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Captain America #333: Review

Sep 1987
Mark Gruenwald, Tom Morgan

Story Name:

The Replacement

Review & Comments

5 stars

Captain America #333 Review by (February 13, 2013)
Review: John Walker is chosen to be the new Captain America and we can already see he will have a rough time of it—but not how. Mark Gruenwald wisely focuses the issue on Walker, omitting Steve Rogers completely for the next several issues. This installment focuses on his surprise and insecurity over becoming an iconic hero and we feel for him, getting us on his side—until the final panel when he sells out his pals. Now the decision is still ambiguous: we know Ethan was no good for him but Gruenwald does not cast the rejection in a purely noble light, raising a question this early about Walker’s character. The various issues debated by the Commission are likewise laid out for us cleanly to pave the way for the ensuing story arc. The writing is exemplary and the art ably supports the tale in what is considered by many to be the all-time greatest Cap story.

Comments: Part two of The Captain saga which will run until issue #350. John Walker becomes Captain America with this issue. Steve Rogers does not appear in this issue. Possible candidates for the role as the “next Captain America” seen on the cover include the ones mentioned in the story (Super-Patriot, Nomad, Falcon, Nick Fury), plus some long shots (Wyatt Wingfoot, Punisher, Beast), the highly unlikely (Tony Stark), the impossible (Doctor Octopus and the Thing), and the utterly impossible (Marvel staffers Laura Hitchcock and Dawn Geiger) and, of course, Stan Lee.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #333 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The Commission on Superhuman Affairs debates their next move in the wake of Steve Rogers’ resignation as Captain America: General Haywerth wants to court-martial Rogers, while Henry Peter Gyrich would prefer to use him as a means of forcing the Avengers into line. Valerie Cooper persuades them that the next course of action should be to find a new Captain America, to cover up the fact that the original was forced out. Haywerth reports on two failed Super-Soldier experiments, Nuke (DAREDEVIL #233) and G.I. Max (CAPTAIN AMERICA #331). Other suggestions include Jack (Nomad) Monroe, Sam (the Falcon) Wilson, and Nick Fury but none are acceptable. Then Cooper brings up Super-Patriot, in the news for his victory over the Washington D.C. terrorist Warhead (last issue). As the vigilante hero is leaving the studio where he had appeared on a talk show, two FBI agents escort him to a meeting with Valerie Cooper. She asks for his background and he readily supplies it: he was born John Walker in Custer Grove, Georgia. His older bother Mike died heroically in Vietnam and John wished to emulate him and so was enhanced with super-strength by the Power Broker. He planned to enter Unlimited Class Wrestling until promoter Ethan Thurm persuaded him to become a patriotic costumed hero. As Super-Patriot he mainly did publicity appearances until the terrorist incident at the Washington Monument led him to a more active type of heroism. Cooper explains how they are looking for a replacement Captain America and offers him the position, contingent on a background check. Stunned, Walker accepts and goes home where he tells Ethan Thurm about it. The wily agent draws up a list of demands including perks for himself, jobs for the Buckies, percentage of merchandising, etc. Walker goes out jogging and phones Cap’s hotline asking for a meeting at the Lincoln Memorial the following evening. The next night, after waiting past the appointed time, Walker is attacked by a figure he assumes is Captain America—then by two others—they turn out to be the Buckies, Lemar Hoskins, Hector Lennox, and Jerome Johnson, who have heard the news from Ethan and have come to roughhouse with the newly appointed Captain America. And he assures them he will not leave them behind.

Two days later, Super-Patriot appears before the Commission on Superhuman Affairs, where he is told he has passed his background check and that the position of Captain America is his if he wants it. He readily agrees, and hands in Ethan’s list of requests. Valerie Cooper takes him off and has him suit up for the first time as Captain America and presents him with the shield. She then takes him for training, leaving him in the hands of three Freedom Force operatives—the pardoned Blob, Avalanche, and Pyro. The three ex-villains relish attacking a costumed hero and Walker has to think fast as the ground buckles and fireballs whoosh past his head. He hurls the shield and knocks out Pyro then rides a shockwave to clobber Avalanche, but he is unable to do anything against the massive Blob. Cooper intervenes before the new Cap can be injured. She then sends him to watch tapes of the original in action. After a grueling day, he returns home but is unable to tell Ethan whether they have accepted the deal.

Three days later, new Cap meets with the Commission, who tell him that he will have to drop Ethan Thurm as his manager, as well as two of the Buckies who failed their background checks. Cap readily agrees….

Tom Morgan
Dave Hunt
Ken Feduniewicz
Mike Zeck (Cover Penciler)
Bob McLeod (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Fred Dukes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(St. John Allerdyce)

Plus: Bucky (Lemar Hoskins), Captain America (John Walker), Commission on Superhuman Affairs, Ethan Thurm, Hector Lennox, Jerome Johnson, Super-Patriot, Valerie Cooper.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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