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Captain America Annual #1999: Review

Oct 1999
Joe Casey, Pablo Raimondi

Story Name:

Full Court Press

Review & Comments

4 stars

Captain America Annual #1999 Review by (January 29, 2018)

Comments: Story takes place between CAP (v.3) #22 and 23. Flag-Smasher previously met Cap in CAPTAIN AMERICA #312, 321-322, 348-349; he would go on to a few more appearances, mainly against Deadpool but this is the only issue tying him to Roxxon with these powers and gray-skinned look. The reporters bear the names of 80s comedy duo Al Franken and Tom Davis but are not drawn to resemble them. Colors by Matt Hicks and Marie Javins.

Review: Or, ALL THE (ROXXON) PRESIDENT'S MEN. This tale bears more than a passing resemblance to the 1976 film ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, detailing how two intrepid news reporters uncovered the Watergate scandal (which began with a burglary), bolstering the image of the news media as the bearers of truth against corrupt government and corporations. The burglars are even called “Plumbers” as in Watergate and Cap acts as the mysterious informant known as Deep Throat for the two investigators. The pro-media speechifying in this 1999 issue comes off as a bit naive in these days of the 24-hour news cycle, gotcha journalism and the decline of old media where truth comes off as irrelevant in view of maximizing profits by any means possible—after all, the media have always been owned by large corporations themselves. Anyway, Cap is an idealist and we can dream, can't we?

Oh yeah, I'm reviewing a comic book...right. Political analysis aside, the story presents Cap at his best though the new version of Flag-Smasher is kind of odd: he is under mind control by Roxxon and thus does not look or act anything like the F-S we've seen; they would have been better off just creating a new character, though Cap wouldn't have been able to recognize him so readily—or needed to. The art is the usual 90s stuff with crowded pages and too-prominent colors but it gets the job done. The best effect is from the reporters' conversations broken up into tiny panels with captions, allowing a more natural and less cluttered exchange of dialogue than the typical word balloons would provide. The big surprise is J. Jonah Jameson acting like a real newsman rather than the volcanic fanatic he is in Spider-Man titles; these sort of issues go far in explaining how this usually childish buffoon can be a successful publisher. Nice issue, though not a classic.  


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America Annual #1999 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

There's a late-night break-in at the United Nations building. While the operatives search for what they want, a gray-skinned weirdo on the team goes mad and kills a guard, spray-painting anarchist slogans on the walls. He is hustled out but one burglar is caught. Daily Bugle reporters Sid Franken and Dan Davis are sent to the arraignment and learn that the prisoner is Ken Bradley of Brand Industries and sense there is more to this than a simple burglary....

The next day, Franken and Davis learn that Captain America has asked to see their notes, checking on a suspicion he had. Cap deduces that the mystery weirdo is his old enemy Flag-Smasher but something about him is very different. Franken and Davis deduce from Cap's interest that this is more than a simple burglary and go deeper. They learn that Brand Industries was in charge of covert activities for Roxxon Oil Corporation....

At Roxxon, President Calvin Halderman takes his burglars to task for allowing their mission to come to the attention of the press. He takes the operatives to the cell where Flag-Smasher is kept and has the villain injected with a drug that turns him into a murderous psychopath—then he locks the failed henchmen in....

When Bradley is being transferred to another prison, Flag-Smasher appears on the scene, sent to assassinate the luckless burglar—but Captain America is also on the scene and Cap prevents the murder though a sudden fire emergency allows the killer to escape....

Cap meets with Franken, encouraging him in his reporting and dropping hints as to how the reporters can proceed. Franken and Davis go to Roxxon to interview Calvin Halderman but the big shot instead lectures them on corporations as the true powers that be and dismisses them. But Kenneth Bradley goes on record, telling Franken and Davis all about the corporate espionage caper and Halderman's role in it. Then Bradley is killed in prison and Cap warns them that the two Bugle reporters are next. J. Jonah Jameson throws his support behind his reporters, so they resolve to follow the story to the end. Halderman dispatches Flag-Smasher to invade the Bugle offices via jetpack but Cap is waiting for him. The battle concludes with Cap defeating his enemy. The revelation of F-S's Roxxon connection forces Halderman to resign in disgrace—with a generous financial package from the evil company. Franken and Davis are disappointed but Cap encourages them to keep at the job of uncovering the truth....

Pablo Raimondi
Walden Wong
Pablo Raimondi (Cover Penciler)
Walden Wong (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)

> Captain America Annual: Book info and issue index

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