Comic Browser:

#345
#346
#347
#348
#349
#350
#351
#352
#353
#354
#355
#356
#357
#358
#359
#360
#361
#362
#363
#364
#365
#366
#367
#368
Selector

Captain America #350: Review

Feb 1989
Mark Gruenwald, Kieron Dwyer

Story Name:

Seeing Red

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Captain America #350 Review by (July 20, 2013)
Review: And the greatest of all Captain America epics comes to an end on a suitable note viz. Steve Rogers wearing the colors once more. The ending strikes the only false note, with Steve claiming that he can uphold the nation’s ideals without the uniform. Er, no he can’t—witness all the trouble he was having as an anonymous superhero, even in this issue. And nothing in Walker’s final appeal (which is merely “if you don’t take the job some loser will”) looks like it would change his mind, yet it does. The highlight is not one, not two, but three Captain Americas (or is that Captains America?) doing their acrobatic deeds—Steve, John, and the Red Skull in his cloned Steve body! The Skull’s surprise appearance (well, if you didn’t see “the dramatic return of the RED SKULL!” on the cover) is handled very well and updating his schemes for the modern era works out nicely. Meanwhile, Steve, in the battle of his life with the superstrong new Cap, has trouble keeping his mind on matters as he is musing about how he went through this grueling ordeal just to test himself as Cap. But in the end, Steve is back in uniform and that’s what counts: Captain America is all about character and that’s what our favorite hero has in abundance. The additional stories are nice little character galleries, and the final back-up origin of the “new and improved Red Skull” is a more exciting version of the villain’s Wikipedia article (up to 1988). Utterly cool.

Comments: Conclusion of The Captain saga which has run since issue #332. The first story is dedicated to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. A kid in the first story can be seen reading this very issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #350 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The sinister Adonis who we have seen manipulating the Commission on Superhuman Activities stands in a gym. Facing him are five sparring partners dressed as Captain America. In a flash, the heroes attack the man, who responds with lightning-quick reflexes and in a matter of minutes has killed all five men. He arranges with an aide to provide better opponents for his next workout and repairs to his palatial office overlooking the Capitol in Washington D.C. There he muses on the American Dream, which has inspired him to dedicate himself to enslaving the entire population of the United States. He checks in with Douglas Rockwell, his lackey on the Commission who reports that Steve Rogers was sighted in New York the day before….

Steve is indeed in the Big Apple, pondering recent events and trying to decide on a course of action. Suddenly a truck goes out of control on a busy street; quickly donning his Captain outfit, he leaps into action, carrying some boys to safety then catching a baby thrown from its stroller, to the amazement of the crowds….

At the hospital in Fort Meade, Captain America John Walker is recovering from the injuries sustained in the Arctic (issues #348-349) when he has a visit from an angry Rockwell, shaming his for his failure and demanding to know where is the shield. After he leaves, Battle Star tries to comfort his partner, but Walker feels betrayed that Lemar called for help and they had to bring back Steve Rogers. A worried Lemar leaves, and Walker receives a phone call telling him to come to a midnight meeting to find his shield. Walker suits up as Captain America and stealthily leaves the hospital….

A late-night session of the Commission on Superhuman Activities discusses the future of John Walker. The legal problems stemming from his violent actions against the Watchdogs (issue #345) and Left- and Right-Winger (issue #347) are not a serious as first thought. His handler Adrian Sammish points out that Walker is a "loaded bomb" and should be quietly cut loose before he does something even worse. Commission Head Douglas Rockwell seizes on the passing mention of Steve Rogers to launch a bitter tirade against the former Captain America, startling and confusing the other Commissioners. Later, The Captain (Steve Rogers) steals into the building and walks into Rockwell’s office, finding him in communication with his secret boss. Rockwell hastily signs off and Cap confronts him, demanding answers; Rockwell refuses but then the phone rings. He picks it up and dust is sprayed into his face from a hidden compartment, deforming it into the image of a red skull, the trademark of Captain America’s arch-enemy. Cap traces the call to find the villain’s location….

Captain America John Walker arrives at the downtown office building for the mysterious meeting. He is ushered into a boardroom where he is met by the arrogant businessman. At a signal several costumed figures enter, a representative each of ULTIMATUM, the Resistants, the Sweat Shop, Scourge of the Underworld, and the Watchdogs. The villain reveals that he is the secret leader behind all of these criminal organizations, and informs Walker that he is Steve Rogers, the original Captain America. He then orders his minions to attack the stunned hero and walks out with a laugh. The battle commences instantly and Cap springs into action battling his foes with almost sadistic glee….

The Captain arrives at the same building and a voice over a loudspeaker guides him to an office where he confronts the mastermind over a view screen. The villain claims that he is the Red Skull, even though Steve saw him die in issue #300, and explains that he has adopted a new face for a new era. He then reveals that Steve’s replacement is John Walker, the former Super-Patriot, and shows how he engineered a series of disasters in order to tarnish the name of Captain America. Steve walks out on the boasting baddie and begins to search the building for him. He enters the boardroom where the new Captain America stands among the bodies of slain foes; looking up, Walker sees The Captain—whom he believes to be his worst enemy….

Back at Commission headquarters, Rockwell’s gruesome corpse is discovered and the police called. Valerie Cooper takes charge and determines to uncover Rockwell’s secrets….

Walker attacks Steve, who recognizes that his opponent is indeed the former Super-Patriot. Steve relies on his agility to avoid his enraged super-strong opponent. But Walker is also quite agile and Steve has a hard time of it (though he has the time to ponder how his submission to the Commission was because he felt the need to test himself as Captain America). He finally gets in a lucky blow that knocks Walker out. The Red Skull then enters, applauding Steve’s performance, and the two stand face-to-face as the villain boasts of his plans to destroy the country in the guise of a handsome American businessman…and Steve grows suspicious. Walker comes to and hurls his shield, hitting the villain in the back of the legs—just as he was about to spray his Dust of Death from his cigarette holder. Instead, he takes a dose of his own weapon in the face and is burned into a Red Skull. He flees and the heroes pursue but they can’t find him….

Later, they address the Commission (now headed by Val Cooper) and explain the sinister plot behind the replacement of Captain America. Cooper asks John Walker to step aside as Cap and offers the role to Steve Rogers once more. To their (and our) surprise, Steve declines, having learned that he can uphold the nation’s ideals without the uniform. As he is leaving, Walker follows him into the hall and tells him that no one can fill the uniform like he can, and that only Steve’s adopting the role once more will prevent another failure. Once he learns that Walker is speaking from the heart, Steve readily accepts the mantle of Captain America once more!


Share This Page


Elektra

> Captain America: Book info and issue index


Story #2

Captain America’s Partners

Penciler: John Buscema. Inker: Al Milgrom. Colorist: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A two-page spread with portraits and brief profiles of Bucky Barnes, Rick Jones, the Falcon, Nomad, and Demolition Man.


Story #3

The Women in Captain America’s Life

Penciler: Ron Frenz. Inker: Joe Sinnott. Colorist: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A two-page spread with portraits and brief profiles of various women who are a presence in Cap’s life, for good and bad: Sharon Carter, Peggy Carter, Bernie Rosenthal, Donna Maria Puentes (from Kirby’s late 70s run), Gail Runciter, Holly Riddley, Rachel "Diamondback" Leighton, and The Viper. The obscure Holly Riddley appeared only in CAPTAIN AMERICA #313 and 321; it is possible she was intended as a romantic interest for Cap but the idea was abandoned.


Story #4

The Six Captain Americas!

Penciler: Tom Morgan. Inker: Al Milgrom. Colorist: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A two-page spread with portraits of the various men to wield the shield: Steve Rogers, William Naslund, Jeff Mace, the 1950s Cap (later named William Burnside), Roscoe, and John Walker, all but Steve shown in their non-Cap costumes. The short-lived Roscoe was killed by the Red Skull on his first mission in CAP #181-183; he was later endowed with the surname Simons.


Story #5

Resurrection

Writer: Mark Gruenwald. Penciler: John Byrne. Inker: Jose Marzan Jr.. Colorist: Gregory Wright.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

In the secret laboratory of Arnim Zola hidden in the Swiss Alps, the sinister scientist removes the new body of Johann Schmidt from a water tank. The subject is disoriented so Zola asks him to talk about his memories. Schmidt, the Red Skull, reviews his life and wicked career, from his traumatic birth and selection by Adolf Hitler to be the perfect Nazi, though his ongoing battles with Captain America and dark world-threatening schemes, up to his death in combat with his hated arch-enemy. Finally he is himself again, his mind newly transferred into a cloned body of Steve Rogers, Captain America. Now his enemy’s physical equal and mental superior, the Red Skull determines to use subtler methods and will not wear his characteristic mask—as it would be a shame to hide such a beautiful Aryan face…. [The irony of this last comment is made clear in light of the events of the first story in the issue.]

Loading cover...

::: click cover to ENLARGE it :::


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: American Dream, Arnim Zola, Battle Star, Captain America (John Walker), Commission on Superhuman Affairs, Super-Patriot, Valerie Cooper.