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Captain America #446: Review

Dec 1995
Mark Waid, Ron Garney

Story Name:

Operation: Rebirth Pt. 2/4: The Devil You Know

Review & Comments

5 stars

Captain America #446 Review by (August 15, 2017)
Comments: Part two of four parts. Title “The Devil You Know” is a reference to the saying, “Better the devil you know than the one you don't,” advising sticking with a familiar trouble than facing a new one. Hitler/the Hate-Monger was trapped in the Cosmic Cube in SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP #16–17, and seen there in CAP #299.

Review: Cap and the Red Skull side-by-side? Against Hitler? Who would use the Cosmic Cube to rewrite history to give the Axis the victory in WW2? Do you know what that means? SECRET EMPIRE could have come twenty years earlier! But for now, the tale is very exciting and the actions scenes are very nice with Garney's explosive visuals. The Cap/Sharon/Skull dynamic is fascinating, with the new, darker Sharon still unreadable to Cap (and the readers), anticipating more crazy developments in the tale. And Cap himself suffers “guilt by association” for teaming with the Red Skull. And the cover is a hoot with that block-headed Cap.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #446 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Cap, Sharon Carter, and the Red Skull press onward into the facility.  The Skull informs Cap that this is a test of a Cosmic Cube by its new owners, a fanatical group known as the Kubekult.  They observe the members preparing to use the cube to revive Adolf Hitler.  Cap whispers that the Cube can't resurrect the dead.  Sharon explains that it isn't necessary as Hitler is alive inside the Cube.

The Skull picks up where Sharon left off.  Hitler has survived due to transferring his mind into the body of the original Hate Monger.  Years ago the Skull and the Hate Monger tried to create a new Cosmic Cube to share.  This proved to be a poor choice as the Skull was double-crossed by his partner.  The Hate Monger projected his consciousness into the newly formed Cube, intent on claiming its power for his own when it was fully energized.  The Skull retaliated by stopping the creation process, trapping him inside.  Some time passed and the incomplete Cube was stolen by the Kubekult members.  They are very close to fully energizing the Cube.  The Skull poses the question to Cap: what would happen to the world if Hitler's consciousness was controlling a device that can reshape reality?  Cap shakes his head in disgust.  Working with the Red Skull sickens him, but he knows the Skull is telling the truth.

Cap leaps into battle headfirst attacking the Kult members.  The Skull and Sharon help him out when he is overwhelmed.  Cap keeps and eye on the Skull and notices his attempt to grab the Cube.  A quick throw of Cap's shield denies the Skull his prize.  When the shield's trajectory runs awry, Cap scrambles to retrieve his weapon.  He yells for Sharon to grab the Cube.  Her efforts are in vain as she is overpowered by a Kult member.  They take their experiment and leave, covering their escape with a grenade.

Cap suggests that the Skull curb his obvious desire to posess the Cube and focus on the mission.  The Skull reminds him that he shouldn't charge in to battle while he's unable to pull his own weight.  Their argument is interrupted by Sharon's aggressive interrogation of the remaining Kubekult members.  He is suprised as she was a member of this group for a time.  She screams at the slow-witted scientist that he was duped.  She leaves him and approaches Cap, stating that they're headed to an alternate energy research facility in upstate Wisconsin.  Despite Cap's concerns, she includes the Skull in the next phase of their plan.

They steal a jet and make their way north.  Cap tries to reconnect with Sharon.  He explains that he thought she was dead.  She stares intently at him and realizes he is telling the truth.  She gives an overview of the last several years of her life.  During a secret S.H.I.E.L.D mission, she was abandoned and left for dead a second time.  She forged a new life as a solider of fortune, doing what was necessary to survive.  She eventually learned of the Kubekult and began to investigate.  That's when she met up with the Skull and learned of their master plan.  Despite Cap's enthusiasm about reclaiming her old life, she isn't sure she wants it.  Being abandoned by her country left a bitter taste in her mouth.

They approach their target and find that the local military is aware of the Kubekult's presence and has surrounded the building.  The Skull asks if Cap can call in the Avengers to assist them.  Cap retorts that they would question his allegiance given current company.  They land and Cap tries to reason with the guards.  The Skull doesn't want to waste time with protocol and guns them down.  This quickly becomes a massive firefight, with most of the attention drawn to Cap, since everyone thinks he is dead.  The Skull and Sharon use this distraction to sneak into the complex.  Cap eventually fights his way to the door where he encounters an armed General Chapman.  He explains that he's under a direct order from the President to prevent anyone else from entering the building.  If he continues, he will be branded a traitor to the United States.  Cap considers his options carefully.  He then knocks Chapman out and proceeds into the building.

He finds the Skull and Sharon fighting the Kult members.  They warn that the Cube is almost fully charged.  Sharon berates Cap for falling behind as the mission comes before anything.  At this stage, the Cube discharges a massive power wave that simultaneously destroys one wall of the facility and transforms the U.S. soldiers outside into Kubekult soliders.

To complicate matters, Sharon is nowhere to be found.

Ron Garney
Denis Rodier
John Kalisz
Ron Garney (Cover Penciler)


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