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Captain America #442: Review

Aug 1995
Mark Gruenwald, ?

Story Name:

Broad Stripes and Bright Stars

Review & Comments

2.5 stars

Captain America #442 Review by (July 15, 2017)
Comments: Dave Hoover, Sandu Florea share the pencils on this issue. The titles for issues #438-443 are lines from the American National Anthem. Zeitgeist was introduced as Everyman in issue #267; Dr Faustus sent him on a mission to kill various South American superheroes (starting in ALPHA FLIGHT #78) and also had him join Hauptmann Deutschland's team tracking down the Red Skull (#390-393); this is his final appearance. Vormund was previously known as Hauptmann Deutschland. The three named Golden Age heroes, Black Marvel, Thunderer, and Captain Terror, were authentic 1940s comic book characters. Madcap was introduced in #307 and 309; his quote, “Smokin',” is a gag reference to THE MASK with Jim Carrey as a similar character.

Review: A superhero whodunit is a good idea but only if you have the page count to do it justice. This issue seems like too much is crammed into it so that none of the plot points are all that compelling and the killer's shape shifting was just confusing. How did that camera that could take pictures of heroes after they had been killed work? And what happened to it? Plus did anybody really care about these three German heroes? Things get better in the following issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #442 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

German heroes Vormund, Zeitgeist, and Blitzkrieger are in South America to investigate the murders of several of that continent's superheroes. The killer is revealed on page 1 to be Zeitgeist, who kills Blitzkrieger and vanishes....

Captain America, back in his armor after the energy boost of the last few issues has worn off, advises Free Spirit and Jack Flag to relax and take some time off....

A panhandler on the New York City subway encounters the villain Everyman (who is also Zeitgeist) who recognizes him as Simon Halloway, the second Angel. Everyman presents him with a photo of Simon lying dead and proceeds to skewer him with his rapier. This will be bait in a trap to kill all of the first generation of modern heroes....

Cap stops by the hospital to visit his terminally ill pal Arnie Roth and they chat. Returning to headquarters, Cap is met by Fabian Stankiewicz who tells him about the murder of the panhandler and shows Cap that the dead man had in his pocket an invitation to a reunion of Golden Age heroes—and Cap has received an invite to the same event....

Free and Jack, in costume, head to Central Park; a scream brings them to the villain Madcap, who has a dynamite belt and is threatening to kill himself out of ennui. The two young heroes make a plan to stop the baddie....

Zeitgeist is flying himself and Vormund to the USA while distracting his partner with false theories on the killer....

Cap arrives at the gathering of Golden Age heroes and becomes the star of the event. Vormund appears on a balcony and announces their collective deaths. Cap goes after him and confronts a confused Vormund—and he is stabbed in the back by Zeitgeist, next to a photo of himself mortally wounded....

In Central Park, Jack Flag puts Madcap in a hold but the maniac is able to detonate his bomb anyway. Free rushes to Jack's side and finds him seriously injured but already healing. Madcap, also healing, is devastated to find he hasn't killed the hero....

The elderly heroes, thinking Vormund has killed Cap, attack the German hero who escapes. Meanwhile, Cap gets the drop on Zeitgeist, disguised as a waiter and snatching away the image-projector that enabled him to switch identities quickly. Vormund confronts Zeitgiest who stabs him with his sword but, as per Vormund's powers, the force is directed back where it came and Zeitgeist dies. Vormund blames himself for not checking his late partner's background; Cap believes that the former Everyman, in accord with his mania, wanted all superhumans dead....

Danny Bulanadi
Ashley Posella
Dave Hoover (Cover Penciler)
Dave Hoover (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)

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