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Captain America #288: Review

Dec 1983
J. M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck

Story Name:


Review & Comments

2 stars

Captain America #288 Review by (May 10, 2010)
Review: The third issue of the tetralogy introduces us to several new characters and throws in enough plot for a twelve issue series, so the reader ends up drowning in a sea of heavy exposition. Couldn’t DeMatteis have spread his overly complicated story over the four issues a little more evenly? Big Question: why does Godwulf dress in a loin cloth when every other character is fully clothed?

Comments: Part three of a four-part story. The Deathlok future is designated Earth-7484. Thor and Wasp (with two hard to identify heroes) are seen being purged in flashback. Bernie’s sister Nancy was called Jeannie in issue 286. Buyer beware: the TPB CAPTAIN AMERICA : DEATHLOK LIVES contains only issues 286-288 and even then the material is edited and rearranged, with the Bernie and Nomad pages omitted.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #288 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Godwulf tells Captain America how this future came to pass: in 1983, Brand Corporation—a subsidiary of the sinister Roxxon—developed the Nth Projector, which could open holes to alternate dimensions. Godwulf was one of a team of commandos on Operation: Purge, using the projectors to send all America’s superheroes to their deaths in another world, paving the way for Roxxon to conquer the nation. The ensuing chaos led to a world war and a devastated America in which small pockets of humanity have survived. Godwulf introduces them to his Redeemers: Sage, Swashbuckler, Gentle Sam, Big Man, and Iron Butterfly. The immediate threat: Deathlok’s creator Harlan Ryker has rebuilt himself as a cyborg called Hellinger, who is scheming to use his army of mechanized super-soldiers to exterminate humanity and rule. He explains how he had hidden Deathlok in the past to keep him out of Ryker’s clutches and has now brought him back to serve as symbol to rally the humans to fight back. Cap appeals to the reluctant hero to remember his lost humanity that his clone died to recover. Cap volunteers to serve alongside Deathlok in the coming battle.

Interlude 1: At her parents’ house, Bernie is unable to sleep, frustrated that Steve’s life as Captain America has come between them. Sister Nancy advises her to go to bed, realizing she must really love this guy.

Interlude 2: Nomad spends the rest of the evening talking to Scarlet, the young woman he saved from robbers. She leans over and kisses him—and he passes out from the drug in her lipstick, as she prepares to carry out her orders.

Hellinger awaits, meditating on the weakness and futility of the "fleshlings," then the heroes begin their attack, flying aircraft in an assault on the villain’s base. Entering the complex they find themselves trapped in a maze, from which the Redeemers are whisked away two by two until only Cap and Deathlok remain to confront Hellinger. In his lair, the sinister overlord triggers his secret plan—and Deathlok shoot Cap in the back, as Hellinger has regained control over his creation’s computer brain. The wounded Cap is encouraged by the fact that Deathlok did not fire a fatal shot with his laser and appeals to him to remember the sacrifice of his clone. Deathlok slowly recalls his humanity as Luther Manning and blasts Hellinger apart with his laser, finally destroying the instrument panel that controls his mech servants. As the freed Redeemers gather, Deathlok volunteers to help rebuild the world. Captain America then expresses his gratitude, calling him Luther, not Deathlok.

Mike Zeck
John Beatty
Bob Sharen
Mike Zeck (Cover Penciler)
John Beatty (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

Plus: Bernie Rosenthal, Godwulf, Hellinger, Redeemers.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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