Like last month’s Avengers #325, this issue of Captain America bridges a gap, this time between the twice-monthly story, “Streets of Poison,” that began in issue #372, and the three-part Diamondback-centered storyline starting in the next issue (with a preview in this issue’s back-up, which is touched on at the end of this post).
The opening splash reminds us that, as of issue #377, Captain America no longer has any super-soldier serum in his system, following a total blood transfusion to cure him on the effect of the drug Ice (after being trapped in an explosion in a drug warehouse in issue #372). Not that it seems to have affected him much, of course.
It also hasn’t diminished his tendency to launch into speeches, this time about the importance of personal fitness, until he’s interrupted by an emergency call from Peggy Carter.
Cap is duly impressed by Quasar’s improving skill with his
power ring quantum bands…
…but has to call him (finally) on his over-the-top behavior, which is overly chummy at best and downright groveling at worst.
Of course, Quasar only hears what he wants to: “blah blah blah friends.”
When the guests of honor burst out of the courthouse, Cap and Quasar recognize them… somewhat… with the older hero taking command of the situation.
Oh, it’s Lloyd, of course… Lloyd! (We do know him, as we’ll soon learn, but there’s no shame in not remembering him—I sure didn’t!) But naturally, Cap is more concerned with civilians endangering by the falling debris.
Cap expresses his disgust at Lloyd’s conduct, expecting more from even his most devious foes, and then he remembers Lloyd from his role in the Secret Empire affair (specifically, as the editor notes, in issues #170 and #175).
In another scene, Lloyd explains to Karla, the better-known Moonstone, that he managed to acquire the power of Count Nefaria, and now goes by the name Nefarius. (Because of course he does.)
Quasar is able to track Nefarius’ energy readings to a church, which Cap has him seal off before assigning duties and then finding a way inside without having to damage the structure.
Cap finds the two Moonstone embracing—although for Karla it’s just an act, and not a good one at that—before he summons Quasar, who can’t help making a jab at Lloyd’s name either.
Cap gets Karla out of the church while Quasar fights Lloyd inside… and then outside, much to Cap’s dismay, which Karla tries to take advantage of, but to no avail. (I wonder if he had to hold back with that elbow blow, considered his serum-less state.)
Nefarius eventually gets the upper hand on Quasar, so Cap self-consciously flings his shield at his head… and Lloyd “catches” it in a way I don’t care to see again.
After Lloyd flings Quasar back at Cap, he tries to leave, and Cap doesn’t know how to stop him but refuses to give up all the same—until Karla saves him the trouble.
Karla decides to surrender rather than get knocked out again, and when Quasar comes to, Cap honorably gives her the credit for defeating Nefarius.
Quasar shares Cap’s remorse about the damage to the church, but Cap is more concerned with figuring out why Karla was so amorous toward Lloyd—and when she reveals her ruse, he seems sincerely impressed (or else he’s recently taken up sarcasm, when no one is around to hear it).
In the back-up story, Diamondback receives an anonymous letter warning her of danger, and after deciding to seek sanctuary in Avengers Mansion, she is abducted just outside the door… a development we will pick up in the next issue.
Captain America (vol. 1) #379, November 1990, “Moonstruck”: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Chris Marrinan (pencils), D. Hedd (inks), Nelson Yomtov (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). More details at Marvel Database.
Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: Streets of Poison
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #376-378 (September-October 1990)
NEXT ISSUE: Captain America #380 (December 1990)