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Captain America #255: Review

Mar 1981
Roger Stern, John Byrne

Story Name:

The Living Legend

Review & Comments

2 stars

Captain America #255 Review by (November 9, 2010)
Review: Yet another review of the origin of Captain America, this one oddly structured: the focus for the most part is the report to the President, yet Stern insists on bringing the story up to date, covering all of his subsequent career in a two-page montage, ending with a one-page epilogue that doesn’t follow on anything seen up to that point. If it wasn’t for John Byrne’s dynamic art, this would be a letdown. Too bad it’s his last issue with the series.

Comments: “Special 40th Anniversary issue.” The splash panel resembles the cover to CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (March 1941). THE SEA HAWK, which Steve sees at the movies the day he tries to enlist, was released July 1 1940, giving a general idea as to when he entered Operation: Rebirth. Cameos: Invaders: Sub-Mariner, Human Torch, Union Jack, Spitfire; villains: Hitler, the Red Skull, Baron Zemo, Baron Blood, Master Man, Warrior Woman; Avengers: Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man, Wasp.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #255 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

June 1941: President Roosevelt examines the dossier on Operation: Rebirth to learn more about its test subject Steve Rogers. He grew up in Depression-era Brooklyn, a sickly youth with a talent for art, who was the target of bullies. After his mother’s death he tried to make a living but the news reports on the Nazis made him determined to join the Army and fight. Rejected as unfit for military service, Steve was recruited by General Phillips for a top secret experiment. Taken to a secret lab beneath the city, he worked with Dr. Erskine to prepare him to take the Super-Soldier Serum. On the fateful day, Steve Rogers drank the serum and his body was bathed in Vita-Rays; the experiment was a success, and Steve became a muscular marvel. Tragedy then struck: a Nazi spy in their midst shot down Dr. Erskine and was killed attempting to escape.

President Roosevelt is then shown a second dossier on Project: Super-Soldier, detailing Steve’s training for his special mission. General Phillips showed him a picture of the Red Skull, the Nazi’s special agent. To oppose him, the US would create a living symbol of the fight for freedom and liberty, and Steve Rogers would be that man: Captain America. His first mission came a few days later, as a Colonel was being kidnapped by Nazi spies; Captain America roared out of the dark in his red, white, and blue uniform and defeated the enemy with his shield. The following evening he tracked the Bundists to their headquarters and captured the lot of them. His mask was badly torn in the fracas, necessitating a hasty exit from the press but he continued to battle spies to this day. Now Captain America, with a new improved mask attached to his costume, meets with the President and is presented with a new round shield, made from a mystery alloy. Roosevelt explains that they are going to give him a cover identity, as an ordinary army private. His subsequent career is quickly surveyed: his identity is discovered by camp mascot Bucky Barnes, who becomes his partner; he adventures with the team called the Invaders, against a cadre of sinister Nazi foes. At the end of the war, Bucky was killed and Cap frozen in ice until he was discovered by the Avengers whom he joined for numerous exploits in the modern era. And now, Captain America returns home late, changes his clothes and sits down to his drawing board as Steve Rogers, wondering if it is all worth it. He turns on the radio and hears a news report on his rescue of thousands of people earlier that evening. As the station signs off, Steve listens to the playing of the National Anthem, and decides, "It’s worth it."

John Byrne
Joe Rubinstein
Bob Sharen
Frank Miller (Cover Penciler)
Joe Rubinstein (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

Plus: General Chester Phillips, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Franklin Delano Roosevelt), Professor Erskine.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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