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Captain America #311: Review

Nov 1985
Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary

Story Name:

Working…

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Captain America #311 Review by (June 29, 2015)
Comments: First appearance of the Awesome Android without the Mad Thinker after having been abandoned by its master in ROM #14; he is next seen in AVENGERS #286-289 before returning in CAP #354 though that’s only a cameo in Machinesmith’s workshop. So far as I can tell, Kingpin never makes use of the Serpent Society’s services. First appearance of the Scourge of the Underworld in this title. The Marvel staffer Steve meets with is Mike Carlin.

Review: There are several things going on in this issue. The central tale, Cap vs. the Awesome Android, is exciting and imaginative; for a change we get to see Cap interacting with ordinary citizens and he is every bit the humble but admirable hero. The secondary plot, the Serpent Society, continues to lay ground for a powerful villains organization to provide several stories’ worth of plots and sets up the story in issue #313. It’s the remaining one that falls flat: Steve Rogers drawing his own comic book? That’s an idea for a humor mag, one that specializes in the absurd and the meta. Here it just comes out a heavy-handed satire. Drawing Captain America would not be an entry-level job. And come on, “the creative team hasn’t been portraying him right,” really? And the final gag, that Steve should play Cap in a movie? Stupid. I’m sure the Bullpen got a laugh out of it but for the average reader, er, no.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #311 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Captain America visits Frank “the Constrictor” Schlicting (badly beaten up by Anaconda last issue) in the hospital asking who did this to him. He refuses to talk. Cap leaves as a nurse comes in the room; Cap turns back to see the nurse about to shoot the patient with an enormous gun. He smashes her gun with his shield, setting the bed aflame, and she leaps through the window. Calling for attention to the wounded criminal, he pursues her but only finds an abandoned disguise in the alley….

 

Cap dresses in his civvies and as Steve Rogers, keeps his appointment at Marvel Comics and shows his portfolio to an editor; the exec is impressed and offers Steve the job of illustrating Captain America on the spot. Steve accepts and while the editor gets his notes on plots, Steve looks through some fan mail and finds a note from a boy asking Captain America to investigate a mystery….

 

At their headquarters, Sidewinder outlines to his newly-formed Serpent Society his plans to contact all of the major criminal organizations to offer their services. Later in the issue, we see Asp and Cottonmouth visiting the Kingpin and he is interested….

 

Steve gets to work drawing his own comic book but he can’t stop thinking about the boy’s letter so as Captain America he flies a Quinjet out to Mayfield, Ohio, to meet young Bobby Hutchinson. Bobby and his father lead Cap out to an abandoned barn where Bobby thinks someone—or something—is hiding. Cap enters the barn and is attacked by the Mad Thinker’s Awesome Android. Cap quickly discovers his giant foe is very fast and his hide is too resilient to easily damage. He dashes out to tell the Hutchinsons to be ready to call the Avengers; he then notices that the Android did not follow him outside. Figuring the monster is guarding something, Cap tricks it into smashing a hole in the barn floor—but a quick search reveals nothing out-of-the ordinary in the basement. He returns upstairs and the Android attacks again; Cap can’t make a dent in its rubbery hide and he is thrown through the barn wall—but instead of pursuing him, the Android covers up the hole. Cap realizes that the Android had been ordered to do nothing but keep out of sight; he orders the creature to stand down and it obeys. Its memory banks show us that in ROM #14, the Mad Thinker ordered it to get out of his sight until he came for it. Cap returns to the Hutchinsons to tell them that there is no cause for alarm—but to call the Avengers if anyone goes into the barn. Cap then returns to New York….

 

Epilogue: Serpent Society’s members Bushmaster and Diamondback visit A.I.M. headquarters where the organization has a task for them to undertake: locating and assassinating their former leader MODOK….


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Paul Neary
Dennis Janke
Ken Feduniewicz
Paul Neary (Cover Penciler)
Joe Rubinstein (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

Plus: A.I.M., Anaconda, Asp.