CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE CAPTAIN (Marvel, 2011; Softcover)
Collects Captain America Nos. 332-350 and Iron Man No. 228 (cover dates August, 1987- February, 1989)
Writer: Mark Gruenwald
Artists: Tom Morgan, Kieron Dwyer, Al Milgrom, Ron Frenz (covers only), and other inkers.
The gist(with spoilers in this paragraph)- Steve Rogers, a/k/a Captain America, is called before a committee who informs him that since the Government paid for the Super Soldier Serum, costume, shield, and came up with the name Captain America, then the Government owns Captain America. They then offer him a job to carry out their missions. Rogers decides that he serves America as a whole and not just the wants and needs of this committee and quits. This causes the Government to seek out a replacement Captain America. Enter John Walker, formerly known as the Super-Patriot, who is more than a little unhinged. Cracks in his sanity are almost immediately apparent, and as time goes on he shows more and more ticks until he completely snaps after watching his parents get murdered in cold blood right in front of him at the hands of the Watchdogs.
Steve Rogers continues being a superhero, and since he can no longer legally be Captain America or wear red, white, and blue, becomes the Captain. He has a loose knit entourage of crime fighters with him, including the Falcon, Nomad, D-Man (Demolition Man), and Vagabond. D-Man's costume is dreadful, being a hybrid of Daredevil's quickly aborted original costume and Wolverine's headgear. Just a terrible, terrible costume design. He is a super-powered former wrestler who bankrolls many of this ragtag group's exploits, including Cap's new costume. Captain America gets a new shield from Tony Stark (Iron Man) which is made of adamantium. I won't go into the whys and wherefores of it, but this gift is short-lived, as Rogers gives it back under protest. Then the Black Panther (T'Challa, ruler of Wakanda) gives him a shield made of vibranium.
The Serpent Society are recurring antagonists throughout this book, as are the Watchdogs, Left-Winger and Right-Winger. The Flag Smasher arc is good, ditto the return of the Red Skull. The late Mark Gruenwald really turned things upside down without making it feel disjointed or off-putting. The art is mostly solid throughout this book as it rotates between the stable of artists listed above.
I bought issues 334 and 337 off of the stand back in 1987. They didn't make a whole lot of sense to me at the time, since they were both parts of a larger epic. I am glad that Marvel is reprinting these “lost” classics and putting them back out there for modern audiences to discover, and for us older fans to get a chance to experience as well.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I love love love the paper stock that is used in this book. It's the exact same grade that Marvel uses in their softcover Masterworks and Classic trades. It has a dull, matte finish, but is of a sufficient weight coated stock where it doesn't feel cheap. It looks and feels like an old comic book without being as chintzy as one. The cardstock cover has that same nice, thick coating that all Marvel trade paperbacks have.
Linework restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Color restoration rating: 5 out of 5.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5.
Binding rating: 5 out of 5. This has a nice thick band of glue, and you don't even hear a creak when you fan through it.
Cardstock cover rating: 5 out of 5.
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