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Captain America #322: Review

Oct 1986
Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary

Story Name:

The Chasm

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Captain America #322 Review by (August 15, 2015)
Comments: Part two of two parts. The letters page is entirely occupied with the results of the “Design the Headquarters of the Serpent Society Contest” from issue #315.

Review: We have a rarity here: an issue narrated by Cap himself; this gives him the opportunity to explain his ideals directly to the audience, especially when he is alone in the story. It also makes the story feel like a lecture, though the writing manages mostly to downplay this. Cap reveals that he does not represent America’s government or policies but her principles: freedom, justice, equality, opportunity. And to that end he believes life is sacred. And therein lies the problem: with this issue the pacifistic Mark Gruenwald tries to establish the Cap has never killed anyone in the line of duty. Moreso, he claims that Cap is even uncomfortable with hitting an enemy when he isn’t looking! And the villains know that Cap will not progress beyond empty threats when questioning them. Seriously, dude? A Super-Soldier never killed anyone during wartime? And in this issue, Cap states that war is necessary at times, like now, when terrorists are threatening America. So how can war be conducted without killing, especially with a view to defeating evil? Looks like Gruenwald did not think this through, though I hope some of these questions are addressed in later issues. Thematics aside, it’s Paul Neary’s art that saves the day, an energetic battle scene with Cap crashing through the baddies single-handedly followed by stark scenes silhouetted by the snow storm. Cool.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #322 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
At the snowbound ULTIMATUM base, Captain America, backed by SHIELD forces, tears through hordes of the terrorist agents, distraught over having killed one of the baddies last issue. Finally he spies his target: the enemy leader Flag-Smasher taking off in a copter. Cap leaps from a roof and catches onto the copter’s skis and he and his foe fight in the crowded cockpit until the machine crashes into a mountain, spilling its occupants into the snow. They continue their brawl on the snowy precipice until Flag-Smasher mistimes a leap and plunges into the chasm below. Cap huddles in a burrow until the storm subsides then goes out in search of his foe. Discovering the injured Flag-Smasher alive, Cap digs another burrow and huddles with his foe, keeping him warm though the night. At dawn, Cap carries him though the wilderness; when F-S awakens, he mocks Cap for his ideals, while Cap puts in a pitch for his side of the conflict. The two are found by a trio of ULTIMATUM agents in a copter. Cap quickly takes them all out and finds F-S aiming a gun at him. At the last moment, the villain relents, waiting for a better opportunity. Cap flies his captives back to the base and the waiting SHIELD forces. 

Paul Neary
John Beatty
Ken Feduniewicz
Paul Neary (Cover Penciler)
Joe Rubinstein (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)

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