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Captain America #422: Review

Dec 1993
Mark Gruenwald, Rik Levins

Story Name:

Going Ballistic

Review & Comments

4 stars

Captain America #422 Review by (March 5, 2017)
Comments: The name Blistik is a simplification of the word “ballistic” but it always sounds to me like a balm for chapped lips. Sole appearance of Blistik aside from a mention in CIVIL WAR: BATTLE DAMAGE REPORT, indicating he is still active at that time. Marilla was the nanny to the Inhuman royal family, introduced in AVENGERS #343; she is murdered by Tony Stark in AVENGERS: THE CROSSING; this is her sole appearance in Cap's book. Foreshadowing: Cap has a couple of moments of weakness to lead into the “Fighting Chance” storyline which starts in issue #425.

Review: Blistik! Is he hero? Villain? Nutjob with a silly name? Bingo. A bit of background: in New York City in the '90s there floated the concept of quality-of-life; the idea was that cleaning up litter and fixing broken windows would lower the crime rate by creating an atmosphere of the city being a nice place to live—and this worked! Crime rates did go down when people saw that someone cared about the city. So here Mark Gruenwald has created a self-appointed hero, bashing heads to enforce consideration for others. With his padded armor and shock-stick he seems impressive enough despite the cover snarkily informing us that he's a joke. The odd thing is that the comic itself straddles the fence. He looks cool, creates serious mayhem, and is an actual danger (at least to Fabian). But his dialogue can be read in either a silly or sinister tone of voice, depending on your outlook—though either way he's a menace. This guy comes off like John Walker—the zealot without the sense of perspective that makes most heroes relatable. Blistik never appeared again; though no Doctor Doom—or even Paste-Pot Pete—it strikes me that more could have been done with him as an ongoing irritant; can you picture Spider-Man having to deal with this guy? Maybe that's why he never returned: he was a Spidey villain by nature and there was no place for him as an Avengers enemy. A shame.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #422 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The story open with a pair of hitmen drawing a bead on Captain America and firing—at the Cap statue in Central Park. As he is out jogging with his pal Dennis “D-Man” Dunphy, Steve Rogers gets the call about the incident. As he heads back to Avengers' Mansion, a vigilante calling himself Blistik the Urban Avenger confronts a group of teens, telling them to turn down their loud radios. When they mock him, Blistik lays into them with his electrified staff, destroying the radios and not doing the kids any good either. He leaves them with a warning—and “Have a nice day.”

Back at the Mansion, Marilla, Inhuman nanny to little Luna Maximoff, trips over a runaway gizmo belonging to Fabian Stankowicz. When the hapless Fabian comes looking for his missing toy, Marilla throws a fit, telling Fabian that either he goes or she does....

Investigating the shooting of the statue, Captain America is fired on by the gunmen from a van. He pursues on foot until he gets tired then hails a cab. By jet boots (or something), Blistik appears alongside the villains' van, scolding them for reckless driving. The baddie draws a gun so the vigilante blasts the driver, causing an accident on a busy street. Cap recognizes the hit men as minions of Dr Faustus and goes to their aid. Zach Moonhunter picks him up in a sky-cycle and they search for Blistik but he is nowhere to be found...

At the Mansion, Fabian is in despair over having lost his job with the Avengers and so writes a farewell letter to Cap....

Cap returns to the Mansion after his fruitless search; he is met by Black Widow who complains to him about Fabian. Cap promises to talk to him and goes to bed. He is awakened by a message from Wakanda that Rachel (Diamondback) has come out of her coma. Unable to get back to sleep he goes to check on Fabian and finds his note—but is it goodbye or a suicide note? Taking the jet-cycle to Brooklyn, Cap spies Fabian atop the Bridge with Blistik encouraging him to jump. The vigilante is concerned that Fabian's activities will cause traffic problems soon; Cap comes to his pal's rescue, enraging Blistik who takes Cap's actions as rude. He blasts the sky-cycle and Cap plummets, catching on to a cable and climbing back slowly and painfully. The hero hurls his shield, breaking Blistik's staff and knocking the guy into the river. Cap has a talk with Fabian, assuring him he does not desert his teammates and the two make plans to relocate their headquarters to Brooklyn Heights....

Rik Levins
Danny Bulanadi
George Roussos
Rik Levins (Cover Penciler)
Danny Bulanadi (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


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