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Captain America #400: Review

May 1992
Mark Gruenwald, Rik Levins

Story Name:

Murder by Decree!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America #400 Review by (March 21, 2014)
Review: Passable anniversary issue, hurt by the fact that the main story has to tie in with Operation Galactic Storm, so we’re treated to an awkwardly contrived episode that features a panorama of famous Cap villains but adds nothing to either Cap’s mythos or the epic at hand. The USAgent/Falcon tale is merely a pretext for bringing back D-Man, which wasn’t a necessary action. The third tale is most significant, being the origin of Diamondback and it’s gritty, though thankfully the Comics Code Authority prevents it from being as explotative as it would have been today. The epic as a whole? One of the best multi-comic crossovers, marked by a complex story, tight plotting, strong characterization, and consistent quality. And it actually tries to mean something in the end!

Comments: “Eighty Page 400th Issue Spectacular!” Part 15 of Operation Galactic Storm. Issue includes a cover gallery inside the gatefold covers and a reprint of AVENGERS #4 going back-to-front. Story 2 features cameos by Gilgamesh, Mockingbird, Wasp, Hank Pym, She-Hulk, and Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #400 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Follows THOR #446

As the rest of the Avengers head into space to locate the Shi’ar Nega-Bomb (with Iron Man feeling guilty about leaving the captive Captain America behind), Cap is brought before the Supreme Intelligence. He is buried by an explosion and awakens to find himself in a dark room; there he is attacked by a team of enemies—Red Skull, Crossbones, Batroc the Leaper, King Cobra, Flag-Smasher, and Viper—who seem very real. They insist that they have been brought there by the Kree overmind to kill the hero. Cap uses them against each other with Batroc switching sides at the end. Cap asks his new ally to unmask—and Batroc has no face, revealing that the enemies were created from Cap’s memories. The Supreme Intelligence, who was testing Cap to see if his mind would be valuable to absorb, rejects him for his independence and casts him away….

Meanwhile, the Skrulls are towing the captured Nega-Bomb into our solar system and toward the stargate to Kree space....

Continued in AVENGERS WEST COAST #82

Story #2

Out in the Cold

Writer: Mark Gruenwald. Penciler: Larry Alexander. Inker: Kathryn Bolinger. Colorist: Marie Javins.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

The amnesiac D-Man, living with the Eskimos since his near-death in issue #349 returns to the ULTIMATUM stronghold where he is taken captive by Flag-Smasher. The anarchic villain contacts the Avengers to demand that Captain America come to get him. Cap being out in space for Operation Galactic Storm, USAgent insists on going to pay back Flag-Smasher; against USAgent’s wishes, Falcon insists on accompanying him. The Agent walks in and the villain, realizing this is not the real Cap, orders him taken out and shot; the hero overpowers his guards and heads back inside for a confrontation with his foe. Meanwhile, Falcon has entered secretly and located D-Man. USAgent’s duel with Flag-Smasher ends with the two hanging from a deadly precipice; the villain refuses help from his enemy and falls to his apparent death while USAgent is rescued by the Falcon.

Story #3

Crossing Back

Writer: Mark Gruenwald. Penciler: Rik Levins. Inker: Dan Panosian. Colorist: Gina Going.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Diamondback, captive of Crossbones, is about to crush his skull with a cinder block while he sleeps and she flashes back to their first meeting. Young Rachel Leighton followed her delinquent brothers Danny and Ricky to a meeting of the gang led by the brutish Brock Rumlow. Wanting to joing the gang too, Rachel goes back later and is caught by Rumlow who rapes (implied) and beats (specified) her. Rachel’s disabled veteran brother Willy goes to shoot Rumlow but the gang leader is faster and kills Willy with a knife. After that Danny ran away and Ricky turned to crime, dying in a holdup gone wrong. And now Rachel has the chance for vengeance—but she decides becoming a murderer is no way to make peace with her past, especially if she wants the respect of Captain America….

Rik Levins
Danny Bulanadi
Christie Scheele
Rik Levins (Cover Penciler)
Dan Panosian (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Batroc the Leaper
Batroc the Leaper

(Georges Batroc)
Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Rachel Leighton)

(Sam Wilson)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

Plus: D-Man (Demolition Man), Flag-Smasher, Kree, Peggy Carter, Shi’ar, ULTIMATUM.

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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