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Captain America #346: Review

Oct 1988
Mark Gruenwald, Kieron Dwyer

Story Name:

Ambush!

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Captain America #346 Review by (June 15, 2013)
Review: It’s coming: John Walker is starting to crack under the strain of wielding the shield, and his parents’ brutal murder is pushing him over the edge. Just how far will be seen in the next issue which will touch off the next major crisis of the greatest of Cap arcs. The story contains a major foreshadowing of Civil War, with its mention of the Mutant Registration Act and a resistant movement, made more ironic by the involvement of Captain America.

Comments: Part fifteen of The Captain saga which will run until issue #350. The Captain (Steve Rogers) does not appear in this issue. Spoiler alert: the mysterious mastermind will soon be revealed to be the revived and re-bodied Red Skull (his first appearance in the new form). The Freedom Force, a team of mutant villains, co-opted by the government as heroes, consists of Mystique, Blob, Pyro, Destiny, Avalanche, Stonewall, Super Sabre, and Spiro. The Resistants are made up of Meteorite, Quill, Mist Mistress, Crucible, Think-Tank (formerly Mentallo), Occult, and Paralyzer.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #346 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

After his violent rage-fueled action against the Watchdogs last issue, Captain America (John Walker) is in a jail cell in Custer’s Grove, Georgia. He receives a visit from Battle Star and his Commission handler Adrian Sammish. Walker seems catatonic until Battle Star mention his parents; then, like a robot, he recites the events of the last issue, how his parents were kidnapped and murdered by the vigilante group and how he took revenge. Sammish bails him out of jail but threatens him with dire consequences.

At Fort George B. Meade, the captive D-Man is also being interrogated by the authorities in connection with the Steve Rogers, the rogue former Captain America….

Near the prison for super-human criminals in Colorado known as The Vault, members of the mutant terrorist group called the Resistants are flying in on a large levitating rock. They attack a prison transport and rescue one of the convicts, Hector Flumm, once known as Mentallo….

Later, Director Douglas Rockwell of the Commission on Superhuman Affairs calls Walker on the carpet and denounces him for being a public embarrassment, suspends him for the job, and orders him out. Rockwell then receives a video message from his true employer, a handsome aristocratic man who keeps to the shadows, delivering his real orders. The mystery villain counsels him to keep John Walker as Captain America at all costs…and orders him to hire the Taskmaster….

Stopping by to check on the disgraced John, Lemar/Battle Star heads to a meeting of the Freedom Force, a team of former mutant criminals now co-opted into serving the government. The untrustworthy team has been assigned to take down the Resistants, a mutant terrorist group who are rebelling against the Mutant Registration Act. Adrian Sammish outlines a plan: the group will stage a mock trial for a notorious mutant, prompting the Resistant to stage a rescue—and the team will spring a trap. Sammish announces that Captain America will not be working with them, and selects Quicksilver (as impersonated by the shape-shifting Mystique) as the defendant. Afterward, Rockwell, in accord with the orders received from his mysterious overlord, reinstates John to his role as Captain American and assigns him to back-up the Freedom Force…..

At the remote camp of the Resistants, new member Marvin Flumm is brought up to speed on the aims of the rebel faction. Redubbing himself Think-Tank, Flumm assumes command of the group….

The next day, in Carson City Nevada, the Force begins their mock trial and sure enough, the place is invaded by the Resistants. They bring a huge rock down on the courthouse and only Destiny’s precognition warns them in time. Captain America swings into action, taking on the meteorite platform full of enemies single-handedly—and holding up his end very nicely. Cap’s superior strategy and ruthless tactics lead to a quick victory, ending with his savage beating of Think-Tank. Valerie Cooper appears and criticizes Cap’s handling of the issue: the purpose was to allow some of them to get away so they could be traced to their hideout. Instead, Cap clobbered them all. As they leave, Lemar wants to know why Cap reacted as he did. The answer: "My parents’ funeral was today. I missed it so I could do this."



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


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)

Plus: Battle Star, Blob, Captain America (John Walker), Commission on Superhuman Affairs, D-Man (Demolition Man), Freedom Force, Mystique, Resistants, Valerie Cooper.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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