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Captain America #319: Review

Jul 1986
Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary

Story Name:

Overkill

Review & Comments

Rating:
5 stars

Captain America #319 Review by (February 23, 2012)
Review: The story arc takes off with this issue, as Cap is now hunting Scourge and he is formally introduced to Diamondback who would go on to play a more prominent role in the series. Diamond was always a bit of a one-note character and that note appeared from the very beginning, lusty and flirtatious, she was willing from the start to abandon a life of crime for a hunky hero. But she’s fun; it is embarrassing to see how artist Paul Neary seems to go out of his way to emphasize her breasts—a major selling point for horny adolescents of all ages but still unnecessary. The issue climaxes in the most shocking episode of mass murder in a Marvel comic until Civil War, as Scourge mows down a roomful of third-rate villains in a very effective sequence. Scourge isn’t playing around.

Comments: The villains killed by Scourge are Firebrand, Steeplejack, Shellshock, Mind-Wave, Cyclone, Ringer, Hellrazor, the Grappler, Rapier, Turner D. Century, Jaguar, the Vamp, Mirage, Bird-Man, the Hijacker, Commander Kraken, the Cheetah, and Letha. Only the Vamp was a Cap villain, first appearing in CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) 217-230 (and INCREDIBLE HULK #232). In the miniseries LETHAL FOES OF SPIDER-MAN it is revealed that Ringer survived his injuries and was rebuilt as a cyborg called Strikeback. In PUNISHER (2009) #5 many Scourge victims are raised from the dead by the Hood, using the power of Dormammu, including Death Adder, Steeplejack, Cyclone, Turner D. Century, Mirage, Bird-Man, the Hijacker, the Cheetah, and Letha. Brief cameos by Ringmaster and A.I.M. The Trapster appears in a flashback.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #319 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

On the streets of Cleveland, Captain America defeats the villainous Blacklash after a short scuffle. The baddie was surprised to see Cap away from New York, and Cap is equally nonplussed to find the whip-wielding assassin robbing jewelry stores in Ohio. Blacklash tells Cap about the Scourge of the Underworld, the mysterious vigilante who is murdering costumed criminals. Cap wonders if this is the same gunman who tried to kill the Constrictor in his presence some time ago (issue #311)….

At the headquarters of the Serpent Society, the leader Sidewinder suddenly teleports in, bearing the body of Death Adder, killed by Scourge last issue. He assembles the members of the group and begins to coordinate an effort to track down and capture the mad vigilante….

At the Bar with No Name, the criminal hangout in Ohio, Gary (Firebrand) Gilbert continues to invite costumed crooks to a meeting about organizing a similar effort to stop their mutual enemy….

Meanwhile, Steve Rogers does some research on the killer and comes up with a lead. As Captain America, he visits a mental hospital in Indiana, to check up on vigilante murderer Greg Salinger, the second Foolkiller. After discovering quite quickly that Salinger is raving and incoherent, not to mention securely confined, he leaves. Cap notices someone watching him from concealment. He spies a rope up to the roof and yanks on it, bringing Diamondback of the Serpent Society falling into his arms. She introduces herself and explains that they are on the same mission. She flirts openly with the hero while suggesting they work together to catch Scourge. As they take off in her ship, she gives a short account of her life: urban delinquent who turned to a life of crime after her beloved brother was shot by police during a robbery, she devised a costume and obtained throwing diamonds from the Trapster and joined up with the Serpents. Now she puts the ship into a crash dive and drops the ignition key down the front of her outfit and challenges Cap to find it in time. Cap refuses and also declines a deal. She apologizes and lands the craft to let Cap off. As she is chasing him through a cornfield attempting to persuade him to reconsider teaming up, she is shot by an unseen assailant. Cap tackles the gunman, who turns out to be a farmer who thought they were being invaded by Martians. Cap takes the wounded Diamondback to a hospital….

Saturday night at the Bar with No Name, many costumed criminals arrive for Gary Gilbert’s meeting. High-tech security devices are in place to ensure that none of the guests are Scourge in disguise. The meeting comes to order and Gilbert outlines the background and m.o. of their quarry and asks for suggestions. As discussion erupts from the floor, Jake the bartender draws a pair of automatic weapons and sprays the room with bullets. Removing his mask, he shouts, "Justice is served!"


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


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

Plus: Blacklash, Diamondback (Rachel Leighton), Firebrand, Foolkiller II, Scourge (Scourge of the Underworld), Serpent Society, Sidewinder.