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Captain America #332: Review

Aug 1987
Mark Gruenwald, Tom Morgan

Story Name:

The Choice

Review & Comments

5 stars

Captain America #332 Review by (February 7, 2013)
Review: Thus begins what many believe to be the greatest storyline in Captain America’s history, wherein Steve Rogers is relieved of the position and replaced with John Walker, an arc that will last through issue #350. And they are likely right. In this arc we have Steve reexamining what it means to stand for one’s country and ideals and what happens when the two clash. We also have the tragic career of John Walker, another idealist who is corrupted by power. Both men are superbly drawn, representing contrasting viewpoints but never ceasing to be people rather than positions. Kudos to Mark Gruenwald and to the fine support from underappreciated artists Morgan and McLeod, whose art serves the story rather than overwhelming it. And that cover with a dejected Cap standing on a shredded American flag, is a knockout!

Comments: Part one of The Captain saga which will run until issue #350. First full appearance of the Commission on Superhuman Affairs, though individual members are not identified until next issue. Warhead’s slogan “Make war some more” is a parody of the pacifist sentiment expressed in DC Comics’ war titles of this era “Make war no more.” Sole appearance of Inger Sullivan, though she is mentioned in AVENGERS #300; perhaps they were planning a larger role for her that never panned out?


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #332 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

On a cold morning in the nation’s capital, a man in military gear parachutes down to perch atop the Washington Monument. Calling himself Warhead, he hangs out his chute as a banner bearing the message, "Make war some more," and sets up a platform with weapons, supplies and his very own thermonuclear device….

Also that morning, Captain America visits the pentagon to pay a call on General Wexler to inform him that a US military team is working with Power Broker Curtiss Jackson to create a super-soldier and to warn him the Jackson is a villain who cannot be trusted. The General brushes Cap off as a pair of FBI agents arrive to take Cap to a secret meeting….

As Warhead fires a burst from an automatic weapon into the sky to let the gathering crowd know he is serious, Captain America is brought before the Commission on Superhuman Affairs. The group informs him that as Captain America was created and outfitted by the United States government and that Steve Rogers volunteered for the project and signed a contract, he is now expected to submit to the Commission which will assign and coordinate all of his activities. Realizing this would create a conflict with his ideals, Cap asks for one day to think it over, and the Commission, surprised that he did not immediately agree, warns him that he could forfeit the position and the task be given to someone else….

In Atlanta, news of the terrorist atop the Washington Monument comes to Ethan Thurm, agent to the patriotic hero Super-Patriot, real name John Walker. Thurm sees this as the perfect opportunity for John to gain some publicity—by defeating the villain on live television….

As the standoff continues, Steve Rogers checks into a hotel to find some solitude; he needs to talk to a friend but he is unable to reach Bernie Rosenthal, Jack (Nomad) Monroe, Nick Fury, or most of his Avengers pals. He talks to Sam (the Falcon) Wilson, who suggests he submit until the Commission asks him to do something against his conscience. Dennis (D-Man) Dunphy, who worships Cap as his hero, declines to presume to advise him, and Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) who refers him to a lawyer. Cap ponders his dilemma: he represents the country but the Commission is not his country, merely a set of bureaucrats in the political system—and as a symbol, Captain America transcends politics. If he submits, he would be forced to quit the Avengers and likely end up carrying out politically charged missions; if he refuses he will have to disband the Cap hotline and create another costumed identity while seeing another man fill the role of Captain America. He receives a call from the Avengers' lawyer Inger Sullivan who offers to fight for him in court. After several hours of brooding, he makes one final call, to Hiram Riddley, his number one fan. The boy’s open admiration of Cap and everything he stands for convinces Steve he cannot let down hid supporters on the computer network.

Downtown, Warhead has revealed his agenda: believing America has gone soft, he demands that the nation declare war on someone, anyone, or he will detonate the bomb… Super-Patriot arrives on the scene but his offer to help is rebuffed by the police. He is ready to give up and go home when Ethan comes up with a plan: the agent sets off fireworks, distracting everyone long enough for the hero to enter the monument. Super-Patriot races up the stairs for his mission. Reaching the top, he breaks through an window and uses climbing claws to reach the top. Warhead sees him and opens fire. Super-Patriot is protected by his Kevlar jacket and shakes the platform to dislodge his foe but inadvertently sends Warhead plummeting to the ground. As he falls, the villain blows himself up with a grenade, "going out like a man" as he puts it. Super-Patriot delivers the nuke to the authorities waiting below…..

The next morning, Steve Rogers stands before the Commission and tells them that he cannot accept their conditions. "To serve the country your way, I would have to give up my personal freedom and place myself in a position where I might have to compromise my ideals to obey your orders." Captain America represents the American Dream and he would have to compromise that dream to be what they want him to be. With that he hands over the uniform and shield and quietly walks out of the room.

Tom Morgan
Bob McLeod
Ken Feduniewicz
Mike Zeck (Cover Penciler)
Klaus Janson (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)

Plus: Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Commission on Superhuman Affairs, D-Man (Demolition Man), Ethan Thurm, Hiram Riddley, Holly Riddley, Super-Patriot.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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