Captain America #311 (November 1985)

Judging from the cover, you’d think this issue centers on Captain America fighting the Thinker’s Awesome Android, but that is almost an afterthought, at least as far as we’re concerned. After a glimpse of a killer targeting supervillains across the Marvel Universe (no, not him), we will focus primarily on Steve Rogers’ latest artistic gig: the new penciller at Marvel Comics!

Our issue opens with Cap interrogating the Constrictor, a member of the Serpent Society who, in the last issue, leaked information of their plans to the Avengers—not out of a sudden change of heart, but to eliminate some of his competition—and then got thrashed by another member, Anaconda. Constrictor’s not talking to Cap, though, who leaves when sweet Nurse Emmett comes to give the patient his medicine…

…but I don’t think this medicine is what the doctor ordered. Luckily for Constrictor, Cap returns just in time.

Of course, Constrictor’s needs come before chasing the nurse…

…and when he finally gets outside, Cap finds a discarded nurse disguise, leaving him no clue as to who the assailant was. But we know that it was the Scourge, an assassin who appeared in a number of Marvel titles around this time, killing minor villains—actually a house-cleaning instrument devised by writer/editor Mark Gruenwald (spoilers for later issues in the linked article).

We will see more of the Scourge in upcoming issues, but for now, we move on to the big event of this issue, in which Steve Rogers meet the Marvel Universe version of Mike Carlin, editor and former writer of Captain America in our world.

Carlin likes what he sees, especially Steve’s rendering of action, and offers him the gig of a lifetime.

It appears the Captain America book is not doing well in the Marvel Universe, and this new fella is just what the title needs, according to Carlin-616.

Like a superhero Santa Claus, Cap gets a lot of mail sent to Marvel Comics, including one from a young man named Bobby with a problem. (This also puts the seed of an idea in his head regarding how to be more accessible to people who need his help, as we’ll see later.)

Well sure, but he’s no Chris Evans!

As it did last issue when he first got the idea to draw comics, Steve’s enthusiasm for his newfound gig gets on Bernie’s nerves, although she tries to share in his joy (rare as the feeling is for the Sentinel of Liberty, with the world on his shoulders).

And exactly what is Bernie studying for? Asked and answered, counselor.

After Bernie cracks that nut, Cap takes off for little Bobby’s, and thinks more about how to be more accessible. (Bernie may have to figure this one out too!)

When Cap meets Bobby and his dad in their home, he makes an important point: Even when he goes to a lot of trouble to check out a problem, he’d rather he finds no problem at all. (In other words, Cap doesn’t make the sunk cost fallacy.)

Cap checks out the Hutchinson’s barn, and discovers the Awesome Android (sometimes known as Andy) inside…

…and naturally they fight, including the following sequence showing Cap using his shield in a different yet obvious way, as well as executing a nice roll.

This judge gives him a 9.5!

In the end, Cap deduces that Andy is simply defending his territory while awaiting further commands, so he decides there is no threat as long as he is left alone. (So much for respect for property!) But this diversion gives him a chance to assert that he serves all of America, even little Mayfield, Ohio…

…now he just has to figure out how to do it better.

Come back for the next issue to see what he comes up with!


Captain America (vol. 1) #311, November 1985: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Dennis Janke (inks), Ken Feduniewicz (colors), Diana Albers (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: Society of Serpents

PREVIOUS ISSUE: Captain America #310 (October 1985)

ALSO THIS MONTH: Avengers Annual #14 and Fantastic Four Annual #19 (November 1985) and Avengers #261, Secret Wars II #5, and Amazing Spider-Man #270 (November 1985)

NEXT ISSUE: Captain America #312 (December 1985)

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