As you can guess from the cover, this is quite the eventful issue, bringing Steve Rogers’ time as Nomad to a sudden end in the most painful possible—although less painful for him than for someone else. (Look at me, trying to be coy while it’s right there on the cover, beautifully rendered by legendary artist Gil Kane.)
But the issue doesn’t get there right away, no siree. We open with Nomad fighting—I kid you not—Gamecock and his henchmen while trying to find the Falcon.
Gamecock. (And we haven’t seen the last of him.)
After someone takes a shot at all of them with a bazooka, Nomad’s foes scatter, and he faces someone even fiercer who is also looking for Sam, and who lets Steve in on the latest developments in “look who’s Captain America now.”
Now that she mentions it, I’m actually amazed no one in the Marvel Universe has taken the name “Kid Captain America.” (Just this YouTube star.)
On the way to find his former partner, Nomad makes an uncomfortable leap over the rooftops, only to hear a crowd confirm the Viper’s hopes from the last issue: that her death would spur a movement in the Serpent Society’s name.
Steve tries to reason with them, but they “know” what’s going on, as fanatics often do.
Above we see him rein in his anger a bit, and also reassert his newfound denial of any responsibility as the Sentinel of Liberty… a position he will come to question very soon.
When he gets to Sam’s office, he doesn’t find Sam, but his cat Figaro is there, and a couple friends who are looking for Sam too. (Sam’s very popular these days, it seems.)
Like he did in the last issue with the Roxxon guards, Steve realizes the cost of being a new and unfamiliar hero with the automatic trust he was accustomed to as Captain America. (And… really, Peggy? I swear, you’re almost as bad as Lois Lane.)
As Nomad continues his search for Sam, he finds a bank robbery in which all the cash was replaced by funny money, and he makes a pitch for the FDIC, which makes everything OK.
Actually, FDIC coverage was increased from $20,000 to $40,000 in 1974, but we’ll give Steve a pass on that. (He’s having a day.)
Next, he tries Luke Cage’s place, where he gives his two cents (to himself) on “heroes for hire,” and reminds himself what he’s in it for—and it must feel good for him to realize he’s still an idealist, because he hasn’t sounded like one for a while…
…especially with that crack about the US government!
Steve sees yet another bank panic—which must bring back memories from his childhood—and then hears another view on Captain America’s sudden disappearance from a “big fan.”
Like I said… a day.
Finally, the one “person” Steve should have looked for all along finds him instead, and soon he sees something to put his own bad day into context.
Steve sounds petulant above, but gradually he thinks things through, and comes to a realization (or two). Of course, he starts out with a decidedly hyperbolic statement about his ideals “dying,” then his naive beliefs about modern America being that much different from during WWII, and finally landing on the key issue…
…when he realizes that his trust was wrongfully focused on the people who ran the country rather than the country itself, its people, and the dream they hold in its name.
Steve finally realizes that he must protect America from threats from within as well as from without, including those from the people trusted by Americans to be on their side—as he himself was, until Americans were manipulated into losing faith in him, and in turn he lost faith in them. He turned inward, thinking only of himself, abdicating his sworn responsibility and letting others fill the vacuum he left… leading to tragic results.
He knows what he has to do (and it’s about time).
Phew… I missed calling him Cap!
Captain America (vol. 1) #183, March 1975: Steve Englehart (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Frank Giacoia (inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Tom Orzechowki (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
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