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Captain America #283: Review

Jul 1983
J. M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck

Story Name:

America the Cursed

Review & Comments

4 stars

Captain America #283 Review by (January 31, 2015)
Comments: Part three of three parts. Viper returns in NEW MUTANTS #5-6 and faces Cap again in issues #341-344 with a snaky entourage. On the letters page the editor jokingly apologizes for Jack Monroe incorrectly having black hair instead of brown and in 282, Viper having blue-black hair instead of green, and Gail Runciter being blonde in both issues.

Review: Well, that’s odd; they spent a high page count last issue explaining why Jack Monroe is in the Nomad suit only to have Viper see through it all early in this issue. That’s really hangs a lampshade on the contrived nature of last issue’s plot. Anyway, it’s fast-paced and DeMatteis is good at anticipating and filling plot holes. The quality of the art picks up a bit after a brief hiatus and the climactic balloon chase is very well done. This Cap era doesn’t usually have a lot of fans so I’m casting my vote for one of the best runs: DeMatteis, Zeck, and Beatty.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #283 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Captain America is still in the throes of a hallucinogenic drug administered on orders from Viper; he imagines he is a boy with his parents again. They encourage him not to give up. Then Bernie Rosenthal appears but she decays before his eyes into a snake-infested skeleton. Constrictor has been trying to awaken him but Viper then arrives. Constrictor fills her in on what he learned from interrogating Nomad and Gail Runciter; he reveals that she is a SHIELD agent and that the newer Bucky was wearing Cap’s old Nomad uniform to intimidate her. As she heads off to further her deadly plague scheme, Constrictor volunteers to inject the three captives with a sedative; really it’s so he can revive Cap to stop this mad scheme he has no stomach for….

In her disguise as an ordinary housewife in Hartsdale Illinois Viper walks the streets to ensure that everything is ready. In the hills, Dum Dum Dugan, who suffered a heart attack last issue, revives and takes his heart medication. Before he can call for help, he is captured by Viper’s guards and put in with Cap and the others. Back aboard the Helicarrier, Nick Fury learns that Dugan’s signal was cut off and contacts the President….

The President issues an emergency bulletin that an army transport carrying radioactive material has crashed near Hartsdale and the town will be evacuated so the National Guard can deal with the crisis. Viper recognizes it as a SHIELD trick and has her men block the transmission, knowing they will not arrive in time….

The next morning the Hartsdale parade takes place on Main Street, with the drugged Captain America, Nomad, and Gail waving from a float. Viper’s plan will come with the launching of several hot-air balloons: at the appointed time, they will drop their cargoes of plague-carrying snakes over the town. But a nightmare of friendly faces decaying into skulls snaps Cap out of the drugged stupor and he takes action, running through the streets and overpowering the foot soldiers. Viper orders the balloons launched; she and Constrictor in one and the captive Dugan in another. Cap jumps from roof to roof and enters the balloon carrying Dugan; the Agent explains Viper’s plot. Meanwhile, in Viper’s balloon, Constrictor turns against his mistress and disarms her but he is kicked overboard; Cap leaps to that one and ends up hanging by one arm. Nomad, snapping out of the drug’s effects, rushes to the scene; the injured Constrictor gives him Viper’s ray gun and tell him to shoot down all the balloons; Jack blasts all of the unmanned one but won’t endanger Cap and Dugan. Cap clobbers Viper and leaps over to the other balloon, and he and Dugan jump for safety. Nomad shoots down the last two balloons and the mad Viper is apparently killed in the blast. Later, as SHIELD begins mopping up operations, a weary Cap tells Nick Fury that “America…stands.…”

Mike Zeck
John Beatty
Bob Sharen
Mike Zeck (Cover Penciler)
John Beatty (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


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