Captain America #204-205 (December 1976-January 1977)

This two-part story is starts out with an epilogue of sorts to the saga of the Night People in the last three issues (as that story did with the Madbomb tale that preceded it), but soon transitions into a yarn about a strange being named Agron (no relation to the Glee actress, as far as I know) held at the S.H.I.E.L.D. psychiatric center.

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“Poor dude…”? Nope. Just… nope.

After seeing Agron, Cap asks to see the Falcon, who’s still under the effect of the Night People’s brainwashing from issue #203 and is under watch at S.H.I.E.L.D. (as is his girlfriend Leila) after the impressively relevant Marvel Team-Up #52. As we would expect, Cap reacts strongly and passionately to seeing his partner bound (for his own safety, but still).

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While Agron breaks free and attacks the S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel watching over him, we are treated to two full pages of Cap and Sharon reconnecting after their falling out in the last storyline. Cap tries to share his concerns about Sam and Leila, but Sharon basically says “they asked for it” and uses the situation to try to get Cap to quit. Her argument that Cap has paid his dues many times over is valid, as is her attempt to get him to simply live—both points that the cinematic version of Cap accepted, but the comics version rarely seems to.

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Compared to their silly exchange in issue #202, this one is positively deep, touching not only on Cap’s sense of duty but also his needs as a human being that go neglected, which Sharon insightfully recalls by prompting him to remember his days before Project Rebirth changed his life forever (days that he barely remembers, as we discover in the “Who Is Steve Rogers?” storyline beginning with issue #215).

When Sharon turns back to convincing Cap to quit, he turns her argument against her. (He must have learned that trick from Matt Murdock, Esq.)

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And… we’re back to where we were last time. (The illusion of change, indeed!)

Back at his hotel, Cap continues to mull over what Sharon said and how she left.

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(Sigh.)

Cap’s thoughts below are interesting. He starts by bullheadedly confusing respect for his views (which Sharon has and doesn’t need to “learn”) with acceptance of them (which she’s under no obligation to do). Then he turns to romanticizing his mission (which is fair enough)…

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…and then barrels into contemplating his dual identity (all too briefly for my tastes).

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But this battle-horse must have been corralled: Cap seems less focused on duty when called to help with a troublesome Agron who has escaped once (and I suspect will again).

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Luckily S.H.I.E.L.D. has another superhero on hand, albeit one that quite in his right mind, but eager to serve nonetheless.

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Issue #205 begins where the last left off, with Sam fighting Agron, who is… changing, as we see in the astonishing splash page below.

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At least we see what it takes to rouse the great battle-horse: a red alert, no less. If only they’d said that in the first place…

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At least he realizes his mistake in underestimating the threat, all for the love of Sharon… wait, no… Carol?

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Wait, who’s Carol? Did he see a poor Carol Channing performance? Ha, just kidding, Carol Channing never gave a poor performance. (Maybe he was thinking of Carol Borden, who is always up to trouble at The Cultural Gutter. That would be my guess.)

When Cap finally makes it to the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, he tackles Agron, who tosses him aside like a toy battle-horse. While he dedicates himself to taking down the creature, he’s concerned, as always, with the safety of the people nearby…

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…people who seem oddly sympathetic to “zombies.” (Maybe they’re zombies too. Maybe you’re a zombie! How do I know you’re not?)

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I don’t think the fella in the second panel below is helping very much, and even with the odd behavior from the crowd, Cap still tries to get them to protect themselves while he continue to fight Agron… or, at least, disturb him.

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Think how the future of video games would have been different if Frogger realized the cars could just pass over it.

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I guess when Captain America fights traffic, he really fights traffic! He decides to go over the next car, and luckily his partner flies by to save him.

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Together Cap and Sam lure Agron in a special container provided by S.H.I.E.L.D. (psst… it’s just a big metal can), putting a quick end to his threat.

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Love that last panel, so casual.


ISSUE DETAILS

Captain America (vol. 1) #204, December 1976: Jack Kirby (writer, pencils), Frank Giacoia (inks), Janice Cohen (colors), Gaspar Saladino (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Captain America (vol. 1) #205, January 1977: Jack Kirby (writer, pencils), John Vorpoorten (inks), Michelle Wolfman (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in: Captain America: Bicentennial Battles and Marvel Masterworks: Captain America Volume Eleven


PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #201-203 (September-November 1976)

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Marvel Team-Up #52 (December 1976), Avengers #154-155 and Super-Villain Team-Up #9 (December 1976-January 1977), and Invaders #11-12 (December 1976-January 1977)

NEXT ISSUES: Captain America #206-208 (February-April 1977)

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