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Captain America #380: Review

Dec 1990
Mark Gruenwald, Ron Lim

Story Name:

With Friends Like These…

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Captain America #380 Review by (November 29, 2015)
Comments: Main story: part one of three parts. Final appearance of Mrs Kappelbaum (the first since issue #317). Bushmaster is voting against Diamondback on the cover though he is supporting her in the story. Title is from the saying “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” describing so-called friends who are a liability. Story 2: part one of three parts. Covers John Walker’s history from before his first appearance in the comic. The covers of #380-382 all feature a looming head on a black background.

Review: The story jumps back and forth between the Bernie and Diamondback plots so I’ve simplified matters in the synopsis above. The main story is fairly interesting with the inner workings of the Serpent Society revealed in bushels of talking heads. Meanwhile, Steve and Bernie are reunited in an awkward and frustrating epilogue to their romance, again conveyed in reams of dialogue. Sometimes I think Mark Gruenwald must have been paid by the word balloon. The back-up story features the full history of John Walker, former Cap and current USAgent; again it looks like a big effort to toss out the whole faked death and brainwashed hero plot he’s been through and make him the same guy he started out as. I wonder what went wrong? Anyway, neither story is a classic but that’s okay, it’s still Cap.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #380 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Diamondback awakens in a dark chamber, her arms and legs shackled. King Cobra enters to announce that she will be put on trial for treason against the Serpent Society….

At Avengers Mansion Captain America is working out with his team when Fabian Stankowicz returns from rehab clean and sober (he checked in there in issue #372) and they are happy to see him. Jarvis reminds Cap he has a party to go to that evening….

Diamondback is filled in on the charges by her friend Black Mamba who asks her about her relationship with Captain America and what she may have revealed about the Society to him. Rachel protests that those two parts of her life are separate. At the trial, prosecutor Coachwhip asks those very questions, painting her relationship with Cap as dangerous while Black Mamba defends her as best she can. The Society votes and Diamond is found guilty; King Cobra sentences her to death, offering her the chance to live if she will betray Captain America. She refuses. Later Mamba and Asp threaten to quit if Rachel dies; Cobra is steadfast that she be made an example. Returning to her room, Mamba makes a phone call….

That evening Steve Rogers goes to Mrs. Kappelbaum’s boarding house for a party and there he is reunited with former fiancée Bernie Rosenthal. The two go out for a walk under the stars; Bernie tells Steve about her graduation from law school and her plans. Both are uncomfortable about the present situation so neither brings it up, leaving an awkward silence at their parting….

At midnight, Puff Adder prepares the venom for Diamond’s execution by lethal injection. Suddenly, Sidewinder teleports into the chamber, snatches up Diamond, and vanishes again is mere seconds. King Cobra declares war….

The Unremembered Past” 3.5

Writer: Mark Gruenwald. Pencils: Mark Bagley. Inks: Dan Panosian. Colors: Nel Yomtov.

Synopsis: Having learned from his pal Battle Star that his memories had been wiped by the military (issue #378), an enraged USAgent bursts into the office of General Haywerth. Haywerth calms down the mad hero and takes him to the Psych Lab where his memories can be restored. In the chair he recalls how his beloved older brother Michael died in Vietnam and his mother making him promise he would never join the military. Years later, when he came of age, he joined the army and in boot camp he met the guy who would become his best friend, Lamar Hoskins.

Ron Lim
Danny Bulanadi
Christie Scheele
Ron Lim (Cover Penciler)
Danny Bulanadi (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

Plus: Asp.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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