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Captain America #368: Review

Mar 1990
Mark Gruenwald, Ron Lim

Story Name:

Red Twilight

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America #368 Review by (June 5, 2012)
Review: 1. This is the kind of story they don’t do any more. Back in the day before comics writers took themselves so seriously, someone sat around and said, “So…Acts of Vengeance is over, now what?” And some other guy said, Let’s have Cap fight a robot Magneto while we think of something.” And thus this issue was born: it does not advance anyone’s story one whit but it’s a lot of fun. And Mark and the gang had fun creating it. 2. Besides having one of the best titles for a comics story I can think of, “A Clockwork Origin” does a service by pulling together the scattered details of Machinesmith’s origin and creating a coherent whole. Now if anybody actually liked Machinesmith….

Comments: Story 1: Magneto and Scarlet Witch appear only in last-page cameos; their subplot continues in AVENGERS WEST COAST #55. Story 2: Starr Saxon first appeared in DAREDEVIL #49-52 and returned as Mister Fear in #54-55. His debut as Machinesmith was in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #47-48, where he encountered Thing and Jack of Hearts and it was revealed he was a robot. His encounter with Cap was in CAPTAIN AMERICA #247-249, where it was revealed that he and Starr Saxon were the same person. Cap’s battle with the Sleeper was in issue #354.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #368 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

At the Red Skull’s secret headquarters in the Smith Building, his henchmen Crossbones and Machinesmith are searching for signs of their missing boss. Piecing together the evidence they conclude that the Skull has been kidnapped by Magneto (accurate—see last issue) and come up with a contingency plan to hide his absence. Machinesmith unveils a lifelike android double of the master criminal to divert suspicion while they hunt down Magneto….

At the Bar with No Name, Diamondback meets with her pals Asp and Black Mamba; her friends ask if she would be interested in rejoining the Serpent Society. As she ponders this, Asp gets a call from Cobra ordering her and Mamba to track down Magneto for a reward being offered by the Red Skull. They invite Diamond along on the hunt….

Captain America arrives at Avengers Park, the site of their destroyed headquarters and enters the underground complex though a secret entrance built into a statue. He is immediately attacked by mechanical tentacles, because Fabian Stankowicz has yet to calibrate the sensors to recognize and admit the Avengers. While waiting for the arrival of architect Eric Masterson to apply for the job of designing the new building, Cap is told that Magneto has joined a pro-mutant demonstration in front of the Capitol in Washington. The hero heads to the scene to find the mutant master (actually an android duplicate controlled by Machinesmith, sent to lure the real mutant master out into the open) attacking the protesters who are members of Magneto’s former team, the Resistants. Cap is as confused as the victimized mutants and tries to breach "Magneto’s" force dome enclosing the area. Tunneling under it, Cap confronts the enemy and the battle is on. Cap becomes increasingly puzzled by his foe’s glib sarcastic speech until he realizes Magneto is a robot—then he decapitates the machine with his shield. A little thought leads Cap to suspect Machinesmith….

Epilogue: Watching the report on the news, the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club wonders why Magneto is neglecting his responsibilities as the Club’s Gray King. What could be more important than that?

Meanwhile, the Master of Magnetism is in space, attempting to draw his daughter Scarlet Witch out of her coma….

Story #2

A Clockwork Origin

Writer: Mark Gruenwald. Penciler: Mark Bagley. Inker: Don Hudson. Colorist: Nel Yomtov.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

As robotics expert/robot Machinesmith works in his lab to repair the damaged Sleeper unit, he gets a bit chatty and relates his life story. He started out as a human, Samuel "Starr" Saxon, and as a teen discovered the wreckage of one of Doctor Doom’s servobots in a subway tunnel after an altercation with the Fantastic Four. He took it home to his garage and pored over it, exacting all of its secrets. When his mother objected to his unhealthy passion, he arranged an "accident" for her. He became an apprentice to the Tinkerer which led to a commission to build an assassin robot for the underworld., This brought him into conflict with Daredevil; soon, Saxon usurped the guise of DD’s old enemy Mister Fear and ended up falling to his death from a floating platform. His robot servants discovered his body and encoded his brain onto software and downloaded it into a sophisticated robot body. He took on the name Machinesmith to go with his new profession of creating robot simulacra of various criminal—which made him an enemy of the Thing and Jack of Hearts. He then obtained the Dragon Man and battled Captain America out of a bitter depression over his inhuman status and tricked Cap into destroying his mainframe. Yet his personality downloaded into another body and he recovered from his neurosis, eventually being recruited by the Red Skull to revive the Sleeper for his nefarious purposes. And now life—or a reasonable simulacrum of it—is good.

Ron Lim
Danny Bulanadi
Steve Buccelatto
Ron Lim (Cover Penciler)
Danny Bulanadi (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Rachel Leighton)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Asp, Black Mamba, Cobra (Klaus Voorhees), Fabian Stankowicz, John Jameson, Machinesmith, Peggy Carter, Resistants, Selene.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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