam’s nephew Jim has been shot foiling a liquor store robbery. Steve arrives (out of costume) to comfort Sam, who punches a wall in frustration. Steve tries to help, but it ends in speeches as Steve’s help always did in bronze age cap appearances and Sam storms out. Leila tells Steve he should probably go too, leaving Steve (Back in the costume) riding off thinking how much better they seem to get on. Not what I think when someone asks me to leave, but that’s just me.)

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Sam gets into his Falcon gear and flies around to clear his head, seeing a young boy, who has clearly been beaten up, on a rooftop. Falcon lands and is trying to help the young guy get home, when a gang of armed men try to stop them. There’s a tense staredown and they punks open fire, but hit nothing but brick, while Falcon (and his pet falcon Redwing) take the group apart, but the youngster (Little Angel) has already ran off.

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Cap is then attacked by a figured clad in green robes, who slashes at Cap with razor sharp nails and leads him something of a chase, until he is cornered on a roof and the robed figure reveals himself as the rat like supervillain Vermin. A vicious fight between Cap and Vermin (along with his army of rats, yes that right, rats) meanwhile Falcon finds Little Angel and takes him home to his mother, who informs him that Little Angel is really Raymond. After a nice talk with Raymond’s mother, Falcon talks to who Raymond, who confesses that he shot someone while high on weed and smack, that person was Jim Wilson. Falcon is about to lay into the kid, but realises what he is doing and comforts him and his distraught mother.

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Meanwhile the fight between Cap and Vermin is more and more vicious as Cap learns that Vermin was aimed at him by as yet unnamed masters. The fight ends with Cap getting the upper hand and beating Vermin into the floor, almost to the extent of killing him, but he stops himself short, only beating Vermin to a pulp. Shaken by the extent of his rage, he drops him off with the authorities and goes back to Harlem to learn that Falcon is going to run for congress.

 

Notes: I liked this issue, the art is clean and sharp, the action being doing very well. Faces aren’t exactly perfect, but everyone is recognisable which is the main thing. The more socially conscious elements are interesting, watching the two lead characters falter in their restraint is interesting and that last moment where Falcon learns Raymond is Jim’s shooter, is well handled despite it’s obvious twist. The idea of heroes going into politics is one that keeps following Captain America, but shifting it to Falcon makes it more compelling, because you don’t know where it’ll go. He could win and the story becomes what that means to him and his hero career or he could lose and we have new ramifications. We don’t know. The use of Vermin as a bad guy is interesting, his later career is much more of a Spider-Man character makes him an odd fit, but as a contrast to Cap he works very well.

 

This was a fun issue, a good example of the run and what can be done with Captain America and the Falcon and after a couple of lackluster issues a nice change of pace.

 

Next time: Later than advertised, it Marvel’s most over exposed (before Deadpool) Wolverine

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