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Captain America #285: Review

Sep 1983
J. M. DeMatteis, Sal Buscema

Story Name:

Letting Go

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Captain America #285 Review by (February 15, 2015)
Comments: See last issue’s comments section for more on the background of the Patriot/Jeff Mace. Porcupine was introduced as an Ant-Man foe in TALES TO ASTONISH #48 and will die heroically in CAP #315, a few years after this issue. The unusual Bullpen Bulletin page features a full-page picture by John Byrne of himself at his drawing board surrounded by all the Marvel characters he’s drawn.

Review: The cover says “Would ya believe—the Porcupine?” And no, I wouldn’t. He started out as an Ant-Man villain in the early sixties—and he deserved it. His problem here is that while DeMattis does his best to make him seem threatening (and almost succeeds), his costume looks like it’s soft and fluffy (“like something Liza Minnelli would wear” said my wife). And his defeat of Nomad doesn’t make me think he’s formidable, it convinces me that Jack Monroe isn’t cut out to be a hero. And we won’t mention the goofy witch doctor mask…. Not to worry, the characterization saves the issue as does the remarkable art by Sal Buscema and Kim DeMulder, along with the poignant tribute to the forgotten (by 1983) Patriot. And to this day Marvel has commendably restrained itself from resurrecting him. Rest in peace, Jeff.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #285 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Captain America races down a New York street, leaping through traffic, barely breaking stride as he foils a holdup. He arrives at a luxury apartment building and enters, puzzling new Nomad Jack Monroe, who had followed him. Jack is still questioning his fitness to be a hero when he spots a tiny flying spy device. Inside an apartment, Cap stands by the bedside to the dying Jeff Mace, WW2-era hero the Patriot and the third Captain America, whom he had met in the time-traveling adventure in ANNUAL #6. Having got what it was after, the spy gizmo departs and Nomad follows it. Nearby, at the secret lab of weapons designer Alex Gentry, the Porcupine, Gentry is offering to sell his spiky battle suits to the Secret Empire via viewscreen. The Empire agent is naturally skeptical so Gentry offers to demonstrate its effectiveness—by defeating Captain America. His spy-device returns followed by Nomad. The over-eager young hero is taken completely unawares by the goofy-looking villain’s abilities and he is easily defeated….


Later that evening, Steve Rogers and Bernie Rosenthal are settling down to a romantic moment when they are interrupted by friends Josh Cooper and Mike Farrel bearing pizza. Minutes later, a call comes for Steve from Jarvis, “It’s time” and Steve heads out as Cap for the hospital. He is intercepted by the Porcupine challenging him to a rooftop battle--and he hurls the unconscious Nomad at Cap. The Avenger breaks their fall then takes on the villain, distracted by his concern for his dying friend. Porcupine knocks Cap down with a laser-blast. Nomad is so enraged that he assaults the villain with everything he’s got before he goes down too. But it gave Cap time to recover and smash the villain though his only vulnerable part: his mask. Cap hastily explains that he needed the distraction Nomad provided—and it also got Jack to stop whining about himself….


Cap makes it to Jeff’s bedside and the old soldier dies clutching Cap’s hand.

Sal Buscema
Kim DeMulder
Bob Sharen
Mike Zeck (Cover Penciler)
John Beatty (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Edwin Jarvis)

Plus: Bernie Rosenthal, Josh Cooper, Mike Farrel, Nomad (Jack Monroe), Patriot (Jeff Mace), Porcupine (Alexander Gentry).

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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