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Captain America #227: Review

Nov 1978
Roger McKenzie, Sal Buscema

Story Name:

This Deadly Gauntlet!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America #227 Review by (October 3, 2011)
Review: Nice little wrap-up to a two-part tale. The highlight? The Red Skull’s plan is so silly that (unlike in far too many comics) the writers uses it to fake us out from the villain’s real scheme, discrediting Cap. That makes more sense than one would have expected from a 70s Marvel comic and, while the dumb version would have produced an entertaining issue, this dollop of cleverness was just the icing on the cake.

Comments: Conclusion of a two-part story. You would think that a device that can turn anyone into surrogate Red Skulls much faster and easier than Dr. Doom can create Doombots would be a regular part of the villain’s plans but no….


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #227 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The rejuvenated Captain America is aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier with every agent aboard having been turned into a surrogate Red Skull, so the craft is now a floating death trap. Cap must run a deadly gauntlet of Red Skulls who are gunning for him with every weapon in the SHIELD arsenal. Cap manages to crash through the enemy lines by strength and willpower. Meanwhile, the lead Skull awaits the inevitable confrontation with his long-time foe…but he has a hole card: the captive Nick Fury under a magnifying prism, ready to burn the SHIELD leader to a crisp when the sun rises….

Cap thinks back to how this started: he had just defeated the berserk training robot Impact (last issue) when the Red Skulls showed him their prisoner Nick Fury. Cap tried to rescue his pal but it was Fury himself who dealt Cap the knockout blow from behind. When he awoke, the Red Skull outlined his plan to have his satellite change everyone on Earth into another Red Skull thus ushering in the Fourth Reich. The villain offered Cap a challenge: find him and wrest the control device from him and the world will be saved. Meanwhile, Cap was dodging the ship’s laser defenses which the Skull had activated. Cap maneuvered the lasers into blowing a hole in the locked door then he was out of there….

Now Cap comes face-to-face with his enemy (whom he realizes is an impostor like all the other Skulls aboard) and the Skull fires at him—but Cap has hidden his shield under his shirt and kayos the baddie…until the next Skull arrives to produce the control unit. Cap throws his shield—but it is trapped in a magnetic field, just as the sun rises and the heat begins to burn Nick Fury. Fury pleads for help as Cap has a flashback to Bucky’s death and watches helplessly as Nick Fury dies. The Red Skull mocks Cap until Cap punches him…but declines to fight him any further. For Cap has divined the secret to this plan. First he uses the control unit to destroy the satellite then lists the truths he has realized: a) had the villain really had the power to turn the world into an army of Red Skulls he would have done it already instead of playing games; b) likewise he would have killed Cap instead of making him run this gauntlet; therefore c) the Skull’s real purpose was to trick Cap into killing him, thus discrediting the hero…as the Red Skull turns back into the brainwashed Nick Fury. Cap knew the real Fury would never have cracked under pressure that easily but he would have sweated under the heat beam…so the captive "Nick" was really a Life Model Decoy.

Sal Buscema
John Tartaglione
George Roussos
Ron Wilson (Cover Penciler)
Dan Green (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


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