These two issues finish up “The Bloodstone Hunt,” a fun romp in the style of Indiana Jones and James Bond that sees Captain America and Diamondback visiting exotic locales around the world, trying to keep the powerful Bloodstone out of the hands of Baron Zemo and Batroc.
As the end of the last issue, Cap and Rachel began to fall into a snake pit in an Egyptian tomb, and issue #361 opens with the two in mid-fall…
…with the Cap managing to land and catch his companion while the snakes wake up to new snacks. (Good thing he was raised in the circus by the Flying Rogers!)
Diamondback barely has time to swoon before Cap tosses her back up…
…before thanking his tailor for his costume (although I didn’t know the “micro-chainmail” was all over).
As he prepares to make an epic high jump, Cap is more mindful of the physics of the situation than most, realizing that Diamondback’s arm and shoulder are the weak link in this plan. (Kudos to Mark Gruenwald for acknowledging this, which is all too rare in superhero comics.)
(Don’t worry: He gets the shield back.)
I’ve never dislocated my shoulder, but I’ve seen people snap theirs back into place, and the pain on their face is unforgettable.
Suddenly Rachel disappears, and Cap finds her on a Universal Studios movie set…
…that Cap discovers is all too real.
Cap uses the one advantage he can find to see what the mummy was doing with Diamondback, which could be either very bad or very good.
But after the mummy re-engages, Cap is almost spent…
…until Rachel gives him one more chance, and he does not hold back on the creature who almost killed him. (Understandable, but nonetheless brutal to see.)
I guess a sore throat isn’t that bad, though… and it looks like Diamondback doesn’t even have that.
The hug is denied—sorry, Rach—and Cap turns his attention to the mummy’s true intentions (while Rachel sees the mummy for the first time).
The mummy finds his voice, but Cap needs a translator… and it turns out that Diamondback knows some Egyptian (and it actually makes some sense why she would).
Having made a deal with the mummy, Cap reinforces that his word is his bond.
We interrupt our movie for a little foreshadowing, courtesy of the Avengers’ new pilot, John Jameson, hired in issue #358.
(You wouldn’t be chuckling if you knew where this was going, Crossbones.)
Back to “Captain America and Diamondback Meet the Mummy,” in which our heroes knowingly walk into a trap…
…with Cap making Cap jokes, as always.
Our story switches back to Bond as Jameson picks the two up, only to have company.
(If you’re too young to get that reference, see here.)
The scene continues in issue #362, where Jameson takes Cap and Rachel for a ride.
They do manage to get aboard the quinjet, only to learn they are down one Bloodstone fragment and oh yeah Cap got shot. (And they don’t even know about Crossbones yet.)
Soon everyone is in Tokyo, searching for another piece of the Bloodstone, and Cap offers to bargain. (They never explain the hat and coat, though they’re similar to the ones Batroc and his pals were wearing as they snuck around Tokyo earlier. Maybe it’s a preview of the ubiquitous jackets and pouches to come in the next decade?)
Batroc sets up the deal with Zemo, and Cap again gives his word (although, as we mentioned in the last post, Batroc really shouldn’t need reminding).
Naturally, Zemo has made no such assurances…
…leading Cap to figure out what he’s up to.
When Cap returns to the quinjet, he finds the Bloodstone fragments missing, and has to plead his integrity to Zemo.
This becomes a moot issue after all five pieces of Bloodstone show up… on Baron Zemo the Elder, of all people, whose corpse Diamondback found in Zemo’s vessel before the mystical Bloodstone animated it.
But “Zemo Sr.” announces himself to actually be “the Hellfire Helix,” ruining the family drama—not that Zemo Jr. appreciates this—but leaving Cap’s mission unchanged.
At the same time, Crossbones is trying to figure out what happened when his three Bloodstone pieces got near the two Diamondback had, but neither has been paying attention to the going-on outside…
…but Crossbones joins the battle just in time to put an end to Baron Helix Zemo Hellfire (while Cap is willing to sacrifice everything to save the day, as is his wont).
The younger Zemo still blames Cap for everything—as is his wont—and although Cap tries to save him, Junior, in his madness, dives in the pit after his fallen “father.”
And whatever happened to…
We’ll see her, and her captor Crossbones, in the next issue.
Captain America (vol. 1) #361, early November 1989, “Lair of the Living Mummy”: Mark Gruenwald (writer, co-plotter), Kieron Dwyer (pencils, co-plotter), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Bob Sharen and Gregory Wright (colors), John Morelli (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Captain America (vol. 1) #362, mid November 1989, “Necromancing the Stone”: Mark Gruenwald (writer, co-plotter), Kieron Dwyer (pencils, co-plotter), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Gregory Wright (colors), John Morelli (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: The Bloodstone Hunt
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #358-360 (September-October 1989)
ALSO THIS MONTH: Avengers #310 and Fantastic Four #333), West Coast Avengers #49, West Coast Avengers Annual #4, Thor Annual #14, and Fantastic Four Annual #22), and Amazing Spider-Man #323-325 (November 1989)