The second issue of this miniseries expanding on Cap’s earliest years sees him continuing his costumed adventuring while picking up ways to do it better, until the army brass offers him a better (and more colorful alternative). Also, Steve Rogers meets someone who will be prove to be one of the most important people in his life, although he doesn’t quite know it yet.
We began where the last issue left off, with “disguised” Steve about to get axed, but his reflexes kick in and he finds a use for that revolver he brought along.
After making quick work of the men stealing military ordinance, Steve invents his own version of “Spidey hanging crooks from a streetlight with webs,” and then reviews his performance on his way back to Camp Lehigh.
I’m not sure it looks good to be this eager to leave exercises…
…even if it is to call Colonel James Fletcher from Project Rebirth to make his daily report, while leaving out a crucial detail Fletcher is waiting for.
Satisfied that Fletcher that is none the wiser, Steve waltzes off to plan the next night’s escapade when a small hammer (like a baby version of Mjolnir) whizzes in front of him…
…which came from that direction.
As James Buchanan Barnes anxiously improvises an explanation, we marvel at the pencilwork of Kevin Maguire, the master of facial expressions, especially in the last two panels.
After Bucky pretends Steve is his supplier and leaves with him to “sort things out,” Steve takes the chance to question his eligibility to perform his chosen market function, which tells the young man all he needs to know about his large new friend…
…to whom Bucky introduces himself before defending himself against the long-standing (in our world, at least) characterization as the Camp Lehigh “mascot.”
When night falls, Steve goes out again to find the smugglers the fellows from the previous night were working with, and wakes up the next morning to learn his adventures are big news on the base (though he has to play dumb about it, like a certain mild-mannered reporter we all know).
Steve returns to the barracks to dispose of his “disguise,” but is interrupted by Sergeant Duffy, who takes a moment to chew out his favorite young private before letting him know he has a visitor…
…one who is definitely a sight for sore eyes (and heads): Lieutenant Cynthia Glass, another member of the Project Rebirth team, on whom Steve developed a bit of a crush in the last issue.
Inside, he greets the rest of the team, plus a new addition…
…a real operator, from the looks and sound of him. (Poor choice of words in the third panel, though, especially during World War II.)
I assume he means the reports of Steve’s extracurricular activities, but also his sketches, including a study of his sweetheart…
…but that’s not what inspires the outfit in the box, which Gruber thinks will be an important propaganda tool for the country, assuming the right fella wears it.
Colonel Fletcher makes clear what Steve Rogers’ mission will be from this point on, expressed in terms we readers are well familiar with.
They send Steve on his first mission, to protect a prosecutor going after the smugglers he caught earlier in the issue…
…during which we first see Steve in full costume, with a glimpse above and the full view below.
We see some effective use of the early shield below (and actually as a shield in the last panel above).
Next, Steve turns to his suspected traitor…
…the driver, whom he handcuffs before giving the prosecutor a name to remember.
(No clue whether he thought of it on the spot or Gruber and the Project Rebirth folks gave it to him with the costume.)
Below we get a great double-page spread detailing his early exploits (as well as a view of everyone’s favorite Sub-Mariner, for some reason).
The readers see Colonel Fletcher and Lieutenant Glass leave for the Project Rebirth lab—without Captain America, who has delayed with PR duties— only to be abducted by superpowered Nazis working for the Red Skull, which General Phillips tells Cap about below.
Cap bristles at the order to stand down, given that he should have been with them, and especially when that order is reiterated by Gruber (spelled “Grubber” below).
Cap’s first stop is the cell where they’re holding the driver…
…who ain’t talkin’, despite Cap’s best (early) Batman impersonation, except to imply something disgusting about Cindy’s fate at the hands of the Nazis.
What does Cap do?
I think we can assume Cap only squeezed Hodge’s melon between the bars (despite Hodge’s protestations to the contrary); if even this seems excessive, keep in mind that Cap is new to this, hasn’t refined his moral code yet, and he’s in love with Cindy, any of which can explain his actions above (whether or not they’re all shown).
Come back next issue as Cap continues his search for Cindy and Colonel Fletcher, and Bucky learns two secrets—one we expect and one we might not.
The Adventures of Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #2, November 1991: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Kevin Maguire (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Paul Mounts (colors), Richard Starkings (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
PREVIOUS ISSUE: Adventures of Captain America #1 (September 1991)
ALSO THIS MONTH: Captain America #394, Avengers #341, Quasar #28, and Amazing Spider-Man #354, and Infinity Gauntlet #5 (November 1991)
NEXT ISSUE: Adventures of Captain America #3 (December 1991)