In addition to ramping up the Serpent Society storyline that has been slithering behind the scenes of Captain America since Mark Gruenwald took over as writer with issue #307, this issue also features a new development in the artistic career of Steve Rogers, which will comprise most of the coverage in this post (and the next).
But the issue begins with Captain America helping train a couple of the newer Avengers during the weekly “Let Cap Kick Your Ass” session (although he would never call it that).
Of course, Cap has to teach the fellas a little judo.
Starfox tries to cheat by using his powers of Prozac…
…which seem to work, judging from the look on Cap’s face.
Well, at least he laughs after he takes them both down.
Turns out you can’t bliss out the already blissful… especially when they’re ready for it.
It’s back to work for commercial artist Steve Rogers, if he hadn’t quit his advertising job in the last issue. But the sound of a familiar name gives him a new idea—and we get a glimpse into how Marvel Comics work in the Marvel Universe (a concept introduced way back in 1963’s Fantastic Four #10).
Apparently he needs to turn into Billy Batson before having his epiphany. (And buying comics at the newsstand, how quaint.)
If he thinks drawing superheroes is a noble pursuit, he should try writing about them!
Similar to the last issue, when Bernie started to tell him about her employment woes before he interrupted with his own, here Steve bursts into Bernie’s shop excited about his new career path before she reminds him she and her partners are in the middle of packing up their failed shop. (To his credit, you can’t blame him for being excited, and he does pivot fairly quickly.)
Let’s leave Steve and Bernie for a moment to at least glimpse the evil collective that will steadily become more of a presence in this comic and blog:
Take particular notice of the violet vixen in the lower righthand corner: Rachel Leighton, otherwise known as Diamondback, making her first appearance but certainly not her last.
We’ll see several of the Serpents soon, but first we return to the drawing board, where someone is not happy with the way he is portrayed by comic book artists of the day.
It’s strange that he says the first bit out loud below, but most important, he takes the first step towards a career drawing funny books… and makes the wise choice to draw some of his friends and not just himself.
Try as he might to draw, his other job interrupts, and Billy Batson turns into Clark Kent.
Cap meets his first three Serpent Society members, and he shows he hasn’t forgotten his days as a New York City beat cop.
After an eventful battle in which two of the snakes escape, Steve returns to Bernie, who needs simple compassion and sympathy, not an art show or “look on the bright side.”
In the next issue: Steve Rogers visits Marvel Comics! (But no, there’s no Ben Grimm in the next issue, sorry.)
Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: Society of Serpents
PREVIOUS ISSUE: Captain America #309 (September 1985)
NEXT ISSUE: Captain America #311 (November 1985)