Tuesday, September 23, 2014

REVEALED: The Secret Fate of Captain America!

Previously, we've seen Captain America raise the question of his past life as Steve Rogers, the memories of which he'd discovered had been lost. And so he began an investigation into his own life, the life he led before he ever signed on for the super-soldier experiment where he became Cap. The story set in motion by Roy Thomas and Don Glut initially begins with a woman named Veda, a plant who belongs to the criminal organization known as the Corporation, who gives Cap a link to his past in order to become closer to him; but Cap instead pursues a lead that takes him to Newfoundland.

Cap's decision is prompted by unanswered questions. If he plunged into the English Channel after the drone plane he and Bucky were trying to stop exploded, why did he tell the Avengers he struck the waters off of Newfoundland? And what exactly put him into suspended animation? Glut has Stan Lee's oversight in writing Cap's explanation to the Avengers from his first appearance in Avengers #4 to thank for the inconsistency regarding the site of the explosion--and up until now, there was the assumption that his super-soldier serum prevented him from being frozen to death in the ice that presumably preserved him. To Cap, something obviously doesn't add up.

In Newfoundland, Cap uncovers a Nazi spy from 1944, Lyle Dekker, whose cover then had been to work for a movie studio where Cap and Bucky were investigating sabotage. The pair's investigation led them to Dekker, who had invented a heat ray which would be delivered to the Red Skull. Dekker's plan was foiled, and he subsequently fell out of favor with the Skull--but, making a new beginning for himself in exile, Dekker would settle in Newfoundland and wait for the day when he would hopefully cross paths with Cap once again.

If you decide to read this story in its entirety, you'll thank me later for skipping over the rampage of the "Ameridroid." For now, it's Dekker's explanation to Cap regarding the gap in his memories which must hold our attention--because, by the time he's done, Captain America's encounter with Baron Zemo, which led to his being out of action for twenty years, will no longer have ended the way you thought it did.

We first learn that the explosion of the drone plane which resulted in Bucky's tragic death indeed happened just the way Cap remembers it. However, what Cap doesn't know at the time is that Dekker's spies are present to witness the event--and, thanks to their curiosity, they have quite the prize to deliver to "General" Dekker:

With Cap his captive, Dekker sets his U-boat's course for Newfoundland. But this development is missing one important element: where is Cap's shock and grief for his partner who has just been killed? We don't find a hint of it in this man; instead, Cap calmly buys time while his foe explains his master plan:

Cap manages to successfully make a break for it--but, while he may be a one-man army, he faces overwhelming odds here, and he realizes it's more important to escape with what he knows. In a way, it almost seems his flight to freedom mimics his previous encounter with a plane, thanks to Dekker's heat ray:

And so the true chain of events that led to Cap being put out of action is finally documented. It seems that when the Avengers found him, Cap only remembered the area where he plunged into the water, without connecting the dots to his battle with Zemo and wondering about the inconsistency in facts. We've seen the first step in the recovery of his memories--but next time, Cap will come full circle and learn of his family and childhood.  And for Cap, "full circle" will prove to have a shocking connotation.


david_b said...

I remember picking this up, a few years after I had stopped collecting comics (the initial run 1973-'75..).

But now that Sal was back on Cap, I was interested in trying it out again. I only ended up collecting the next 7-8 issues until I stopped again.

This 'giant Cap' was one of the stoooopidest ideas I had ever seen. Again, love Cap returning to a somewhat normal, post-Kirby comic, still missing Sam Wilson though and MORE importantly Steve Englehart. The writing was just uninteresting.

Basically, at that time, how can you top the 'Secret Empire' ramp-up...?

Comicsfan said...

David, I think I'm going to save the Ameridroid for a special occasion--though if you do see him again here, you'll know I've hit a dry spell!

Anonymous said...

What I always struggled with the 3.5 meter Ameridroid was trying to drag the full sized cardboard play set out of the garage when I wanted to play with it.

The Prowler (I smoke old stogies I have found short, but not too big around I'm a man of means, by no means).

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