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Captain America #437: Review

Mar 1995
Mark Gruenwald, Dave Hoover

Story Name:

If I Should Die Before I Wake

Review & Comments

4 stars

Captain America #437 Review by (May 13, 2017)
Comments: “Fighting Chance, Book 13.” The splash page mimics the cover of CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (from 1941).

Review: And finally the “Fighting Chance” arc focuses on what the central issue was supposed to be: Cap's physical deterioration as a side-effect of the Super-Soldier serum. Again we see Cap at an emotional low, battling the Red Skull in his mind until a Fantastic Voyaging Iron Man pulls him to safety. And the Statue of Liberty is back, enticing him to his death. Nice wrap-up focuses more on the psychological than the physical effects and the issues are covered well, if a bit oddly. And we get an an update on Free Spirit and Jack Flag, as we wonder why we forgot about them so quickly. What next? Check back soon.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #437 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Captain America is back during the War, facing the Red Skull for the first time. He is ably assisted by his faithful sidekick Bucky Barnes—but when Bucky unmasks the Nazi villain and sees the face of death beneath, he crumbles into dust….

This is what is running through Cap’s mind as Giant-Man (Hank Pym) rushes him to Stark Enterprises, where he hopes the state-of-the-art med center will save Cap’s life. Iron Man appears and Giant-Man explains that Cap has suffered a heart attack and is now in a coma….

Back in Arizona, Free Spirit and Jack Flag are barely holding their own in combat with the Serpent Society. Suddenly, the members of Force Works arrive, having been sent by Iron Man, and they mop up the Serpents then head to the desert to pick up Cobra and Mr. Hyde. Free and Jack can only stand astonished at their efficiency. The two rookies then plan to find out what happened to Captain America after he vanished down the drain….

In his coma, the delirious Cap is reliving his battle with the Red Skull when the villain first possessed the Cosmic Cube (seen in TALES OF SUSPENSE #81). Cap recalls that he was able to knock the Cube out of his enemy’s hand as a tremor shook the island they were on—but this time Cap tries and fails. The Skull imprisons Cap within the Cube and laughs with victory…and Cap is absolutely powerless. In the med center, Tony Stark uses a cybernetic helmet to try to communicate with the fallen hero. Cap is again battling the Red Skull in his mind, this time their final confrontation as their bodies were aging and facing collapse (CAPTAIN AMERICA #300). Cap is surprised that this scenario seems to be playing out as he remembers it: the Skull dies in Cap’s arms. Death reappears to Cap in the guise of the Statue of Liberty, as in the last issue, enticing him to accept his end and surrender. Cap collapses—but Iron Man swoops into his fantasy, carrying him off to safety…and in the real world, Cap awakens. He comes out of his coma—but he is paralyzed, perhaps permanently….

Epilogue: the Red Skull receives the report that Captain America was rushed to Stark’s medical facility and questions Arnim Zola. The mad biologist tells him that Cap is likely suffering a systems crash caused by the design flaw in the Super-Soldier Serum—a flaw that will soon surface in the Skull’s body, as it was cloned from Cap’s. The Red Skull demands that Zola find a cure, as he must outlive his enemy….

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Dave Hoover
Danny Bulanadi
George Roussos
Dave Hoover (Cover Penciler)
Dave Hoover (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

Plus: Arnim Zola, Century, Cobra (Klaus Voorhees), Free Spirit, Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Jack Flag, Mr. Hyde (Calvin Zabo), Serpent Society, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter).

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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