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Captain America #320: Review

Aug 1986
Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary

Story Name:

The Little Bang Theory

Review & Comments

5 stars

Captain America #320 Review by (February 23, 2012)
Review: The epic wraps up, after a fashion, as we learn the killer’s motives and methods—and that he is an organization, not an individual. The writing has been clever and the art quite good, especially in the opening scene and in Scourge’s attempts to kill Cobra and Diamond. Cap did what he could, from now on it is USAgent’s headache.

Comments: In this issue, Scourge of the Underworld is revealed to be a group of killers, not an individual; “he” returns in CAPTAIN AMERICA #347 (killing the Communist Red Skull/Albert Malik) and #351 (a member of the Watchdogs). In the latter issue they abandon the disguises for a long coat and white skull mask. The next issues to conclude his epic are the USAgent back-up stories in CAPTAIN AMERICA #358-362, a brief appearance in CAP #394 (where a Scourge is killed by the real Red Skull), and the first USAGENT limited series (1993). Water Wizard was introduced in GHOST RIDER (1973) #23 and eventually changed his name to Aqueduct.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #320 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Standing on the Cleveland docks, Captain America is surprised when he is attacked by an enormous hand of water. He leaps directly into it and swims to the top, from which vantage point he spies the villain controlling it. Cap hurls his shield at his foe, and the distraction causes the water column to collapse. Cap swims to the dock and apprehends his enemy, the Water Wizard. The frightened baddie, who had asked to meet Cap there, confesses it was a test to make sure he was the authentic Captain America. WW then takes Cap out to the Bar with No Name to show him the bodies of the 18 costumed criminals slain by the Scourge of the Underworld last issue. Wizard explains how he was delayed by a flat tire and arrived late to the meeting to find the others dead, and now he wants Cap’s protection. Cap finds a place of sanctuary for the terrified crook then summons the police. A weary Cap then ponders his next move….

Not far away, Scourge, disguised as an attractive blonde woman, receives a call from his researcher Domino who has information on the whereabouts of more criminals. After studying his agent’s data, the killer decides to go after the nearest potential victim: Diamondback….

Later that night, as Diamond rests in a hospital, recovering from the buckshot wounds received last issue, she gets a visit from her Serpent Society compatriot Cobra. After she had disappeared Cobra was sent to look for her. Now he carries Diamond out of the window and they run to his aircraft—and on the way they are shot at by the Scourge who misses because of the dense foliage on the hospital grounds. The two Serpents escape unharmed….

The next day, Captain America outlines his scheme to trap Scourge to the sheriff. A phony news report is planted stating that one of the Bar massacre victims, Mirage, survived the shooting because of the disorienting effect of his costume. Scourge sees the report and vows to finish the job. Cap, meanwhile, disguised as Mirage, is led away to a cabin in the woods for "safety." Scourge is suspicious that they would allow a man they were trying to hide to wear a distinctive outfit, follows nevertheless. At three AM Scourge fills the cabin with gunfire, fooled by a dummy Cap had placed in the bed. Cap pursues the villain and Scourge balks at fighting back since he considers Cap a fellow good guy. He tries to discourage pursuit by firing explosive bullets but Cap drops him with his shield. The villain gets a clear shot at Cap—and refuses to take it, because "heroes don’t kill other heroes." He tells Cap his story: he is the son of a movie director who specialized in westerns; this led to his strict ideas of justice. His brother, on the other hand, saw violence only as a means to power and became a criminal called the Enforcer. Scourge then adopted a disguise and killed his brother as his first victim (IRON MAN #194). After that he decided to dedicate his life to eliminating costumed criminals, the most flagrant perverters of justice. As Cap begins to lead his prisoner away, Scourge is killed by an explosive bullet fired by an unseen assailant—who shouts, "Justice is served!" Given the choice between rushing the victim to the hospital or pursuing the assailant, Cap decides to save Scourge—though it does no good in the end. Cap leaves wondering whether there could be more than one Scourge….

Paul Neary
Dennis Janke
Ken Feduniewicz
Paul Neary (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Rachel Leighton)

Plus: Cobra (Klaus Voorhees), Scourge (Scourge of the Underworld), Water Wizard.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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