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Captain America #345: Review

Sep 1988
Mark Gruenwald, Kieron Dwyer

Story Name:


Review & Comments

5 stars

Captain America #345 Review by (June 8, 2013)
Review: Oh man, this is one brutal issue. As the split cover implies the story switches to the parallel decisions of the two Captains America. As Steve Rogers tries to do the right thing and suffer the consequences, John Walker rushes off on his own and this leads to tragedy. That John’s Walker’s maturity and stability were always in doubt, here he loses his sanity as well, setting up the long-brewing clash between Caps old and new. This issue was remarkable for its graphic depiction of violence—the Walkers being shot to pieces was a shocker in its day, all the better to put us in John Walker’s shoes. That it had already been surpassed by SIN CITY is pretty obvious (ask Hartigan) but for staid and mainstream Marvel this issue was a surprise, and if Walker’s half overshadows Steve’s half, don’t worry—issue #350 is coming.

Comments: Part fourteen of The Captain saga which will run until issue #350. The Watchdogs’ meeting place is named Simon’s Road House, after Cap co-creator Joe Simon.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #345 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In the aftermath of the Viper’s assault on Washington which turned even the President temporarily into a monster (issues #343-344), the head of the Commission on Superhuman Activities believes he has identified the red-white-and-black clad adventurer at the scene as Steve Rogers, the former Captain America. So they assign their new Cap, John Walker, the task of bringing him in. The Director believes that Rogers is still in the Washington area, planning to rescue his teammates who are currently in custody (Nomad, D-Man, and Diamondback). As Walker talks this over with his partner Battle Star, he expresses misgivings about having to face a living legend, while Battle Star would prefer to track down the mutant rebel group the Resistants who had defeated them earlier (issue #343)...

Meanwhile at the Lincoln Memorial, Steve Cap thanks Falcon for his aid as the latter must now hurry back to Harlem to continue his own mission. Steve sets out to find where his other companions are being held….

In Custer’s Grove, Georgia, Caleb and Emily Walker, John’s parents, have been hounded by the media since Left- and Right-Winger disclosed on television that their son was the new Captain America. The weary Walkers call the sheriff to clear the reporters off their property—but then they are taken hostage by the right-wing terrorists, the Watchdogs, who have their own vendetta against Captain America…

In the DC jail, Sidewinder teleports in, bringing Vagabond to visit the real Cap’s teammates. The Serpent leader carries Diamondback to freedom but when he returns, D-Man refuses to escape, since Cap would face the consequences of his actions. Vagabond agrees with him, so it is only the sneering Nomad who is brought out of the prison by Sidewinder. Some time later, Steve is contacted by Jack who meets him in a bar, drunkenly lamenting his romantic life and demanding that Cap go rescue them. Instead, Steve tells him he is planning to surrender to the Commission and resolve their problems through legal channels. The disgusted Nomad walks out. The following day, in his Captain uniform, Steve gives himself up to the authorities and the Director tells him he will be brought up on a host of charges including sedition….

Earlier, when John Walker learned his parent shad been kidnapped, he deserted from a government mission in order to rescue them. Returning to his parents’ home in Georgia, he receives a message from the Watchdogs to meet him at a road house. He walks into the obvious trap and allows himself to be taken prisoner. He plays along and they arrive at an old barn where John is strung up by a noose dangling from the ceiling beam. Still denying his identity, John asks to see that the Walkers are unharmed; they give away his identity by their surprised outburst. As the Watchdogs put on the semblance of a formal proceeding, Walker leaps off the high crate, snaps the bonds on his wrists and rips the rope loose from the beam. He battles his enemies and they respond by opening fire. In the melee, the Walkers are gunned down. At the sight of his parents’ deaths, Walker goes berserk, savagely beating and killing his foes, even spearing a man with a pitchfork. When all is quiet he surveys the carnage and sinks to his knees and cradles his parents’ lifeless forms in his arms. His sanity gone, assures them that everything will be all right now…

Kieron Dwyer
Al Milgrom
Bob Sharen
Ron Frenz (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Rachel Leighton)

(Sam Wilson)

Plus: Battle Star, Captain America (John Walker), Commission on Superhuman Affairs, D-Man (Demolition Man), Nomad (Jack Monroe), Sidewinder, Vagabond (Priscilla Lyons), Watchdogs.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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