This issue picks up from the last, after Captain Am… I mean, the Captain… and his friends Nomad, D-Man, and the Falcon violated police orders in order to catch four snake-themed villains in Las Vegas, representing the first real test of Steve Rogers’ new “outlaw” status. The cover, on the other hand, shows John Walker and Lemar Hoskins in a battle with the Leviathan; we’ll pop in on them for a quick page before Cap visits Iron Man’s book to ask him a favor (although it’s not really the best time for it, as we’ll see).
True to his word in the last issue, Cap and his friends submit to the authorities, and end up in a jail cell across from the Serpent Squad wannabes.
While the police question Cap, Jack and the (real) criminals engage in some friendly banter, during which Jack makes clear his displeasure with the current situation and reveals his alternative plan.
Next, he asks his compatriots why they’re not as upset as he is, and they both express faith in the system, although they admit that superheroes are not as familiar to people in Las Vegas as they are in New York (especially when the most famous of them is in a slightly different outfit).
Sam obviously enjoys Cap’s relative anonymity…
…but the police pull Jack in instead. Meanwhile, Cap tells D-Man what worries him more than their own predicament: He’s expecting more snakes soon.
After Jack returns and Sam finally gets his turn, Cap’s fears come true (or else he’s just calling a great tune).
After Sidewinder teleports two of the villains away, Cap once again finds himself considering breaking the law—and makes his decision very quickly, presumably based on the danger the villains pose if more are freed.
D-Man takes the chance to flex his muscles, and Cap quickly apprehends Sidewinder…
…and he’d better hold on tight!
After a quick trip to the street outside, Sidewinder and his “handler” teleport back inside the jail, at which point the villain takes a hostage.
Cap has to make another quick decision, although this time he lets us in on his thought process. In the end, he makes the only decision he can…
…although Sidewinder didn’t have to mock him for it. (No respect!)
Turns out Jack’s a critic too, although he seems to assume Sidewinder is telling the truth—more on this soon, but for now, the police return with the Sam to find half the prisoners missing and the bars in rather poor condition, and Cap calmly explains. (The fact that they were still in their cell probably went a long way to preserve Sam’s hard work winning their release.)
Jack’s not sure Cap heard him the first time… and Cap just as calmly explains his reasoning to him.
Before we turn to Shellhead, we’ll check in with Walker and Hoskins, who defeated the Leviathan, after which Walker catches his controller, Anthony Power, and in his rage he beats him to death. But his admission to Hoskins afterwards is more important…
…as it once again shows Walker’s awareness of the legacy he needs to, and wants to, live up to.
Meanwhile, in Iron Man #227, Cap drops in on Tony Stark, who’s in a fight of his own with the U.S. government (among others) over tech that he wants back. Cap needs a new shield, and Tony is only too happy to oblige… but not entirely for benevolent reasons, which he feels kinda bad about. (Bad enough? We’ll see.)
Iron Man (vol. 1) #227, February 1988: David Michelinie and Bob Layton (writers), Mark Bright (pencils), Bob Layton (inks), Nelson Yomtov (colors), Janice Chiang (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
PREVIOUS ISSUE: Captain America #337 (January 1988)