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Captain America #328: Review

Apr 1987
Mark Gruenwald, Paul Neary

Story Name:

The Hard Way!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Captain America #328 Review by (December 15, 2012)
Review: One of the more likeable supporting players makes his heroic debut in this issue: Dennis Dunphy, alias Demolition Man, alias D-Man. As introduced, he’s a smart and friendly lug, easy-going yet dedicated to helping Cap take down the Power Broker. His talents come to the forefront during the upcoming “The Captain” story arc and he is seen to be a valuable, if not outstanding team member. Sadly, later writers would treat him as a loser and a clod, with Ed Brubaker, who had already killed off Peggy Carter and Fred Davis in 2011-12, decided to turn him into a brainwashed villain and eliminate him too. Poor Dennis deserved better. This issue was a nice intro, telling us what we need to know about the character and even having him rescue a helpless Cap. Not a flashy issue but a nice one.

Comments: Origin of D-Man (Demolition Man); Dennis Dunphy first appeared in THE THING (1983) #28, and subsequently in issues #29, 33-36. Cap’s first encounter with Super-Patriot took place in CAP (1968) #323. Thing, Ms. Marvel, Super-Patriot, and the Buckies are seen in flashbacks to these stories. Cap’s first meeting with Karl Malus was in issue #308. One of the fan letters is by Lorne Teitelbaum who is now a professor at Georgetown University and an expert in foreign policy and national security issues (concerns reflected in his letter).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #328 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In search of info about the Super-Patriot (whom he fought last issue), Captain America arrives at the Los Angeles headquarters of the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. Entering the training area, Cap is confronted by several wrestlers who assume he is just another athlete adopting the persona of Captain America as a gimmick. When he insists he is the real McCoy, a few of them attack him to find out who he really is. At first Cap’s agility allows him to dodge the superstrong fighters but soon he is overwhelmed by superior numbers. The struggle is halted by Dennis Dunphy, a wrestler who calls himself Demolition Man. To test his identity, he asks Cap when he first met the Thing and is satisfied with the answer. In the locker room, Cap tells Dunphy he is looking for a bad guy who may be associated with the UCWF; while in the showers (!), Dennis fills Cap in on his own background: he was a college football star who wasn’t good enough for the pros. He was directed to a mystery man called the Power Broker who put him through a treatment that gave him super-strength, but he needed to take pills to deal with the side effects. Trying out for the NFL again, Dennis learned he was now too powerful to play with normal athletes (he pulverized a football when he kicked it) so he joined the UCWF. That’s where he met Ben Grimm, the Thing, who shut down the Power Broker; Dennis then learned that the pills he and his pals had been taking were addictive, a means to force the enhanced wrestlers into his control. A difficult struggle with withdrawal led Dennis to his present clean state. A search through the company files turns up no leads so the next step is to find the Power Broker; Dennis volunteers to accompany Cap on his search….

Meanwhile in Washington, a pair of bureaucrats are poring over Steve Rogers’ tax returns and realize that since he was not serving the government in an official capacity during his years trapped in the ice, he was not entitled to the million-dollar payout covering his back pay….

That night, Dennis Dunphy meets up with Cap—and he brought along a disguise, a costume patterned after Daredevil’s original yellow-and-red design. The two check out former addresses for the Power Broker but turn up nothing. The next morning, Steve fills his temporary partner in on his confrontation with Super-Patriot and the Buckies and his determination to hunt them down. Steve and Dennis separate and a few days later the wrestler contacts Cap with the current address of their quarry, picked up at a dojo where the bad guy was recruiting. They head to the ice cream parlor which is a front for the lab and Steve enters (in civilian clothes) and is ushered inside. His vital statistics are secretly monitored and he is questioned by a shadowy figure behind a desk. When a hidden lie detector questions Steve’s assertion that he wants to be stronger so he can become a famous hero, he leaps at the interviewer to discover it is only a dummy with a speaker attached. Suddenly, two giant bruisers, Mangler and Bludgeon, enter and attack Steve, who seizes the opportunity to escape deeper into the building. He comes upon Dr Karl Malus but is shot with tranquilizer darts by a guard. Steve’s unusual readings pique Malus’ curiosity and he orders Steve strapped into a treatment platform and bombarded with the augmentation rays just to see what would happen. Meanwhile, Demolition Man, having waited a half hour for Steve, crashes his way into the secret facility , defeats the two hulking bruisers and frees Steve. He then nabs Malus, who reveals that exposure to the rays would have made Steve’s muscles explode. Steve debates within himself whether to have the mad scientist complete the strength augmentation process to make him a true super-hero but decides against it. They await the authorities.

In Washington, the Commission dispatches agents to bring in Captain America….

Paul Neary
Vince Colletta
Ken Feduniewicz
Mike Zeck (Cover Penciler)
John Beatty (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Matt Murdock)

Plus: D-Man (Demolition Man), Dr Karl Malus, Super-Patriot.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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