These two issues contain a fairly standard alien invasion story—just look at the cover to the right—one that, in terms of Captain America, serves mainly to show his growing concern over the Vision’s odd behavior (which only gets worse, as we will see when Cap next appear in this title in issue #251).
In issue #244, the Avengers gather for a brief respite on the waters near Kennedy Space Station in Florinda, ahead of a meeting to discuss mysterious occurrences there of late. Cap’s getting ahead of the game, asking the other Cap to make sure everything’s OK, while trying to keep things casual at the same time.
But he learns the true meaning of casual when the Wasp interrupts his work thoughts to join the rest of the team on deck…
…where it seems only the women on the team are in swimwear (what a surprise). For his part, Cap does disrobe a little, but just ends up having to explain his state of overdress.
Turns out he wasn’t as “out of uniform” as he claimed to Captain Marvel above… and good thing, because the Avengers are called to action when space center is attached by a quartet of “rocketeers.” After defeating three of them, some of our heroes attend to rescuing service personnel while Cap and the Wasp toy with the last one.
But the villains soon escape under the cover of a mind-numbing fog that affects even the Vision, despite his protestations to the contrary, and his defensiveness is noted by both Cap and the Wasp.
Later, the Avengers meet with General Bridges, head of military security in charge of guarding the space shuttle, and Dr. Cather, who is conducting scientific experiments there, including his own ion rocket, and everybody shares what they know about the variants of Skrulls known as dire wraiths. Bridges and Cather disagree about what deserves greater protection, the space shuttle or Cather’s rocket, but Bridges pulls rank and devotes his personnel to help the Avengers guard the shuttle… which greatly upsets the Vision, triggering Cap’s concern once again.
Note how Cap still defends his chairperson, preserving team integrity (which is also called keeping dirty laundry within the family).
Later, visitors to the base are revealed to be wraiths… as is Dr. Cather, who escapes in his ion drive rocket, unaware that the Wasp is inside as well. What’s more, the captured wraiths tell the Avengers that the ship, which they had all been working on, is faulty and likely to explode.
In issue #245, Captain Marvel flies up to the rocket, checks on the Wasp and confronts Cather, then radios down to Earth to confirm the danger. Vision takes charge, and when Cap questions his orders, Vision convinces him of their wisdom, but leaves him skeptical and suspicious nonetheless.
I’m sure Cap feels more comfortable when alone with the general…
…until he discovers the captured wraiths are hardly helpless, and the general is not actually the general.
Below we get a welcome bit of Cap solo action as he plays possum to escape the general’s fate.
Meanwhile, Vision and Starfox have joined Captain Marvel and the Wasp in space, and together they take care of Cather and his rocket, unaware of Cap’s predicament on the ground. Luckily for him, “Big Eagle” has help… but who?
Cap uses the time he has to line up things just right…
…for his mysterious partner to blow the case wide open!
But the Scarlet Witch is not done saving Cap’s life…
…although it’s interesting that she feels remorse for the dead wraith whereas Cap has not shown any (following the general yet questionable pattern in superhero comics of “enemy lives don’t matter if they’re aliens or monsters”).
When all is said and done, Cap meets the new head of security…
…and I’m totally sure he’s not a wraith, no chance.
Avengers (vol. 1) #244, June 1984: Roger Stern (writer), Al Milgrom and Carmine Infantino (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Christie Schiele (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Avengers: Absolute Vision Book Two.
NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #251-252 (January-February 1985)