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Captain America #275: Review

Nov 1982
J. M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck

Story Name:

Yesterday's Shadows!

Review & Comments

5 stars

Captain America #275 Review by (January 11, 2012)
Review: So what is the appeal of Captain America? He an overgrown boy scout just like Superman though he gets more respect from readers by working harder for his heroic acts than the Man of Steel. I would say it’s because he wears the flag on his chest—that he symbolizes the best of the American ideal: freedom and responsibility. Now some writers (I won’t name names) who seem to hate America prefer to portray Cap as a dupe of a totally corrupt government but I say Cap at his best serves as a clear foil for those who would distort those ideals. Note how often Cap fights a warped patriotic type: 1950s Cap, John Walker Cap, the Secret Empire, the Watchdogs, Super-Patriot, Americop, and many others—in order to protect the true meaning of patriotism against those who distort it. In this issue Cap tackles the pernicious cancer of anti-Semitism but takes it one step further. He also teaches that those who would fight hate and injustice must not succumb to the temptation to use the same tactics, lest they become indistinguishable from their enemies, a lesson that needs to be heeded. Another nice thing to note is that Bernie Rosenthal is no idiot (unlike a certain blue-clad hero’s longtime reporter girlfriend): as soon as she sees and hears Captain America close up for the first time, she knows he’s Steve Rogers. Great Caesar’s ghost!

Comments: First appearance of the second Baron Zemo in his new identity (he previously appeared in issue #168 as Phoenix). Arnim Zola (glimpsed briefly) is later revealed to have been the shape-shifting Primus in disguise. Cameo by Peter Parker at Sam’s press conference. SHIELD Agent Gail Runciter, introduced in issue #268, would go on to be replaced by an evil LMD for several issues. Vermin first appeared in issue #272.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #275 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Captain America enters SHIELD headquarters through their secret hologram entrance. He meets with Agent Gail Runciter to find if they have learned anything about the doughlike creature he fought in issue #270 and to apologize for his rudeness to her in issue #268. While Runciter sits in on the assessment of the captured Vermin, Cap stops by to check on Michael, Arnie Roth’s friend who was injured in the adventure in #270 when his mind was forced into a robotic body.

Later, Steve Rogers is returning from grocery shopping with Bernie Rosenthal and Anna Kappelbaum when they see that the local synagogue has been defaced with a swastika on the front doors. They learn from the rabbi that the inside has been vandalized as well, with the Torah being stolen. This is the latest in a series of recent incidents against Jewish centers in the country and they may have been inspired by a planned neo-Nazi rally on Long Island. Bernie tells Steve there is a counter-demonstration being organized and that everyone from the building plans to be there….

Interlude One: A masked figure ponders a family portrait then vows that "Captain America must die!" [Spoiler: this is the first appearance of Baron Helmut Zemo, whose identity will not be revealed until a future issue.]

Interlude Two: Neo-Nazi leader Harry Todd whips his followers into a frenzy with a fountain of hateful rhetoric to prepare for the rally.

Interlude Three: Samuel Wilson A/K/A Cap’s partner the Falcon announces that he will be a candidate for Congress. Williams, a reporter from the Daily Bugle, aggressively questions Sam about his criminal background, expressing skepticism that a man can truly reform; Sam reacts angrily and the press conference is hastily concluded….

Later that week, Steve stops by an advertising agency to deliver some artwork but when he hears the manager make an anti-Semitic remark, he tears up his work and angrily storms out….

On the day of the Nazi rally, Steve is there at Robert Moses State Park with Bernie, Josh, Mike, and Mrs. Kappelbaum. Bernie introduces them to Sammy Bernstein, organizer of the anti-Nazi protest—and Bernie’s ex-husband. Steve and friends are somewhat taken aback by this discovery…. As the Nazis begin their hate-filled speeches, Steve and company are surprised to discover they only number a few…and that the protest group is actually inflating their importance by attracting the media’s attention to their rally. Sammy starts spouting anti-Nazi rhetoric, whipping his followers into a frenzy, and the supposedly peaceful demonstration becomes a violent clash between the two groups….

Elsewhere, the masked figure leaves off watching the televised rally to press a button, restoring Doughboy to life. The bloblike creature grows and bursts out of its tank at SHIELD HQ and smashes through the walls, picking up the freed Vermin in its wake. It crashes through into the room where Arnie is sitting with Michael….

At the rally, Steve takes advantage of the chaos to duck away and change into Captain America. He leaps on the stage where Sammy Bernstein and Harry Todd are locked in combat. Cap addresses the crowd to denounce both the Nazis and those who would adopt their hate tactics to oppose them. Harry and Sammy leap at Cap simultaneously and Cap swiftly steps to one side, allowing the two maniacs to fall on their faces. But Bernie, watching all this, has suddenly recognized that Steve Rogers is Captain America….

Mike Zeck
John Beatty
John Morelli
Mike Zeck (Cover Penciler)
John Beatty (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Baron Zemo
Baron Zemo

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)

Plus: Anna Kapplebaum, Arnie Roth, Bernie Rosenthal, Gail Runciter, Josh Cooper, Mike Farrel, Primus, Vermin.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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