These three issues of Captain America comprise the title’s involvement in the “Acts of Vengeance” crossover (which you may have noticed blazoned across each of the covers above), in which the Marvel villains got together (under the crafty leadership of Loki) and decided they’d have a better chance against the heroes if they switched foes. There’s actually more to it than that, but we won’t see the villains’ intrigue in these posts… just our usual Captastic content. Plus: The last two issues of the second Damage Control miniseries, also tying into the event (for what it’s worth).
As issue #365 opens, Cap and Diamondback (aka Rachel Leighton) are returning from their Madripoor adventure of the last two issues, and the leader of the Avengers learns for the first time that Avengers Island is no more (as of Avengers #311).
Cap and Rachel make their way to the ground, at which point he tells her that this is now an Avengers mission, and she does not qualify… but she is more occupied by a cute squirrel on the ground.
Just kidding… she saw some quinjets and other Avengers personnel on a barge, but is Cap grateful? She definitely doesn’t think so.
Jarvis fills him in on what happened, and for some reason Cap is stuck on one word.
“Sunk”… ha, it does sound kinda funny, doesn’t it?
After he visits Four Freedoms Plaza with Thor in Fantastic Four #334 to find some lodging, Cap reports back the bad news, and Jarvis has a better idea.
While there, Peggy tells her former beau that one of their WWII-era friends is about, and Cap goes looking for him…
…and finds him, even more upset than usual.
After practicing some quick defensive maneuvers above, Cap goes on the offensive below, using his new favorite move (seen in issues #361 and #364), before noticing the little device on the back of Namor’s neck.
That would be Iron Man’s enemy Controller, natch, whom Crossbones recruited earlier in the issue on behalf of the Red Skull to ensnare Namor after he rejected Loki’s invitation to join his pre-Cabal Cabal. (Got it?)
Oh, it’s a shame Lady Liberty had to see this:
Acknowledging the Sub-Mariner’s strength advantage, Cap finds he must resort to subterfuge…
…followed by a swift backhand, designed to disable the Controller’s device.
But when Namor falls flat on his face, Cap realizes his blow may have done much more harm than he planned, which prompts both guilty and vengeful feelings.
In issue #366, Cap has Hank Pym check Namor out, and he assures Cap he didn’t hurt his fellow Invader permanently, but also warns that trying to remove the device may do it instead. So Cap comes up with a plan that I imagine even Tony Stark would be proud of.
Thanks to Hank and Fabian (Stankiewicz, former goofy villain and now the Avengers resident tech guru), Cap finds the Controller in a wild flying machine of some sort, which he boards…
…and drops in on the villain (although he could have knocked before barging in).
The Controller is not alone—with him are Crossbones and “The Voice” (nothing to with the TV talent show), one of Hank Pym’s early foes, endowed with powers similar to the Purple Man. And did I mention that the Controller’s device also allows him to absorb his victim’s powers? ‘Cause it does, unfortunately for Cap.
This is a family-friendly blog, so I definitely won’t call attention to the sound effect above. <snicker giggle snort>
At least they wouldn’t use that one again OH COME ON!
After taking the wind out of the Voice’s sails before he could finish his command, Cap returns to the Controller, driving him over the edge… and out of the plane, which was not planned, so after him Cap goes.
Interlude: What’s Diamondback up to while all this is going on? Resisting the temptation to commit crimes, so as to not to spoil any progress she’s made with her favorite Avenger.
Back to Cap and the Controller, having successfully landed: The villain nails Cap with one of his devices…
…which, in this case, is exactly what Cap wanted. (And Namor’s strength advantage nicely worked in his favor!)
Speaking of the Sub-Mariner, he comes to in issue #367 after Hank manages to remove the control-disc…
…and Cap’s probably the only one who could calm him down before he destroys the entire lab.
Of course he did.
After Namor mentions the involvement of Doctor Doom and the Red Skull in the larger picture, Cap reflects on the return of his archfoe, still not convinced that he’s the genuine article (even after issue #350).
He arrives in Washington just in time to find the Controller after a “disagreement” with Magneto (whom we will visit with soon).
Cap gives the Controller a taste of his own medicine (to the tune of a different sound effect, thankfully).
Cap makes a really bad… well, is it even a joke? (Plus, he already used a version of it above.) No matter, it’s time to find “whoever.”
After searching, Cap finds one of his broken toys (reclaimed in issue #354) among the evidence of what seems like quite the battle.
Settle down Sherlock, we know the answer from earlier in the issue: Magneto confronted the Red Skull about his Nazi past (and present), but the Skull threw Erik’s own actions in defense of mutants back at him, along with a version of the classic “we are not so different, you and I.”
After the fight Cap saw the aftermath of—which Magneto won—the Master of Magnetism imprisons the Red Skull to reflect on his actions.
Apparently, Mark Gruenwald was upset about how other writers in the “Acts of Vengeance” events had written these two as working together with no hint of their core ideological conflict, and wrote this issue to correct this oversight (which was important enough to claim the cover, as seen above).
Now we shift gears a lot to Damage Control #3, where the firm’s John Porter enlists the Avengers’ help in light of a labor action, and Cap offers She-Hulk. (I’m sure Cap would not endorse “scab” labor if he weren’t so concerned about the danger to persons and property.)
And what’s Jonny Quest doing there, anyway?
You will no doubt recall from issue #2 that Damage Control is also managing the relocation and renovation of Avengers Mansion, with which Cap and especially Janet have issues.
In Damage Control #4, Cap and the Avengers perform “normal” heroics…
…with Cap characteristically insisting on leaving no one behind in a dangerous situation.
Damage Control promises to help, but Cap is growing impatient, and in the end has had enough.
But everything’s going to be OK, because Nick Fury is here! Nonetheless, Cap is willing to risk his life to help, whether or not Porter agrees.
Cap and Porter go into together, the mighty shield coming in very handy, when Porter runs off suddenly…
…only to reappear with a child he saved. (But don’t tell anyone!)
In the end, Cap mends fences with Porter… but reminds him that he has a powerful lawyer on retainer.
Captain America (vol. 1) #365, mid December 1989, “Submission”: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Kieron Dwyer (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), John Morelli (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Captain America (vol. 1) #366, January 1990, “Remote Control”: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Nelson Yomtov (colors), John Morelli (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Captain America (vol. 1) #367, February 1990, “Magnetic Repulsion”: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Kieron Dwyer (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Steve Buccellato (colors), John Morelli (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: The Bloodstone Hunt
Both collected in: Damage Control: The Complete Collection.
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Avengers #312, Fantastic Four #334, The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #9, and Quasar #5 (December 1989), Avengers #313, West Coast Avengers #54-55, Avengers Spotlight #29, Fantastic Four #337, and Punisher #29 (January-February 1990), and Avengers #314 (February 1990)
NEXT ISSUE: Captain America #368 (March 1990)