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Captain America #383: Review

Mar 1991
Mark Gruenwald, Ron Lim

Story Name:

I am Legend

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America #383 Review by (December 19, 2015)
Comments: “Special Triple-Sized 50th Anniversary Issue!” That’s 1941-1991 for those who are chronologically minded. Story 1: Title comes from the classic novel by Richard Matheson. Guests at Cap’s party include Thor, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Wonder Man, Wasp, Falcon, Hawkeye, Vision, Sersi, Quasar, Hank Pym, Jarvis, Peggy Carter, John Jameson, Michael O’Brien, Fabian S. There is also an unidentified woman who could be Bernie Rosenthal or Rachel Leighton or someone else altogether. This version of Father Time (not the Golden Age hero from Cap’s earliest comics) appears only here and in STRANGE TALES #115. Story 2 retold from SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #13. Story 4: Title comes from the rock song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Story takes place immediately after the “Resurrection” back-up story in CAP #350. Origin of Crossbones.

Review: Muddy printing really hurts this issue with portions of the text being hard to read and the art looking dark and ugly. The first story is a heavy-handed tribute to Cap on his anniversary by having him encounter American folk heroes; nothing special. The WW2 tale is an expanded version of an older tale; a simple adventure tale and nothing more—which is a good thing for the 1990s. Conversely, USAgent’s tale is grim and nasty fitting the tenor of the decade. And the big mystery is how Jerome and Hector, who were basket cases—unable to see, hear, move, or speak, were able to kill themselves. It is a puzzlement. The Red Skull story was okay and featured some nice actions sequences with the icky Dough Boy being the highlight.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #383 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Late one rainy night, Captain America is pursing a sinister fellow who calls himself Father Time. Suddenly the baddie opens up a portal in the air and dashes in; Cap follows…

…to find himself in an apple orchard with Johnny Appleseed. He asks if Johnny has seen Father Time and is directed toward the Old Man of the Mountain Top. Moments later Cap finds himself on a western prairie about to be run down by a herd of steers. Pecos Bill gives him a lift toward the mountains but Cap loses him when the cowboy heads off to lasso a twister. Railroad tracks suddenly appear beneath his feet and Cap encounters John Henry driving in the spikes with his mighty hammer. Next, Cap is in a forest where the giant Paul Bunyan carries him the rest of the way to the mountain. Scaling the peak, Cap finds, not Father Time, but Uncle Sam, the symbol of America. Uncle Sam tells Cap he is in Legendary America “where the American Dream is a reality, where heroes live forever, where legends become legendary.” Father Time now appears and engages Cap in combat. As this is Cap’s fiftieth anniversary, Father Time has decreed that the time has come for Captain America to pass out of history into legend…. The enemy’s grip causes Cap to age but the hero’s struggle sends them over the edge of the precipice…

…and Cap finds himself back in the alley. He stops the fleeing Father Time and unmasks him to find Hawkeye. The archer knows nothing of a visit to another land, and his task is done: he was to keep Cap away from Avengers Mansion so that they could set up a surprise party for Cap’s anniversary.

Characters: Cap, Hawkeye, Avengers
Villains: Father Time

2. “Fighting Side-by-Side with... Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos!” 3.5/5

Writer: Tom DeFalco; Ron Frenz. Pencils: Ron Frenz. Inks: Bob Petrecca. Colors: Paul Becton.

Synopsis: Captain America and Bucky intercept a Nazi convoy taking slave laborers to the French coast; after defeating the soldiers, they disguise themselves as a Hitler Youth and his American prisoner to infiltrate the German forces. Meanwhile, Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos have been fighting a more intense battle to the same objective, the men dropping out one-by-one until only Fury and Reb Ralston are left to link up with Cap and Bucky. They discover that the Germans have dug a tunnel under the English Channel and are preparing to invade England. Fury and Reb create a diversion while Cap and Bucky locate the tunnel’s self-destruct mechanism and trigger it. The tunnel goes up in a mighty explosion and Cap and Bucky are picked up by the navy in the Channel.

Characters: Cap, Howlers, Bucky, Nick Fury
Villains: Nazis

3. “Man of Straw” 3/5

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

Synopsis: Late one night, USAgent John Walker is in a cemetery, digging up a grave using his shield as a shovel. He is trying to confirm the report of the deaths of his former pals-turned-enemies Hector Lennox and Jerome Johnson by exhuming Hector’s body. He recalls how Jerome and Hector revealed his secret identity to the world which led to the kidnapping and deaths of Walker’s parents. He recalls how his path of vengeance led to his tying them to an oil drum set to explode. Looking them up later he was told they were dead, Hector and Jerome having taken their own lives after learning there was no hope of ever leading a normal life because of their extensive injuries and disfigurements. Now he uncovers Hector’s coffin and discovers that his old friend is indeed dead and buried. In despair he runs until he reaches a field with a scarecrow where he stops to examine his life. He discovers a cigarette lighter on the ground and prepares to set himself aflame to atone for his crimes but the lighter does not work. Realizing that suicide is not the answer, he still feels abandoned by God and man and resolves to redeem himself by becoming a better man.

Characters: USAgent

4. “Bad to the Bone!” 3.5/5

Writer: Mark Gruenwald. Pencils: Ron Wilson. Inks: Fred Frederickson. Colors: Nel Yomtov

Synopsis: A team of mercenaries climbs the mountain where Arnim Zola has his castle stronghold. Automatic weapons begin to fire, killing one of the invaders. The Red Skull is there in the new body cloned from that of Captain America. Arnim Zola unleashes his Doughboy, an amorphous pile of goop, on the enemy; despite the efforts of the formidable team leader, only two make it to castle alive where they are taken prisoner. Red Skull interrogates them, but the lesser mercenary can only say that they are working for the Red Skull (it turns out they are working for Albert Malik, the Soviet Red Skull from the 1950s) so the villain kills him and moves on to the team leader. This guy challenges the Skull to a fight, an idea which appeals to the Nazi villain. There follows a battle which quickly goes against the merc as the Skull learns to use his new body. In the end, the Red Skull declines to kill his opponent but offers to make him his right-hand man. The merc agrees and the Red Skull names him Crossbones….

Characters: Arnim Zola, Crossbones, Doughboy, Red Skull

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)

Plus: American Dream, Arnim Zola.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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