All but one of the comics covered in this post tie into the “Acts of Vengeance” crossover event, which actually ends in West Coast Avengers #55 (as the blurb on the cover suggests), although most of the relevant Captain America content appears in the Avengers issue. (And how can I fail to mention John Byrne’s brilliant homage to Fantastic Four #1 in the first cover above!)
At the very end of West Coast Avengers #54, the greatest minds of both Avengers teams start to realize that the seemingly random villain attacks and the latest call for a superhero registration act are connected, and they’ve decided to take it personally.
In Avengers #313, we see a subsequent Zoom meeting from Jarvis’ perspective, focusing on the protests outside, in reference to which Cap acknowledges the Avengers’ only weakness, before heading underwater with Wonder Man and Vision.
There, Cap reveals that someone thought ahead when deciding to locate the Avengers headquarters on an artificial island.
Simon lets know Cap of an incoming message from Jarvis—although he could probably hear him better if he disabled the video. (Another thing we’ve all learned lately!)
In all seriousness, it is good of Cap to acknowledge how much Jarvis has suffered in the past, being left alone in Avengers headquarters when ne’er-do-wells come to call.
Wonder Man and Vision are attacked on their way back by the Wizard (one of the Fantastic Four’s foes), so it is Cap alone who returns to Avengers Park… but he is not alone for long.
(Patsy recently married Damion Hellstrom, Son of Satan, who is not as bad as he sounds.)
Below, Mandarin zeroes in one of the Cap’s key character traits and uses it to his advantage…
…and then tries to rub it in, one last time.
Cap is saved by Black Widow and Hellcat, and soon returns the favor as he rejoins the fight.
Having defeated Wonder Man and Vision (!), the Wizard catches up with his temporary partner the Mandarin, and Cap shows that you have to put him completely on ice if you want to stop him.
Nonetheless, he does appreciate the Vision’s quick thaw… to save him the inconvenience of adjusting his fighting style, of course.
In West Coast Avengers #55, the collected heroes realize what Thor has suspected all along, and for some reason Cap is incredulous if not skeptical.
But Thor convinces Cap and the rest, and they waste no time is confronting Thor’s brother…
…although I’m really surprised Sam’s rallying cry did not catch on.
In the final grand battle between heroes and villains, Cap wisely acknowledges what’s important.
After Thor finally defeats Loki and imprisons him underground, Cap asks for clarification on what happened, and this time Thor takes the opportunity to make a speech, tying in Loki’s recent actions with those that formed the team in the first place.
In a solo Iron Man story in Avengers Spotlight #29, the Avengers help Tony with a prison break, followed by an oddly uncomfortable conversation between him and Cap.
This will be a continuing plot point in upcoming issues of Avengers — for more detail, see Avengers #314.
In Punisher #29, Cap never interacts with Frank Castle; rather, Doctor Doom and the Kingpin observe our hero defending protesters (who seem torn between opposing Fisk and supporting superhero registration).
(Later in the issue we see a different view of what seems to be the fight between the Avengers and Freedom Force from Avengers #312.)
Finally, Cap’s least significant appearance this post (and the only one that is not connected to “Acts of Vengeance”) is from Fantastic Four #337, in which he wishes his friends well as they continue a thread from Avengers #297 (just before Cap returned to the group).
Avengers (vol. 1) #313, January 1990: John Byrne (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Mike Rockwitz (colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in Acts of Vengeance: Avengers (and eventually in volume 19 of the Avengers Epic Collection).
West Coast Avengers (vol. 2) #54, January 1990: John Byrne (writer and pencils), Paul Ryan (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
West Coast Avengers (vol. 2) #55, February 1990: John Byrne (writer and pencils), Paul Ryan (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Both collected in Avengers West Coast Epic Collection: Darker Than Scarlet and Acts of Vengeance: Avengers
Avengers Spotlight #29 (February 1990), “Tales from the Vault: Conclusion”: Dwayne McDuffie (writer), Dwayne Turner (pencils), Christopher Ivy (inks), Mike Rockwitz (colors), Rick Parker (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in Acts of Vengeance: Avengers.
Punisher (vol. 2) #29 (January 1990): Mike Baron (writer), Bill Reinhold (pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Gregory Wright (colors), Kenny Lopez (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in Punisher Epic Collection: Return to Big Nothing and Acts of Vengeance: Marvel Universe.
Fantastic Four (vol. 1) #337, February 1990: Walt Simonson (writer, pencils, inks), Max Scheele (colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in Fantastic Four Epic Collection: Into the Time Stream and Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walt Simonson Vol. 1
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #312, Fantastic Four #334, The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #9, and Quasar #5 (December 1989)
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #366-367 and Damage Control #3-4 (January-February 1990)
NEXT ISSUE: Avengers #314 (February 1990)
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