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Captain America #381: Review

Jan 1991
Mark Gruenwald, Ron Lim

Story Name:

This Gun’s for Hire

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Captain America #381 Review by (December 6, 2015)
Comments: Main story: part two of three parts. Title is a variation on the 1942 film title THIS GUN FOR HIRE. Story 2: part two of three parts. There is a gag reference to John Jameson’s past as Man-Wolf. Title is the beginning of a quote by President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Covers John Walker’s history from his discharge up through his origin as Super-Patriot and the events of CAP #323, 327, 332-333. The covers of #380-382 all feature a looming head on a black background.

Review: Okay but undistinguished epic centers largely on the Serpent Society, a gang better in concept than execution (at least here). And Cap is flailing along without the Super-Soldier Serum during their brief “Just say no” period in the comic’s history. The USAgent story, filling in continuity for a character who is very difficult to root for, is good but kind of pointless.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #381 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Sidewinder arrives back at his apartment with the rescued Diamondback; she begs him to go back and save her friends Black Mamba and Asp. Sidewinder refuses, having already put his own life in jeopardy of revenge by the Serpent Society. As he prepares to go into hiding, Diamond sets off to find the one who will help her….

At the Serpents’ headquarters, King Cobra divides the gang members into parties to stake out Sidewinder’s home, Diamond’s place, and Avengers Mansion….

Steve Rogers gets a call from Peggy Carter telling him Diamondback want to meet with Captain America. Cap shows up at the rendezvous where Diamond fills him in on recent events (last issue). She asks Cap to help her shut down the Serpent Society—but only if he promises to let her pals Asp and Black Mamba go free. Cap can’t make that promise so she takes off in a huff….

Cobra discovers from the computer logs that Black Mamba called Sidewinder to rescue Diamond; with Bushmaster he captures and imprisons them….

Cap goes to Diamond’s apartment and finds Anaconda and Puff Adder on the roof; he takes them on but the arrival of Rock Python sends the odds against Cap and he is snagged, Rock Python holding him over the edge of the roof….

Meanwhile, Diamond has met with the mercenary Paladin who agrees to help her rescue her pals and demands a date in return. Arriving at the Society HQ, they enter and take Bushmaster prisoner, forcing him to take them to the captives; Bushmaster does but it is a trap set by Cobra. In the struggle, Diamond manages to toss an acid-bomb in Bush’s mouth then Cobra shoots her with his deadly venom forcing Paladin to surrender….

2. “Ask Not What your Country Can Do for You…” 3.5 stars out of 5

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

Synopsis: The restoration of USAgent John Walker’s memories continues: After their discharge from the army, John Walker with his pals Lemar, Hector, and Jerome were in a bar where they were approached by an agent of the Power Broker, inviting them to check out what he had to offer. With nothing better to do, the guys went to LA where they were given super-strength though the Power Broker’s augmentation process. They considered joining the Unlimited Class Wrestling scene but an agent named Ethan Thurm persuaded them to become super-heroes instead. Walker became the Super-Patriot and his buddies became his back-up group, the Buckies (Bold Urban Commandoes). At a rally, the Buckies, playing the villains, attacked Super-Patriot on stage and he fought them off. Later he was confronted by Captain America who threatened to expose him and the two fought to a draw. Some time later, Super-Patriot defeated a terrorist who was threatening the Washington Monument and that incident led to his becoming the new Captain America….

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: Anaconda, Asp.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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