This seminal issue of Uncanny X-Men establishes that Captain America met a fella named Logan and a young girl named Natasha early in World War II—a story that would be elaborated upon in Wolverine Origins: Our War—and also that the Black Widow is much older than previously believed (which enabled her to meet a newly minted Winter Soldier during her early days in the KGB in the 1950s).
This is also the first time we will see superstar artist Jim Lee draw the Sentinel of Liberty, starting with the issue’s stunning opening splash page that established the time and place for this part of the story, as well as (thanks to writer Chris Claremont) the difference between the mature Captain America of 1990 and the relatively “newborn” version of summer 1941. But note that, while he may be slightly unsure of himself at this stage, he still does not hesitate to launch himself into where he is needed.
(This story flips between 1941 and 1990, but Cap only appears in the flashback portions.)
In the double-page spread that follows (click to embiggen), we see Cap fighting members of the Hand, who are trying to abduct (or kill) the Russian man at the upper left (whom we will meet later).
Just at the right time,
Daredevil Logan shows up to help—but Cap offers him help instead, acknowledging that he wasn’t prepared to fight the Hand… this time.
Cap learns (and sees) more about the Hand before offering Logan his own; the two exchange names, with the future X-Man exhibiting his talent for snark.
Logan takes Cap and the Russian to Seraph’s bar for a drink, but has a run-in with Baron Strucker and his fellow Nazi first, which Seraph herself (the woman bossing Logan around below) has to prevent from turning into a full-blown brawl.
After Cap declines a drink, we learn that the Russian is Ivan Petrovitch, who would later become the Black Widow’s handler, chauffeur, and assistant, and Cap learns more about his new friend.
The three discover they have common interests, and then Ivan reveals a bit of information the other two lack.
Outside, they ambush Strucker, with Logan jumping through the moving car’s windshield, which surprises and impresses Cap, who is not yet aware of Logan’s mutant abilities. (Keep in mind, this story precedes Logan’s experience with the Weapon Plus program, so no adamantium on them bones yet.)
Logan takes the Nazi’s bullets that were meant for young Natasha, and Ivan memorializes him while reclaiming the girl, before seeking shelter with Captain Eyebrows.
I wonder how many employees at American consulates around the world even know who Captain America is at this point…
…and even though Geoffrey Sydenham does, he seems not to care, seeing that he’s a Nazi in spirit if not in name. (Oh, and he’s handing Natasha over to the Hand too.)
Just before Natasha is forced to kill Ivan, Logan reappears to kill Jonin, the Hand’s leader, instead, and free the incredulous Cap and Ivan.
Cap seems less concerned with Logan’s ease with killing than he will be later. This might be because this is “wartime Cap,” who hasn’t developed his peacetime aversion to killing, or maybe that he acknowledges the otherworldly nature of the Hand; perhaps he just regarded it as a necessary kill in an extraordinary circumstance (even if he might not have come to the same judgment after he gained more experience himself).
The trio takes care of the rest of the Hand and drive away in Seraph’s car with Natasha, who calls Logan “Little Uncle” (as she does in the 1990 storyline as well, much to the bewilderment of the other X-Men). Cap and Logan part as friends, again an interesting contrast to their later, rather more tense relationship.
ALSO THIS MONTH: Captain America #376-377, Avengers #322, Avengers #323, Marvel Super-Heroes #3, Spectacular Spider-Man #168, and Captain America Annual #9, West Coast Avengers Annual #5, and Avengers Annual #19 (September 1990)