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Captain America #321: Review

Sep 1986
Mark Gruenwald, Mike Zeck

Story Name:


Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Captain America #321 Review by (August 9, 2015)
Comments: Part one of two parts. First appearance of ULTIMATUM. Flag Smasher was introduced in issue #312. The Riddleys first appeared in #313; this is Holly’s final appearance, Hiram’s last will be in #332—with a surprise appearance in #443 many years later.

Review: Now there’s a knockout cover: Cap opening fire on someone he is really angry with! We see this take place in the story as well, with Cap gunning down a terrorist to save lives. Cap hates killing, it must be a “last resort” sort of thing for him, right? Well, we’ll see where this goes in the infamous next issue. And the absurd villain Flag-Smasher is back and now it seems that he able to persuade a lot of people that his ideas made sense—to the point where they would die for the cause. Wonder if he slipped something into their food—or hired the Purple Man? Meanwhile, the romantic sparks between Cap and Holly Riddely go nowhere; wonder why it’s here then? Yeah, Cap only shed one girlfriend a few issues ago, but here Gruenwald seems pretty serious about giving him another—and then Holly is never seen again. Sadly, in issue #443, Holly is said to have been in a coma since being shot by a carjacker. What can I say, it was the grim ‘n’ gritty 90s!


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #321 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Black-and-white-costumed hijackers on jet-skis board a passenger jet in flight over the Atlantic; their leader, the Flag-Smasher, takes control….


Captain America stops by the New Jersey home of Hiram Riddley to present him and his friends who monitor Cap’s hotline with matching red-white-and-blue team jackets. Cap stays to dinner, even removing his mask out of politeness. Later Hiram’s mom Holly and Cap have a quiet moment alone where she thanks him for being such a positive role model and casually hinting there may be a romantic attraction growing. They are interrupted by Hiram who brings a message for Cap over his monitor: Flag-Smasher is demanding that Captain America surrender to them or they will execute the hostages….


Later from their secret base in Europe, Flag-Smasher, leader of the group ULTIMATUM (Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind), broadcasts to the world his manifesto to see all national boundaries erased—and to show he means business he intends to execute Cap on television. Cap, in a borrowed Quinjet, flies across the Atlantic to search for the gang’s headquarters among other villains’ abandoned hideouts. By calculating distance and airplane fuel, etc., he decides to check out a former Hydra airbase in the snowy Swiss Alps. Tracking radio signals he finds an ULTIMATUM sentry station; quickly overpowering the two soldiers, Cap dons one of their uniforms and infiltrates the main HQ. Tricking a guard into revealing that the hostages are in the monastery, Cap dons jet-skis to head to its likely location. Entering the building, Cap quietly dispatches some of the guards but one he missed starts firing at the assembled hostages. Cap snatches up a machine gun and shoots down the trigger-happy guard. As he sends the freed passengers away on the plane, Cap vows to avenge his lost honor—that came from killing for his cause….

Mike Zeck
John Beatty
Ken Feduniewicz
Mike Zeck (Cover Penciler)
John Beatty (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)

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