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Captain America Annual #9: Review

Jan 1990
Roy Thomas, Jim Valentino

Story Name:

You Are What You Eat (Part 1 of The Terminus Factor)

Review & Comments

3 stars

Captain America Annual #9 Review by (March 19, 2010)
First annual since 1986.

a) The Terminus Factor Part 1; story continues in IRON MAN ANNUAL #11; b) ; c) Nomad story follows on the events of MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #14 and continues in the NOMAD limited series (1990).

Review: Another annual from the era of Marvel history when both writing and art were uninspired and downright mediocre at times, not to mention the muddy printing. 1) Interesting idea for an epic, featuring a monster that constantly grows throughout the series. The execution is entertaining but undistinguished. The chief flaw is that as the story progresses nearly all the heroes prove superfluous, to the point that only Thor and Quasar really contribute anything to the monster’s defeat. Some stories are just a bit too ambitious to work properly. Probably the best of the series, with Cap struggling against an army of murderous innocents, including his pal Iron Man. 2) Story does a very good job of shining a light on a little-known and underappreciated character, Reb Ralston of the Howling Commando, showing how he had to overcomes his fears to be an essential part of the team. 3) Grim epic is an installment in the saga of the new Nomad setting up his solo series. Good luck finding the other parts scattered among various titles.

Updated Comments: First annual since 1986. a) The Terminus Factor Part 1; story continues in IRON MAN ANNUAL #11. Terminus introduced in FANTASTIC FOUR #269-270; it returned in QUASAR #7; c) Nomad story follows on the events of MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #14 and continues in the NOMAD limited series (1990).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America Annual #9 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

A new volcano has come to life in Washington State. Tony Stark takes command of the investigation; he orders Persephone-1, a research capsule bearing Dr. Ramona Napier and Captain America, dropped into the boiling magma. Far below an odd egg-shaped mechanism bursts open, releasing a mass of glowing particles. The swarm rises upward and rings Persephone-1, blinding Cap and Ramona and causing her to lose control of the capsule and it sinks to the bottom of the crater. When the surface team loses contact with the capsule, Tony Stark excuses himself and dons his Iron Man armor in the woods. Cap manages to arrest the descent allowing Shellhead to locate it quickly and push it to the surface; Cap scoops up the unconscious Ramona and breaks through the jammed hatch, carrying her to safety. Meanwhile, the glowing particles have fallen into the river nearby and are eaten by trout, causing their eyes to glow. A band of locals then fishes in that river for the upcoming fish fry….

Later the heroes are the guests of honor at the town’s annual Trout Festival. Everyone has a good time, though Cap and Ramona are too queasy to eat anything. The first sign of trouble comes when the Mayor’s eyes start to glow and he acts like a snarling animal, launching himself at Cap. The hero easily subdues the madman but Cap and Ramona then find that many of the townspeople are acting in the same fashion. Cap calls to Iron Man for help, but Tony, having also partaken of the fish, fires his repulsor rays at them. The crowd has turned mindlessly violent and Cap barely has time to rescue a boy from electrocution when a man rips out high voltage wires in his mad rage, killing himself. Cap deposits the boy in a barrel of ice that held soft drinks and turns to face Iron Man, who is the most serious threat. The Living Legend of World War 2 hurls his shield and hits his friend in the armored jaw stunning him; the mad mob then swarms all over Iron Man, giving Cap an idea. The boy seems to be back to normal, so Cap orders Ramona into the helicopter and they take to the air. Iron Man repels the mob and pursues the chopper, firing blasts at it until it crashes down on the snowy mountain peak. Cap and Ramona emerge to see that Iron Man is right behind them, with the townspeople marching after him. Cap challenges Iron Man to attack him, and then has a rough time dodging his friend’s repulsor ray blasts. Shellhead punches and shocks his ally as Cap eggs him on, driving him into an even greater rage. Finally Cap flings his shield directly in Tony’s face and he responds by punching Cap off the edge of a cliff then dropping a rock on him. As he watches his former ally plummet, suddenly Iron Man reverts to normal and swoops down to rescue Cap. Cap explains that the townspeople were somehow turned insane by eating the fish (and Ramona links it to the glowing mass seen earlier) and they were attracted to energy sources, but cold overcame the effects of the contaminated fish. So Cap used the chopper to lure Iron Man to the top of the snow-covered mountain, figuring rightly that the townspeople would follow and he waited for the cold to work (which it did)….

Meanwhile, down river, a bear which had eaten some of the trout earlier slaughters a deer, its eyes glowing with fire….

Story continues in IRON MAN ANNUAL #11.

Story #2

A Soldier's Story

Writer: Randall Frenz. Penciler: Mark Bagley. Inker: Mike DeCarlo. Colorist: Evelyn Stein.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America is in the audience as Senator Robert "Reb" Ralston wraps up a speech on national defense. Suddenly, a crazed gunman leaps from the wings and fires two bullets into the Senator’s chest. Cap takes out the assassin with his shield then goes to the aid of his old friend. As Ralston sinks into unconsciousness, he mind goes back to the War….

In 1944, Reb Ralston was one of the fabled Howling Commandos; their mission: to rescue Howard Stark and his wife from a fortress in the Bavarian Alps where the Red Skull is holding them prisoner. The team parachutes into the hills and as they head for the rendezvous point they are suddenly ambushed by German soldiers who blind the Howlers with bright lights and open fire. Reb, separated from the others, is on the edge of panic, when Captain America and Bucky suddenly appear and overpower the squad surrounding him. The trio then head to where the others are pinned down by enemy fire and they attack the Nazis from behind, allowing Sgt Fury to rally his men and counterattack. As they continue with the mission, Reb begins to fear he is losing his nerve…. At the castle, the Red Skull has Howard and Maria Stark in a dungeon and he threatens her with torture if Stark will not build him an atomic weapon. Outside, Cap and the Howlers climb the mountain to reach the castle but on the way, Reb slips and is left dangling from a rope. Paralyzed with fear, he confesses his worries to Cap, who assures him he is merely having a bad day and helps him to the top of the cliff. They discover an air intake which would make an excellent entrance but only Bucky—and, it turns out, Reb—are slim enough to squeeze though the grating. Bucky and the frightened Reb are ordered to head through the ventilator system and rescue the Starks while the others create a diversion. As the Red Skull prepares to mutilate Maria Stark, bombs planted by the Howlers detonate and he goes to investigate. Bucky and Reb enter the dungeon and, while the boy hero frees the Starks, Reb finds himself in combat with a huge brute of a guard. He manages to defeat his foe and they lead the hostages out to where Cap and the other team members are engaged in a firefight with the Nazis. The Americans withdraw to a waiting plane while Reb stays behind to lay down covering fire. He waits almost too long and ends up running for the craft as it taxis down the runaway. Captain America reaches out…

…and Senator Ralston awakens in the hospital to find Cap holding his hand. Cap assures him he will recover and Reb thanks his old friend for his support.

Story #3

Walking the Line

Writer: Fabian Nicieza. Penciler: Don Hudson. Inker: Tom Morgan. Colorist: Ed Lazarelli.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Story continued from MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #14.

In a Georgia cemetery, Nomad watches from a distance as his informant, Patty Joplin, murdered in Miami, is laid to rest. He is shocked to see Umberto Safilios, Patty’s pimp, at the graveside, as he is convinced Safilios had her killed. As Jack Monroe, Nomad follows Safilios’ limo to the Savannah airport where, in the bar, he seizes one of the pimp’s men and holds him hostage to force Safilios to answer his questions. He wants to know why the criminal came to the funeral. Amused, Safilios responds that he was invited and refers Nomad to Patty’s father for the full story. He returns to the Joplin estate where he fights his way past the guards and into the house. He enters the study to find Joplin playing with a small child. The rich man knows who he is, having kept tabs on his daughter’s activities, and tells him his actions are misguided. Nomad explains his belief that Safilios, Patty’s drug dealer and pimp, should not have been at the funeral. Joplin reveals that Safilios is the father of his granddaughter, and that the criminal has information on certain unlawful business dealings of Joplin’s. The two men are in a stalemate: Safilios knows of Joplin’s crimes but Joplin has Safilios’ daughter. Returning to Miami, Nomad gears up for action, deciding to take a direct hand in the matter….

Story continues in NOMAD (miniseries) #1.

Jim Valentino
Sam Delarosa
(Unknown artist)
Herb Trimpe (Cover Penciler)
Herb Trimpe (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)

Plus: Howard Stark, Howling Commandos, Nazis, Nomad (Jack Monroe), Reb Ralston (Robert Ralston), Terminus, Umberto Safilios.

> Captain America Annual: Book info and issue index

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