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Captain America #336: Review

Dec 1987
Mark Gruenwald, Tom Morgan

Story Name:

Natural Calling!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Captain America #336 Review by (March 15, 2013)
Review: So where has the real Cap been while John Walker has been agonizing over the large shoes he has to fill? Agonizing about his own future, of course! Not to worry, here comes a living breathing object lesson to guide him on his path. Sure, it’s a bit contrived and preachy but for an 80s comic it’s remarkably well-thought out and mature. The crackpot left-wing idealist introduces another factor to impel Steve toward his upcoming decision, and as such, is quite welcome. The issue's highlight is Steve’s battle with the forces of nature, especially the deer stampede and the bear. The lowlight? Why is Vagabond in the issue? Really? She just kibitzes with Nomad and the guys for a few panels, then sits back and shuts up. One interesting aspect: Mark Gruenwald has Nomad take an instant dislike to D-Man—one which plays out only in his own head, as the good-natured fledgling hero is not aware of it. Makes Jack look like a jerk, but obnoxious is characterization, right?

Comments: Part five of The Captain saga which will run until issue #350. John Walker, the new Captain America, appears only on a news report. First appearance of Brother Nature, whose only other appearance is in THUNDERBOLTS: BREAKING POINTS #1 in 2008 (though he is mentioned in CIVIL WAR: BATTLE DAMAGE REPORT as a potential Initiative recruit).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #336 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

In a diner in Washington State, a televised news report recounts the adventures of Captain America battling the right-wing vigilante Watchdogs in the South, then moves on to the story the manhunt for a local eco-terrorist known as Brother Nature. The diner patrons, workers in the sabotaged timber industry, prepare to form a posse to hunt down and lynch the villain but Steve Rogers, bearded and incognito since resigning as Captain America, intervenes to talk them out of it. The mob turns ugly leading Steve to clobber a couple of them and leave with a warning. Steve takes off in his van, meditating on the events leading up to his momentous decision and how he broke the news to girlfriend Bernie Rosenthal. She told him to fight the court order with all of his resources but he was reluctant to act the part of victim or oppose his own government. His pals, Falcon, Nomad, and D-Man also had advice for fighting back but he took off for eight weeks to think matters over while traveling around the country. While he is tooling along a forest road, a massive crevice opens in the highway and swallows his van….

Meanwhile in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Nomad (Jack Monroe) and Vagabond arrive at D-Man’s home. Falcon arrives soon after and D-Man, who has been monitoring Cap’s hotline, explains why he called them together. The real Cap hasn’t been heard from in months and thinks they should try to find him….

Up north, Steve rides his motorcycle out of the pit and wonders what caused the earth to split open like that. He is found by Brother Nature, the wanted eco-terrorist, a shaggy-haired, bare-chested young man; he explains that his mission is to save the trees and orders Steve and his motorcycle out of the area. The ex-Cap determines to stop him but Brother Nature calls up a heavy wind to blow Steve away. The hero pursues and finds himself attacked by charging deer and another earth tremor; the villain, amazed by Steve’s athletic prowess, panics and sends crashing trees, birds, a bear, and lightning to stop him. Finally the desperate Brother Nature causes the ground to split open in a massive trench that engulfs the both of them. Steve cares for the injured man, who tells him his story: he was once a park ranger who discovered that timberland was about to be sold to private developers for exploitation. He tried to fight the move in court but was helpless against the corporate lawyers, so he turned to sabotaging the developers’ operation. He was caught and beaten by workers who left him for dead in a ditch; there he had a vision of the Earth Goddess, who appointed him her guardian warrior and endowed him with power over all natural forces. When they exit the trench, Brother Nature sees that his battle against Steve has leveled the forest he was trying to protect. As he leaves, Steve sees the parallels between himself and the eco-terrorist and determines that he will not go to war against his government lest he harm the ideals he serves.

Tom Morgan
Dave Hunt
Bob Sharen
Mike Zeck (Cover Penciler)
Bob McLeod (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)

Plus: Bernie Rosenthal, D-Man (Demolition Man), Nomad (Jack Monroe), Vagabond (Priscilla Lyons).

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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