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Captain America #387: Review

Jul 1991
Mark Gruenwald, Rik Levins

Story Name:

Maiden Voyage

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America #387 Review by (February 14, 2016)
Comments: The Superia Stratagem, Part One of Six. The title was published bi-weekly for these six issues. First appearance of Superia (in shadow); Nightshade (now a doctor) was introduced in CAP #164. Wasp appears only as a voice at the other end of a phone call. Alessandro Brannex, head of A.I.M. is later revealed to be the Super-Adaptoid in disguise. Backup story: Part one of five, serving as a prelude to the main story which begins in issues #393. First appearance of Hauptmann Deutschland (disguised)

Review: The Superia Stratagem is one of the lesser story arcs of the Mark Gruenwald era, to put it mildly. It starts off fairly unpromisingly with a bunch of female baddies on a cruise, followed by an absurd pageant in which they flaunt their special powers. What this turns into is an evil feminist villain’s scheme to conquer the world; Superia is a total joke as the kind of cartoon feminist that would have been fine in the 60s or 70s (as the earlier Thundra was) but this is the 90s, grim and gritty is the order of the day, stories like this should have been passé. After the feminist reveal, we have a plot to turn Cap into a woman (seriously?), and Cap and Paladin bouncing around in Asp and Black Mamba’s costumes (with Cap even wearing it through nearly the entire final issue). The story improves a bit in the final issue with some superior art and writing choreographing the fight scenes but it’s not enough to overcome the silly premise. The second story is fairly unnecessary, a long-drawn-out account of how the Red Skull was arrested by Hauptmann Deutschland. Although readable it seems like a waste of 25 pages; the matter could have been related by Hauptmann D to Captain A in a couple of panels. Someone should have set Gruenwald straight about how his backup features had been going downhill in quality.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #387 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Captain America races to Diamondback’s apartment to find the ceiling destroyed and Rachel missing (see the back-up stories in issues #385-386 for details). Cap contacts Paladin who doesn’t have any answers but chooses to join Cap on his mission. Cap hears that two members of the Serpent Society have been found injured; questioning Rock Python, he learns that a giant head was involved—MODOK?

Meanwhile, Diamond, with her pals Asp and Black Mamba are in the Serpent Saucer piloted by the bizarre MODAM; the huge creature invites them to a cruise aboard the S.S. Superia luxury liner and the invites include a hundred thousand dollars each. The ladies are delivered to the ship along with Anaconda where they discover that all of the vacationers are female costumed criminals; a testy Anaconda tries to fight MODAM but quickly comes to regret it. Diamondback activates her homing beacon hoping that Cap will find her….

Meanwhile, Cap and Paladin have been flown by John Jameson to a Caribbean island which is the corporate headquarters of a newly reformed A.I.M., the creators of MODOK. Chairman Alessandro Brannex assures the heroes that A.I.M. is now a legitimate company and that he knows nothing of a new MODOK (the original died in issue #313); Cap can tell he is lying. On their way back to the States the plane picks up Diamond’s signal and follows it. The ship fires a missile at Cap’s plane but Jameson evades it. Suddenly Jameson goes into a trance and the plane dives toward the sea. Cap and Paladin manage to eject from the plane along with the hypnotized John Jameson. As they float down MODAM suddenly appears and cuts the lines to their parachutes….

2. “The Masque Club” 3/5

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

Synopsis: Atop the Smith Building in Washington D.C. sits the Masque Club, a nightclub for villains, created by the Red Skull. As the Skull is entertaining Baron von Strucker he is called away by an urgent phone call. Assembling the Skeleton Crew (Crossbones, Mother Night, Machinesmith, and the Sleeper), the Red Skull takes the call: it is from Arnim Zola, informing his boss that commandos have invaded Zola’s labs and destroyed the Skull’s clone bodies and the Resurrection Apparatus. An angry Skull orders the Skeleton Crew to find the persons responsible. He unleashes some rage by shooting up his office then returns to the club…with a mysterious masked man keeping an eye on him….

Characters: Arnim Zola, Baron von Strucker, Crossbones, Machinesmith, Mother Night, Red Skull, Skeleton Crew

Rik Levins
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, Arnim Zola.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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