1983 · The 80s

November 1983: Captain America 290 – Or, if you’re sneaking up on someone, don’t wear a pink suit.

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Synopsis: Captain America 290 was written by J M DeMatteis with art by Ron Frenz and Steve Leialoha and opens with Steve “Captain America” Rogers performing a series of gymnastic manoeuvres for the entertainment of his girlfriend Bernadette “Bernie” Rosenthal who rewards this impromptu performance with a passionate kiss all being seen by a tiny sized Janet “Wasp” Van Dyne, who is pleased to see Steve happy. After breakfast, the two of them go for a walk.

That night Steve goes to see Jack “Nomad” Monroe who was a replacement Bucky from the 1950’s (kept young via cryogenics) who is having nightmares. Steve gives him a bit of a pep talk and the two go roof running to see a friend of Steve’s at three in the morning.

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But he’s being watched, but a man in a really right bright pink suit, who is himself being watched by what looks like a floating super-villain with a bit of nun fetish. She introduces herself as Mother Superior and recognises him as Baron Helmut Zemo.

Cap and Nomad meet up with Sam “Falcon” Wilson and the two have a long talk and find that Falcon is actually doing ok after the loss of the local election he ran for. After Cap prevents a young boy from committing a crime, the three of them decide to go see a friend of Cap’s.

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The friend in question is Arnold Roth, who is suffering nightmares, including the one that wakes him being a visit from Zemo and Mother Superior, who remind him his death is near. Cap, Nomad and Falcon arrive and have a nice chat with Arnold, who talks about how hard is has been since the death of his room mate Mike. The three leave and Arnold sees the footprints from Zemo and Mother Superior and realises that last dream was in fact no dream.

 

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Mother Superior takes Zemo to see her father, who is not named, but his fondness for Chopin’s funeral march lets long time Captain America fans know, this withered hand belongs to the Red Skull. As everyone heads home from Arnold’s Cap and Nomad are attacked by some sort of spectral crow, making apparently no sense whatsover in this issue alone.

 

Notes: This was a strange issue, never really getting going in regards to action, but worked very well in introducing us to the current status quo of Captain America and his supporting cast. Cap’s girlfriend Bernie gets a time to shine as does his current sidekick Nomad as well as neighbour Arnold and former partner Falcon.  The writing is sharp and even the speechifying Cap is explained and used well. There was little to no action, but I honestly enjoyed the hell out of this comic and even Ron Frenz (not my favourite artist) does some really good eye-catching work. It’s hard to not feel disappointment when the cover is Byrne to get someone else in there, but Frenz does really well aping Byrne’s clean style, while still doing his own thing. A cracking issue of an overlooked run.

 

Next Time: Spies, robots and Spider-Man.. It’s Team Up Time

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