Captain America: the Movie Special #1: Review

May 1992
Stan Lee, Bob Hall

Story Name:

Captain America!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America: the Movie Special #1 Review by (March 12, 2019)

Review: Comic book version of the notorious low-budget Cap movie improves the proceedings somewhat. While they can’t change the story—the Red Skull is still Italian—they can make Captain America a more convincing action hero with the magic of ink. Thus the action scenes are much improved and the story is better paced and with a more meaningful ending: the Red Skull finds psychological closure of sort rather than just being killed outright by Cap. The story is a bit streamlined and some characters have different names, likely reflecting an early draft of the script. One interesting addition: Cap has to be smuggled into Italy since he has obviously had no time to get a passport, a point glossed over in the film. While the film isn’t very good, the Marvel people went above the call of duty and made a readable, occasionally fun comic.

Comments: Adaptation of the 1990 straight-to-video CAPTAIN AMERICA movie starring Matt Salinger, Scott Paulin, and Kim Gillingham. Comic is printed on glossy paper and has no ads (except for other Marvel comics at the end), which explains the inflated (for 1992) price of $3.50.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America: the Movie Special #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Italy 1936: musical prodigy Tadzio de Santis is seized by soldiers and forced to watch as his family is slaughtered. He is taken to a lab where he is to be subjected to a new treatment designed to create a super-soldier. The inventor of the process, Dr. Maria Vasari, is horrified at the use her cure for disabilities is being put to, and flees the building. Tadzio is subjected to the treatment despite its horrific side effect….

Seven years later, with Dr. Vasari having gone to America, polio victim Steve Rogers is selected as the first subject for an improved version of the treatment. After a tearful farewell to his family and girlfriend Bernie, he accompanies Dr Vasari to a secret lab (the entrance is through a diner). The experiment proves to be a success but Nazi spy Ehrlich murders Dr Vasari and shoots Steve. The newly-minted hero hurls the assassin into an electrical grid; the killer dies and Vasari warns Steve about the Red Skull, revealing that the process dies with her. Steve heals quickly from the bullet wounds and dispatched by Col. Lewis to stop the Nazis from launching an experimental rocket at the US. As Captain America armed with a shield he parachutes into Italy and fight his way into the enemy base. There, he comes face-to-face with his evil counterpart Tadzio de Santis, now the horribly disfigured Red Skull. The two fight but the inexperienced Cap is no match for the villain and he is knocked out with poison gas. He awakens shackled to the rocket which the Red Skull informs him is about to be launched at Washington D.C. Cap grabs the villain’s wrist to take him along but as the rocket launches, the Skull’s hand is sliced off by the rocket’s tailfin. In Washington, young Nicky Kimball is taking early morning photos of the White House when he sees the rocket coming; Cap manages to kick the tailfins so that the missile swoops away from the landmark and heads off into the night. Eventually it crashes into the Alaskan ice where it remains hidden for fifty years….

In the 1990s Nicholas Kimball is now President of the United States, elected on an environmental platform. In Rome, the traitor Millhouse, now a Senator, leads a group of statesmen and international industrialists whose businesses are threatened by Kimball’s plans, in a meeting with Tadzio de Santis, the former Red Skull now altered by surgery to look human. The Skull proposes capturing Kimball on his upcoming conference visit to Rome and using a mind control implant to turn him into their tool. In Alaska a team of international scientists finds Cap frozen in the ice. The ice thaws enough for the revived Cap to break free, and, hearing German voices, he hurries out into the cold. Photos of the mystery man are published in the papers and President Kimball recognizes the figure he photographed atop the rocket all those decades ago. He contacts his old pal reporter Sam Kolawetz (the only other person to see the photos) and Sam goes north to hunt for Cap. But the news also comes to the attention of the Red Skull who dispatches his daughter Antonella on the same mission. The baddies find him first pursuing him on motorcycles but Sam arrives just in time to help Cap escape. As Sam tries to explain that Cap has been gone for fifty years and that they need his info on the Red Skull, now an international criminal, Cap isn’t buying it and takes the first opportunity to steal Sam’s truck and drive off. Sam is then waylaid by Antonella and a tracking device is planted on him. Cap makes his way back to his hometown where he finds a woman who he thinks is Bernie—but she’s not Bernie but her daughter Sharon. When he sees the now-aged Bernie he realizes he has been gone longer than he thought—and learns she waited or him as long as she could. Sharon helps Steve catch up on the history he’s missed and realizes it is his responsibility to defeat the Red Skull. Meanwhile, Sam studies the file on Operation: Rebirth and discovers Bernie’s address; he heads out there to find Cap but Antonella and her gang are able to follow him They kill Sam and Bernie but get no lead on Cap (idiots). When the news comes that President Kimball has been kidnapped by terrorists in Rome, Steve deduces it is the Red Skull and heads to the secret lab in search of Dr Vasari’s diary. Steve finds the diary and a wire recording which sends them to Italy where they are spotted and attacked by Antonella. They get away after a silly chase and end up with Antonella’s purse; from it they learn the location of the Red Skull’s fortress. They are followed to the castle, though, so while Sharon surrenders to Antonella to gain entry, Steve dons his Cap outfit and climbs the castle wall. Meanwhile, Kimball is about to undergo a brain implant which will allow the villain to control him and destroy his ecological agenda which threatens the Skull and his financial allies. The President escapes from his cell and, cornered, he throws himself from the battlements—only to be rescued by Captain America! Cap whups the baddies and squares off against his nemesis. After a violent ruckus the Red Skull escapes and makes his way to the highest battlement where he arms a nuclear weapon. During the standoff Cap plays back the tape of the attack on the de Santis family which causes the Red Skull to crack. He sits at his piano and completes the Chopin prelude he began all those years ago—and then he leaps to his (apparent) death. The ecological conference goes on to adopt the President’s proposals, and Steve and Sharon live happily ever after.

Bob Hall
Tom Morgan
Bob Sharen
Bob Hall (Cover Penciler)
Tom Morgan (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)

> Captain America: the Movie Special: Book info and issue index

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