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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

X-amining Captain America #339 & Daredevil #252

Captain America #339
"America the Scorched!"
March 1988

In a Nutshell 
The Captain battles Famine. 

Story: Mark Gruenwald
Pencils: Kieron Dwyer
Inks: Tony DeZuniga
Letters: Jack Morelli
Colors: Gregory Wright
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Famine arrives in Kansas and begins laying waste to farmland. Meanwhile, Steve Rogers, the Captain, former Captain America, and his allies are flying aboard their private plane when they receive word of Famine's attack, and Captain tells the pilot to plot a course for Kansas. At Ft. Meade, John Walker, the current Captain America, runs into Freedom Force and learns of the death of the X-Men as well as Famine's attack. He is tasked with stopping her. In Kansas, the Captain, Falcon, Nomad and D-Man attack Famine. She is able to take out Nomad and Falcon, but with D-Man subduing her mount, the Captain defeats Famine. However, she is teleported away before he can take her into custody. Later, Captain America arrives on the scene, well after the battle has completed. Two weeks later, the Captain meets with Tony Stark, who provides him with a new shield to use in his new identity.  

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue depicts Famine's attack on America's breadbasket after being teleported to Kansas by Apocalypse in X-Factor #25.

It occurs in the midst of Mark Gruenwald's long running "Captain America No More" storyline, in which Steve Rogers quits being Captain America after the US Government asserts its authority over the name, uniform and shield (Steve quits rather than be forced to take direct orders from the government). He takes the name The Captain, along with a black and slightly modified version of his traditional costume, and teams up with some of his former partners, including Falcon, Nomad and Demolition Man (aka D-Man) as a freelance crimefighter while the government taps John Walker, formerly Super-Patriot, to serve as their Captain America. Eventually, Steve battles the increasingly violent and mentally unstable replacement Cap and reclaims the mantle of Captain America, while Walker will adopt the black Captain costume and becomes U.S. Agent.

As the Captain, Steve Rogers uses a version of his shield made out of adamantium, crafted by Tony Stark. His encounter with Famine in this issue motivates him to ask Tony to create him that shield, and Tony provides it pro bono. He claims it's for the good publicity, but it actually ties in with the larger "Armor Wars" storyline running in Iron Man at the same time; as Tony goes about destroying his technology that has fallen into the wrong hands, including the government's, he hopes that gifting Steve the shield will keep him off his back as Tony carries out his mission.


Freedom Force (specifically Blob, Avalanche and Pyro) appear in this issue, bumping into John Walker and his sidekick (both the new Captain America and Freedom Force are overseen by the Commision on Superhuman Activities, of which Val Cooper is a member) and gloating about the death of the X-Men, though the timing doesn't quite work out: this issue must take place between X-Factor #25 and #26, which ran concurrently to the events of X-Men #227, yet Blob is already back from Dallas.


The art in this issue comes from Kieron Dwyer, who was John Byrne's stepson once upon a time (Byrne and Dwyer's mother eventually divorced) and contributed art to some of the added pages in various issues of Classic X-Men

A Work in Progress
Famine's powers are depicted throughout this issue as essentially being a beam of energy she can fire from her hands, which leads to whatever the beam hits withering away. This is somewhat different from how her power was depicted in X-Factor, which mostly required her to touch her victims. 

Captain uses a tractor grill as a makeshift shield against Famine.


Famine's retrieval by Apocalypse in this issue is inconsistent with the matching scene in X-Factor #26, as the latter suggests she's returning more in triumph than we see here.


Teebore's Take
From the perspective of someone reading this issue as a "Fall of the Mutants" tie-in, it's a pretty straightforward "main character of tie-in book battles villain from other series" story - if you're desperate to know what happened to Famine between X-Factor #25 and #26, well, here it is. What happens certainly isn't terribly engaging or excitingly staged: Famine kills some crops, attacks a farmer, Cap and his gang show up and stop her, Replacement Cap arrives too late to do anything. The better material happens on the margins and is concerned with the larger, ongoing Cap story (I'm huge fan of Gruenwald's "Captain America No More" story), as Steve Roger's encounter with Famine in this issue convinces him to ask Tony Stark to make him a new shield, an act that will have repercussions for both characters. Otherwise, this is a perfunctory tie-in story. Nothing terrible, but nothing terribly essential either.  

Daredevil #252
"Ground Zero"
March 1988

In a Nutshell 
Daredevil deals with the fallout of Apocalypse's attack on New York. 

Writer: Ann Nocenti
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Max Scheele
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the midst of the blackout triggered by Apocalypse's ship and the attack of his Horsemen, Matt Murdock leads a group of terrified people from his free clinic to the nearest hospital, including a teenager named Cain, who idolizes Murdock. Meanwhile, a thug named Ammo organizes a mob to attack the army's armory, determined to create a new world order. Murdock, as Daredevil, joins Black Widow on a patrol of the city, doing what they can to restore order and allay panic. They discover Ammo and his mob about to attack the hospital for drugs, and lead the people inside in a defense against Ammo. Once Daredevil takes down Ammo, his mob falls apart, and a group within the hospital, including Cain, captures a woman who was with Ammo, claiming her as spoils of war. Daredevil admonishes the group, especially Cain, for behaving that way, just as the army arrives on the scene, declaring the catastrophe over. In the ensuing confusion, the woman pulls a knife on Cain and stabs him before escaping. A dying Cain asks Daredevil to say goodbye to Matt Murdock for him. Daredevil tries to remove his mask, but Cain is already dead. 

Firsts and Other Notables
This issue deals with the fallout of Apocalypse's attack on New York, as the city is plunged into darkness. We see shadowed images of Apocalypse's ship crashing into buildings, as well as brief appearances by War and Pestilence.


At this point in his history, Matt Murdock, having lost his law license, is running a free legal aid clinic in Hell's Kitchen, assisted by his longtime girlfriend Karen Page (the pair having reconciled in the wake of "Born Again", during which Page sold Murdock's identity for drugs). Black Widow, who has a history with Daredevil (they co-headlined Daredevil's series for a time in the 70s), is also on hand, though I don't know if she was a regular fixture of the title at this time or just on hand for this issue. 

This issue marks the first appearance of Ammo, a minor Daredevil villain who will pop up in a few more Nocenti-penned issues.

Art comes from former X-Men penciller John Romita Jr., who's style has changed quite a bit since last we saw it, much more like the work he'll do during his second stint with the X-Men in the 90s. Not surprisingly, I quite like it. 

A Work in Progress
As with Captain America #339, the timing between this issue and the events as depicted in X-Factor #25 are a bit off, as we see Apocalypse's ship crash into the Empire State Building followed by War and Pestilence attacking, even though the fromer was disabled by the time the Empire State Building was hit and the latter was attacking Cyclops and Marvel Girl immediately after the building was hit, while Marvel Girl struggled to hold onto the broken antenna.


I Love the 80s
Several of the characters throughout this issue, not knowing what actually caused the blackout or the various explosions throughout the city, fear that a nuclear war has broken out, with many people repeatedly shown to be worried about possible radiation sickness as a result.


Teebore's Take
Where Captain America's tie-in deals directly with a character and story element from the larger "Fall of the Mutants" storyline, this issue simply uses "FotM" as a backdrop. We see War's hands and Pestlience briefly, and a few darkened images of Apocalypse's ship, but where Captain America #339 and Power Pack #35 feature plot points and characters from the larger story in their crossover, this issue is more concerned with sharing the mood, showing how people on the street are reacting to a darkened city under attack by unknown (to them) forces. The end result is a great depiction of what a street level hero like Daredevil would be doing in the midst of this story, helped along by absolutely gorgeous John Romita Jr. art. There are certainly characters and elements to this story that would hold more meaning for regular Daredevil readers (and Nocenti lays the nuclear war panic on perhaps a bit too thick), but for the average "Fall of the Mutants" reader checking this out because of the logo on the cover, it's an evocative take on the larger narrative from a different perspective. One of the better "FotM" tie-in issues, then, even if the issue itself isn't required reading in terms of the plot of the larger storyline. 

Next
Tomorrow, another pair of tie-ins, Power Pack #35 and Fantastic Four #312, followed by Excalibur Special Edition #1 on Friday. Next week, back to the regular grind with Uncanny X-Men #228.

23 comments:

  1. "both the new Captain America and Freedom Force are overseen by the Commision on Superhuman Activities, of which Val Cooper is a member"

    A whole of potential storytelling in that set-up that just wasn't tapped as much as it should have been. At the least, it was a nice was to tie FF into the wider Marvel Universe.

    Also, isn't the Blob's reaction a bit too...gleeful at the X-men's demise? Especially considering how it all played out during the X-men FOTM issue. Or maybe he just felt free to voice how he really felt without Mystique and Destiny around? ;)

    "Famine's powers are depicted throughout this issue as essentially being a beam of energy she can fire from her hands, which leads to whatever the beam hits withering away. This is somewhat different from how her power was depicted in X-Factor, which mostly required her to touch her victims."

    You are both right and wrong. Famine doesn't fire energy beams for her power to work, but she doesn't have to touch her victims either. I think you're confusing her with Pestilence.

    "this issue is more concerned with sharing the mood, showing how people on the street are reacting to a darkened city under attack by unknown (to them) forces. The end result is a great depiction of what a street level hero like Daredevil would be doing in the midst of this story, helped along by absolutely gorgeous John Romita Jr. art."

    This sums up the issue rather well. And it's a great issue too. Yes, the timing of events a bit off, but it does effectively capture what the average person in NYC must experience when BIG THINGS HAPPEN IN NYC, and how the average street level hero like DD deals with it. And during a big event like what we saw in FOTM, it is good to see something like from a street level POV. It's a type of story that could work occasionally and be fun to see every once in a while (how does NYC react when Galactus shows up? Or when Namor and Atlantic attack? etc).

    Of course, I am partial to the Nocenti/JR Jr Daredevil run ;)

    And of course, unlike the Avengers and Fantastic Four, at least Daredevil is doing *something* ;)

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  2. While I am not a huge JR Jr fan, I like his work on Daredevil the best. Al Williamson was a great choice to ink him, and I like how open the drawings feel. The Nocenti issues and the Daredevil: Man Without Fear mini-series remain my favorite JR Jr comics.*

    Later issues with Typhoid Mary and Mephisto (lizard-like Mephisto is a great design) are visual standouts, along with a stand-alone issue featuring Blob and Pyro.

    - Mike Loughlin

    * also, the Amalgam one-shot Thorion of the Asgods. He did a great job channeling Kirby while retaining his signature style.

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  3. So is this where Blam got his out-of-nowhere idea of Freedom Force being led by U.S.Agent?(!) I didn't know they had same bosses. Someone's political intrigues must have sidelined Val Cooper's plans of a super team answerable only for the White House a bit, I see.

    Yeah, no. They would eat him alive. Blob badmouths him freely while being sure to be very far away from Mystique before being gleeful of the X-Men's demise.

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  4. @wwk5d" Also, isn't the Blob's reaction a bit too...gleeful at the X-men's demise? Especially considering how it all played out during the X-men FOTM issue.

    A little, yeah. I chalk it up to Blob being the most thoroughly villainous Freedom Forcer, and the one with the longest history with the team.

    Famine doesn't fire energy beams for her power to work, but she doesn't have to touch her victims either. I think you're confusing her with Pestilence.

    Yeah, you're right - I am conflating her with Pestilence. She doesn't need to touch her victims, but at the same time, she doesn't really shoot green beams of energy anywhere else.

    @Mike: Later issues with Typhoid Mary and Mephisto (lizard-like Mephisto is a great design) are visual standouts, along with a stand-alone issue featuring Blob and Pyro.

    That Blob/Pyro issue is one of the few Nocenti DD issues I've read, and I'm considering doing a post on it just because the art is so great.

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  5. I had a nagging feeling about something and finally it broke through what it was: with the first X-overs there always was non-X-family tie-ins. Thor with Mutant Massacre, these here with FotM and Inferno too had Spider-Man at least.

    Partly to be explained by common creators such as Simonson and Nocenti, I'm sure, but it's funny that just around the X-title X-pansion they would drop off this means of cross-promotion stating from X-tintion Agenda. Of course the formula changed too from interweaving stand-alone story archs to chapter-based hopping from one title to another with one major story arch.

    In hindsight it may not have been such a good move to first force the X-fans with limited resources to drop buying non-X-titles to be able to catch all the yearly X-overs and then see them drop the whole X-line too because it's still too much for them.

    It's in a way like the X-family are starting to more and more live in their own pocket universe until it all culminates into Age of Apocalypse where they really are living in their own pocket universe and the Onslaught business is some sort of horrid realization what they have done and they put everyone else into a pocket universe while the X-Men stay in the main world.

    For someone coming from the eighties with Casket of Ancient Winters and Secret Wars and all the awesome shared universe stuff it's like being put in a cage and having your living heart ripped out of your chest in the best eighties fashion.

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  6. I'm a huge fan of Mark Gruenwald's Captain America. I've read all hundred-plus issues three times each, over the years (and not when they were first coming out -- I collected them all when I was in college, circa 2000 or so). You're right, though, that this issue doesn't really have all that much to do with "Fall of the Mutants". It's just a generic action story using the event as an impetus. But as part of the "Captain America No More" story, it's a pretty integral chapter -- again as you stated.

    P.S.: For those who care, Marvel collected the full "Cap No More" storyline in a nice thick trade paperback a few years ago, titled Captain America: The Captain. Good stuff.

    This Daredevil issue, on the other hand, I've only read once. The artwork is fantastic and the story is one of the less "out there" Nocenti issues I've read, so I actually enjoyed it.

    Teemu -- You're probably right that Freedom Force would eat Walker alive at this point in his career. Or, also a possibility at this point -- they'd drive him so far that he'd fly into an irrational rage and break Pyro's neck or something. But the U.S.Agent of a few years later, with some Avengers experience under his belt, could make a decent leader for the group. Of course, by the time that happens, Freedom Force will have ceased to exist, so it's kind of a moot point.

    I've wondered for some time -- does Marvel own a trademark on the name "Freedom Force"? Because I feel like a monthly series starring some patriotic heroes under that title could be a lot of fun. Cap is too busy with the Avengers, and we know he doesn't want to answer to the government anyway, but why not a Freedom Force series starring the likes of U.S.Agent, Jack Flagg, Free Spirit, maybe a new Superpatriot, and perhaps even Crimson Commando or something? I'd read it!

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  7. For that matter, I'm surprised there was never a Claremont-penned Freedom Force limited series in the Shooter days. Marvel pumped out a lot of mini-series under the X-Men banner in the mid-eighties, as we've seen right here. This seems like it would've been a no-brainer, and probably better conceived than a lot of those other minis..

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  8. @Teemu: Of course the formula changed too from interweaving stand-alone story archs to chapter-based hopping from one title to another with one major story arch.

    That's part of it, at least at first, but by the mid 90s all of Marvel had been split up an isolated into little "houses", so you had the X-Books doing their thing, the Avengers theirs, all the Ghost Rider/occult/horror books, etc, with an EiC in charge of each group rather than the whole universe.

    The X-Men certainly started that trend, but they weren't the only ones who embraced it by the end.

    @Matt: Marvel collected the full "Cap No More" storyline in a nice thick trade paperback a few years ago

    Wow, they crammed the whole 18 odd issues into one volume? Good for them. That must be hefty. I may have to check it out, just to have the whole storyline on my shelf in one book.

    but why not a Freedom Force series starring the likes of U.S.Agent, Jack Flagg, Free Spirit, maybe a new Superpatriot, and perhaps even Crimson Commando or something? I'd read it!

    Me too. Though last I saw, US Agent was in a wheelchair and missing hand (he was, like, the assistant warden on the Raft under Luke Cage during Cage's time running the Thunderbolts, which were headquartered on the Raft).

    For that matter, I'm surprised there was never a Claremont-penned Freedom Force limited series in the Shooter days.

    Or the DeFalco days, for that matter. He certainly wasn't shy about having the X-office pump out ancillary product.

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  9. @Matt: I've wondered for some time -- does Marvel own a trademark on the name "Freedom Force"? Because I feel like a monthly series starring some patriotic heroes under that title could be a lot of fun.

    I have always found it nothing short of awesome that such an obvious patriotic team name was first (?) appropriated by CC for a bunch of former villains reformed for selfish reasons and mostly on surface only. It's like a premeditated warning for us today's people to not buy every name-oriented propaganda they try to serve for you in name of freedom and liberation.

    (well technically not first, there seems to be an animated show from the 70s)

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  10. My first Cap issue was actually that issue where John Walker Cap teams up with Freedom Force against those obscure mutants from an earlier Cap annual. (Actually "teams up" is probably the wrong term, since FF don't do much of anything.) I thought it was awesome. I'd like to one day read the whole Gruenwald Cap run, especially the "Cap No More" thing.

    It's one of those runs I'd have read long before now if I had a bigger "back-issue hunt" budget.

    "dnd Nocenti lays the nuclear war panic on perhaps a bit too thick ..."

    Probably. That was her thing back then. :)

    Although to be fair, it was in the air back then. ("The air" in this case defined as "superhero comics.") Alan Moore stuff from the 80s is saturated with similar paranoia, and if nothing else, Nocenti could certainly do far worse than to share a preoccupation with Alan Moore ...


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  11. You're scaring me, Jason. The first Cap issue I ever owned was the other one where Walker fights the Resistants. It was about three or four issues prior to the one you're talking about.

    I didn't get into the series as a regular reader until the Mark Waid era, though as I mentioned, I eventually went back and acquired every Gruenwald issue. If you ever get around to it, I strongly recommend that run. It's very good from the beginning up through 350, stays strong through 400, and then drops somewhat -- but remains entertaining -- the rest of the way up through 443.

    There are certainly some low points -- "Cap-Wolf" of course comes to mind, but even earlier on there are duds -- but taken altogether, it's one of my very favorite comic book runs.

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  12. @wwk5d: // A whole [lot] of potential storytelling in that set-up that just wasn't tapped as much as it should have been. //

    Yup.

    @Teemu: // So is this where Blam got his out-of-nowhere idea of Freedom Force being led by U.S.Agent?(!) //

    Hey, I was picking up practically zero Marvel at this point and until now haven't gone back to read much if anything from the period in retrospect. I didn't peek ahead in my read-along, either, as evidenced by how I placed U.S. Agent a little too early.

    @Matt: // [D]oes Marvel own a trademark on the name "Freedom Force"? //

    There was, as Teemu parenthetically pointed out, a short-lived animated Freedom Force segment circa 1978 in Filmation's Tarzan and the Super 7 and later iterations, made up of the formerly live-action Isis and other myth/legend-based heroes. Neither Marvel nor whomever owns the Filmation library has done enough with the name to keep a claim on the trademark active, most likely, so Marvel should be clear to use it on a project. You'd think a Freedom Force series would've been a no-brainer during the Fantastic Force and Force Works era.

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  13. // The end result is a great depiction of what a street level hero like Daredevil would be doing in the midst of this story, helped along by absolutely gorgeous John Romita Jr. art. //

    I do like Romita's art much better here (and later) than in X-Men. Credit both evolution to a style more my taste and inker Al Williamson for that. You're right that Nocenti goes maybe a bit melodramatic, but for the time I think it's pretty much spot on in terms of the sophistication level that younger readers would eat up and older readers would accept; I can tell you, too, that the threat of nuclear attack was still all too believable as a knee-jerk paranoia reaction.

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  14. @Blam: Hey, I was picking up practically zero Marvel at this point and until now haven't gone back to read much if anything from the period in retrospect. I didn't peek ahead in my read-along, either, as evidenced by how I placed U.S. Agent a little too early.

    And I'll emphasize, that was a disbelieving questionette rather than accusation of any sort. I just couldn't help mentioning it now that U.S.Agent and FF were introduced to each other as out-of-nowhere as you bringing him up recently in relation to FF was.

    And even then the possibility of U.S.Agent leading FF would have been a good call, I had no idea they were controlled by the same agency. Not that I have even seen U.S.Agent anywhere really, only once when Wasp was commenting on him wearing "Captain America's old uniform". I thought Cap had pretty nice uniform back in the day, but thought that the said day was during the war or sometime in the sixties along with the triangular shield, and not in 1988.

    Other than that, don't you guys feel this Captain not-America is kind of re-warmed Nomad thing?

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  15. @Jason: Although to be fair, it was in the air back then.

    Yeah, I have no issue with her using nuclear panic in the story - it fits the times, both within the context of comics and the world at large. And I'm not even sure she *does* lay it on too thick - which is why I couched myself with a "perhaps". The thought just occurred to me by the end of the story, but I wasn't sure if she was laying it on too thick or not. But I figured it was worth mentioning that I at least questioned whether it was too much.

    @Blam: You're right that Nocenti goes maybe a bit melodramatic, but for the time I think it's pretty much spot on in terms of the sophistication level that younger readers would eat up and older readers would accept

    It probably does strike that balance just right, which for a superhero comic in 1987, is right where it should be.

    @Teemu: Other than that, don't you guys feel this Captain not-America is kind of re-warmed Nomad thing?

    It could just be my increased familiarity/affection for the latter, but I feel like "The Captain" is less a re-warmed Nomad than that "Nomad" is a less-developed warm-up for "The Captain".

    There's nothing wrong with "Nomad", but I feel like "The Captain" commits to the idea of Steve giving up the Cap identity more fully and does more with it.

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  16. "You're scaring me, Jason. The first Cap issue I ever owned was the other one where Walker fights the Resistants. It was about three or four issues prior to the one you're talking about."

    Well, why is that scary? Embrace the coincidences! We're like arch enemies who are actually mirror images of each other!

    "The thought just occurred to me by the end of the story, but I wasn't sure if she was laying it on too thick or not. But I figured it was worth mentioning that I at least questioned whether it was too much."

    For sure. You were, as always, eminently reasonable. But having read more Nocenti DD than you, I know that she hits the nuclear paranoia thing hard in more than just this issue. So I was kind of pre-emptively defending her, for if the day comes that you ever read more of her run. :)

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  17. @Jason: Although to be fair, it was in the air back then. ("The air" in this case defined as "superhero comics.") Alan Moore stuff from the 80s is saturated with similar paranoia, and if nothing else, Nocenti could certainly do far worse than to share a preoccupation with Alan Moore ...

    Actually I'd like to hear what you mean by paranoia and in what Alan Moore's works.

    Because, at least in Watchmen the imminent nuclear holocaust isn't in the least a paranoid illusion but in every sense totally real international tension kicking in from the in-story developments and a genuine problem Ozymandias sets out to solve.

    And, I just have to add, Dr. Manhattan choosing to leave the world all of the sudden and the repercussions of such an international game-changer and the almost-touchable change in the everyday atmosphere suddenly feel all too real for someone hailing from the East European Timezone of 2014 with the Crimean situation happening. Not in the nuclear holocaust sort of way perhaps but the international status quo grinding to other shift definitely.

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  18. Oh, right... if we are talking about the real world nuclear fears sieving into the comic books of the era then of course Watchmen is the prime example. Not unlike when in the early sixties everyone in Marvel Universe were fighting alternatively Marsians and Marxians.

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  19. Jason -- "We're like arch enemies who are actually mirror images of each other!"

    I call dibs on being the one who turns out not to be a clone.

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  20. I was not taking offense, Teemu. We're cool.

    @Teemu: // [D]on't you guys feel this Captain not-America is kind of re-warmed Nomad thing? //

    @Teebore: // It could just be my increased familiarity/affection for the latter, but I feel like "The Captain" is less a re-warmed Nomad than that "Nomad" is a less-developed warm-up for "The Captain". //

    Huh.

    First, I think Teebore's bias is showing — which is totally natural. Me arguing the point is probably my age bias showing, too, although the argument has the inherent benefit of the Nomad storyline coming first.

    Second, however, I think they're actually different, so I'm not simply agreeing with Teemu's point. "Nomad" ("Man without a Country") was Steve Rogers dropping the Captain America identity after becoming disillusioned with the United States government given the whole "Secret Empire" deal. I haven't read that run in a while, but I don't recall there being a great distinction drawn between government corruption and the uncorrupted (if perhaps also unattainable in perfect form) purity of the American Dream itself, which I'm pretty sure was a core point of the later storyline. "The Captain" is Rogers' determination to continue being Captain America in form and mission if not in actual name when the government asserts its ownership of "Captain America". He doesn't stop believing in the ideal of what Captain America represents; he's just unwilling to wear the uniform if there are strings attached in terms of specific policy. "Nomad" is something that Steve did, forsaking however briefly the role of Captain America, whereas "The Captain" was (a reaction to) something done to him, the United States giving him an ultimatum and him choosing not to be a pawn.

    The original Nomad storyline lasted about four issues and I don't think it spilled outside Captain America the series. It did have a new Captain America, kind-of, but he was just a guy who wanted to take up the identity and not someone installed by the government, plus which he didn't last long. The assumption by John Walker of the Captain America mantle and Steve Rogers' adoption of the just-plain-Captain identity spanned over a year and I think reverberated in the Avengers titles. I haven't ever read all of that run, though, just pieces.

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  21. Blam, thank you for filling me in about the thematical difference between Nomad and the Captain identities.

    I haven't read any of the actual stories but I've let myself be told that as a solution for his temporary disillusionment in the Nomad arch Cap came to realize that even if the government of USA occasionally was up to no good, he can still go on as Captain America to embody the American ideals.

    So, now it feels kind of obvious really that the Captain identity is a direct follow-up from this Nomad-era realization and this time, already having thought it through once, he barely misses a beat with his heroics and alters his identity only barely enough to avoid a trademark infringement.

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  22. Aaand now reading it again it looks like I completely missed Blam's point.

    Blam: I don't recall there being a great distinction drawn between government corruption and the uncorrupted (if perhaps also unattainable in perfect form) purity of the American Dream itself, which I'm pretty sure was a core point of the later storyline.

    According to Wikipedia article on Nomad: "At the conclusion of Captain America #184 (April 1975) Rogers returns to the role of Captain America when he realizes that he could champion America's ideals without blindly supporting its government."

    This is likely where I got everything I know about Nomad. And what makes me think it's vaguely possible that Steve sowed him the alternate uniform soon afterwards, just in case.

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  23. "While I am not a huge JR Jr fan, I like his work on Daredevil the best. Al Williamson was a great choice to ink him,"

    They are great together. Williamson actually inked JRJr. on a couple of X-Men issues too (202 and 203, the big Secret Wars 2 tie-in issues). I think those look great as well.

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