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Captain America #23: Review

Nov 1999
Mark Waid, Patrick Zircher

Story Name:

Land of the Free

Review & Comments

4 stars

Captain America #23 Review by (February 6, 2018)

Comments: Title is a line from the American National Anthem. Connie met Kalu Chakara in issue #21. We learn Cap is an accomplished swing dancer. Cap uses the pseudonym Buck Jones, which was the name of a movie western hero from the 1930s (see Wikipedia for the details of his heroic death). Oddity: Cap appears to be left-handed when he signs his contract as Buck Jones. Jay Faerber is credited with the dialogue.

Review: Cap uncovers prison corruption as in CAP #260 (even the covers are similar) but this time there is also a political angle. Privately-run for-profit prisons were an issue attracting attention at the time and the writers look into this, not trying to hide the bitter irony of this happening in the Land of the Free, according to their capitalist doctrines. Irony runs all through the issue, hard-hitting in its effect but also not advancing a partisan agenda as so many more recent issue-oriented comics do (vide CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON). Well-done issue, exciting and allowing us to see a bit of a real-world trouble without having to do anything about it.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #23 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Madan Chakara smuggles a letter out of prison, telling him of the brutal inhuman treatment they are given. The worst part of this is...the prison is in the United States....

After an evening of dancing, Connie Ferrari tells Steve Rogers of the Chakara case. Madan had saved up his money to move to the USA after his brother Kanu invited him, but Madan was sold false immigration papers by a conman, arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and put in a privately-owned prison. Connie tells Steve about this prison, a hellhole run by a corrupt warden. Concerned that she would be upset if she found out he was Captain America, Steve goes on his own to the INS and arranges to go undercover in the prison to gather evidence of wrong-doing....

Cap, using the name Buck Jones, is hired at the prison and immediately discovers the prisoners living in filth, shackled unnecessarily, and forced to eat rotten food, and supervised by sadistic guards. Cap records the evidence on a miniature camera installed in his sunglasses. Cap discovers Chakara locked in a small cage, his mind now bitter against the United States and spitting in Cap's face. Trying to help him, “Buck Jones” is unmasked as Captain America and he confronts Warden Moseley who insists that Cap can't prove anything as the guards are bribed and the prisoners intimidated into claiming to be treated decently. But this time, the prisoners riot; Cap protects the prisoners from machine-gun toting guards and rescues the Warden from his vengeful charges. When a guard gets the drop on Cap, it is Chakara who saves him by clouting the guard. Cap also confiscates a disk full of evidence that the Warden was hiding. Moseley tries to escape but Cap manages to herd him into one of the solitary pens and trap him.

Epilogue: Connie thanks Steve for using his influence to have the prison shut down and expediting Madan's citizenship....

2. “Fast Lane Part 1 of 4: Media Blitz”

Writer: Glenn Herdling. Pencils: Gregg Schigiel. Inks: Richard Case. Colors: Paul Mounts.

Synopsis: An anti-drug public service announcement featuring Spider-Man appearing in several Marvel comics this month.  

Patrick Zircher
Denis Rodier
Gregory Wright
Andy Kubert (Cover Penciler)
Tim Townsend (Cover Inker)
Chris Sotomayor (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

Plus: Connie Ferrari.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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