This issue is more of a story about the Cosmic Cube (or Cubes, as it were) than it is about Captain America, but there is still a little character work about Cap to discuss here. (I will skip a lot of background about the Cube Cosmic, though, so I recommend picking up the issue in the dollar bins if you just have to read it.)
…and some preliminary material about the various parties interested in the Cube (whom we’ll meet soon), we finally see our hero in action, called to Project Pegasus to answer an emergency call, while hoping it isn’t about the Cube. (Boy is he going to be disappointed.)
“This is such a massive threat that I’d better handle it alone” doesn’t make much sense, but hey, what do I know.
When Cap gets to Project Pegasus, he finds it under attack by the evil scientists of AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics), but his ship’s sensors pick up the Cube’s readings in the woods nearby, carried by a guy we remember from way back in Marvel Two-in-One #4-5. Cap tries to assert his authority, but Mr. Chill is having none of it.
Cap’s normal tactics are useless against
Wundarr Aquarian’s power nullification, but he knows a similar technique himself…
…and the Aquarian fumbles the ball at the five-yard line, only to be recovered by AIM! (The refs say nothing, of course…. typical.)
For once, Cap screwed up but he doesn’t feel bad about it, claiming that there is simply “no time for regrets.” (To be fair, this is true, but odd for someone who makes a habit of beating himself for much lesser transgressions, most of them in his head.)
Is Aquarian playing the loner for real, or does he not want to work with someone who just gave the deadliest weapon in the universe to the enemy? We’ll never know!
It almost seems like Cap is regretting not calling in the Avengers… almost.
Cap follows the A.I.M. craft back to their headquarters, where they have already sealed the Cube away, and after saying goodbye to his ship—actually the Avengers’ ship, which means Tony Stark’s ship—he judges the number of beekeepers in his way to be just fine.
I really like the way the panels below are set up, especially the colors (courtesy of Bob Sharen), although I don’t seem to recognize the fighting move in the first panel.
While Bernard Worrell, the last remaining member of AIM involved in creating the Cube, reviews its history for the class, Cap continues to fight valiantly…
…until Aquarian arrives in the nick of time, nullifying AIM’s power source and joining with Cap to stop Worrell from claiming the power of the Cube for himself.
(Aquarian is trying so hard to look like he’s the one that pushed the door in above, when I’m pretty sure Cap actually did all the work.)
In what is probably the best line from this story, Cap points out below that courage is meaningless in the absence of a reason to be courageous.
Cap and Aquarian do battle with the Cube-powered Worrell until the latter finally succeeds in using it to reshape the world as he sees fits, rendering him a god, yet Cap remains defiant.
Hey, they’re still alive!
Realizing Aquarian and his power nullification… umm, power… is the more serious threat, Worrell uses the Cube to send him to the mountains of Tibet, hoping to make Cap give up. (Right.)
I don’t know about that, Bernard, because you continue to toy with Cap as the Red Skull always does, first removing his bones…
..and then turning his shield into a crab, until at last he tries to kill him. To no one’s surprise, though, this doesn’t work as intended.
As Cap continues to recover, he taunts Worrell, a bold strategy (to say the least) when someone is holding the Cosmic Cube…
…but the point is moot once the Cube begins to transform, revealing its sentience, and then showing Worrell the sickness within his soul—and perhaps the Cube’s as well.
The Cube rejects Cap’s offer, and is finally calmed by the fella below, who kindly introduces himself.
Don’t ask—just know that the Shaper of Worlds is actually a Cosmic Cube developed by the Skrulls, now developed and “matured,” who will know guide his “kin” (who will later be named Kubik) in the same process. (Kubik is not to be confused with Kobik, the sentient Cube developed by SHIELD and used by the Red Skull to transform Cap into an agent of Hydra, which led to the recent Secret Empire storyline.)
But puberty will be quite a trip!
Captain America (vol. 1) Annual #7, October 1983: Peter Gillis (writer), Brian Postman (pencils), Kim DeMulder (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Diana Albers (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Not yet collected.