Avengers #207-208, Marvel Two-in-One #75, and Fantastic Four #230 (May-June 1981)

These four issues, like those in the last Avengers post, have minimal ethically-relevant Captain America content, and I will not include as much story context as I often do, but they all contain something of interest for the discerning reader (by which I mean you).

In Avengers #207, the mysterious Shadow Lord has raised a city off the shore of Spain, not far from where Wonder Man just happens to be shooting a movie (with Beast tagging along), so Cap calls with orders and Iron Man offers a ride—courtesy of his “boss,” of course.

av207a

Things escalate, requiring the whole team, and some strategy from Cap…

av207b

…which we see below. (That’s Shadow Lord at the upper left, if you hadn’t guessed, with his hostage, Wonder Man’s publicist Rachel Palmer.)

av207c

In Avengers #208, Rachel summarizes the end of the previous issue: The Avengers manage to defeat the Shadow Lord, who reveals, before he dies (from non-Avenger causes), that he was trying to protect the world from a greater threat named the Berserker. In the nonsequential pairs of panels below, Cap tells Rachel he regrets what happened but defends their actions as the best they could do with the information they had at the time. Then, like a good leader, he asks for more information to make better choices next time.

av208aav208b

Before pursuing the Berserker, the team pays the Shadow Lord the respect and dignity he’s owed as a fallen comrade-in-arms—an uncharacteristically solemn and touching sequence for a character just introduced in the last issue.

av208c

When the team finally faces the Berserker, Cap speaks valiantly and defiantly before eventually falling to his foe.

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I won’t spoil which Avenger is chiefly responsible for defeating the Berserker. (I’ll just let you wonder.)

Our coverage of Marvel Two-in-One #75 begins with one of Ben Grimm’s legendary poker games…

mtio75a

…at which we learn that Cap has an advantage at poker that perhaps even he isn’t aware of.

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(Maybe Clint won’t bluff, but as we learn later, he does cheat.)

When the assembled heroes receive a distress signal from an alien queen named Nyglar seeking the Fantastic Four’s help against two of their foes, Annihilus and Blastarr, in the Negative Zone—an anti-matter dimension Reed Richards “discovered,” much to the surprise of its inhabitants—they debate whether to help, with Cap predictably wanting to help someone in need, Iron Man and Hawkeye being more pragmatic, and the Beast wrapping up with the most devastating comment of all.

mtio75c

As you no doubt guessed, our heroes do leave for the Negative Zone, where they fight both foes plus the Super-Adaptoid, whom Cap and the Avengers fought back in Tales of Suspense #82-84 and Avengers #45. The Negative Zone is hardly Cap’s natural habitat, but he avails himself well nonetheless, using his knowledge of strategy, leverage, and a little acrobatics.

mtio75d

Later, even a sprained arm doesn’t stop Cap, much to the amazement of his armored friend…

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…and, I’d imagine, the Super-Adaptoid himself, who again forces Cap to rely on his hand-to-hand combat skills against a much larger and stronger foe.

mtio75f

You thought I was kidding about the Super-Adaptoid acknowledging the virtues of Captain America?

mtio75g

Naturally, the star of the book gets to defeat the bad guy, after which Captain America is the one silently expressing admiration, seeing right through Ben’s self-deprecation.

mtio75h

Finally, in Fantastic Four #230—you know, Ben’s other title—we have Negative Zone shenanigans yet again, with the Avengers about to stumble onto, and into, Reed’s plans.

ff230a

Look at Johnny try to assert himself over the Avengers (literally)…

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…and then confuse himself with Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch—which is the only logical explanation for implying that he’s been at this longer than Cap (though he is technically right about his team).

ff230c

“The youth exaggerates,” verily!


ISSUE DETAILS

Avengers (vol. 1) #207, May 1981: Bob Budiansky and Danny Fingeroth (writers), Gene Colan (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Ben Sean (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Avengers (vol. 1) #208, June 1981: Bob Budiansky and Danny Fingeroth (writers), Gene Colan (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Roger Slifer (colors), Janice Chiang (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

All collected in: Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume Twenty

Marvel Two-in-One #75, May 1981: Tom DeFalco (writer), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), George Roussos (colors), Mike Higgins and Jean Simek (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in black-and-white in Essential Marvel Two-in-One Volume Three

Fantastic Four (vol. 1) #230, May 1981: Doug Moench (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), George Roussos (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in: Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four Volume Twenty


PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #204-206, Incredible Hulk #258, and Dazzler #1-2 (February-April 1981)

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #257 (May 1981), Captain America #258 (June 1981), and Marvel Team-Up #106 (June 1981)

NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #210-211 and Defenders #98 (August-September 1981)

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