“Wait a minute,” you say, “are you telling me he’s covering a story from a holiday special as a standalone post? Not tacked on to the end of the post for this month’s issue of Captain America or Avengers, but actually dedicating an entire post to it?” My friends, it’s true: The seven-page story featuring Captain America in this very first Marvel Holiday Special is truly special, as you will soon see.
The stage for our story is set on the first page, as Steve Rogers remembers his World War II days alongside Bucky, before heading into the Christmas Eve dinner at the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) lodge, where he’s soon enlisted by Rebecca Proctor—who clearly knows him, so he must be a regular.
When they’re done, Rebecca asks Steve why he helped out, and his answer is exactly what you’d expect—serving those who served, as well as not wanting to impose on others during time with their families—but it’s her answer to the same question that comes as a bit of a shock.
Just in case Steve didn’t catch that, she gives her brother’s full name.
Back at the ranch, Steve uses the Avengers’ access to government databases—no Google yet, kids—to confirm her story.
Another fun fact for the youths: <cr> stands for “carriage return,” which is old-timey computer speak for the ENTER or RETURN key, because the same key on a typewriter sent the carriage back to start a new line. (If you don’t know what a typewriter is, just keep it to yourself—I feel old enough as it is!)
With new information comes new responsibilities…
…specifically, telling Bucky’s sister how he died.
On Christmas day, Captain America pays a visit to the Proctor home.
The grandkids are excited to see him: Scotty asks about his favorite Avenger before he gets to hold his second-favorite superhero accessory. (At least he can lift this one, although it does weigh twelve pounds, which is a lot for a kid his size.)
His sister Kim is obviously more of a DC Comics fan, but Cap is too busy thinking about the sacrifices he’s made to be the Sentinel of Liberty, at least before he pulls Rebecca aside to chat.
Without telling her how he knows, Cap lets Rebecca in on her brother’s secret life in WWII. (Whoever transcribed his words misspelled Bucky’s middle name, but you can’t blame Cap for that.)
In turn, Rebecca explains why Bucky never mentioned a sister, and then Cap gives her a memento, which she obviously treasures.
Consistent with his earlier reticence to impose, Cap turns to head out, but Rebecca won’t hear of it.
(Maybe Bucky didn’t mention her because she’s so bossy.)
Our story ends on a heartwarming note, giving Cap his first family Christmas celebration in many years, which he treasures as well.
Impressively, for what could have easily been a throwaway concept, Rebecca will show up a few more times in future issues, including at a long-overdue funeral for her brother (in 2001).
Following this story is the pin-up below by Rik Levins and Dan Panosian; maybe the Proctors’ house wasn’t the only Christmas celebration Cap had that day!
Marvel Holiday Special #1, December 1991, “Precious Gifts”: Len Kaminski (writer), Ron Lim (pencils), James Sanders III (inks), Marie Javins (colors), Roxanne Starr (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Not yet collected.
ALSO THIS MONTH: Captain America #395, Avengers #342 and Quasar #29, Infinity Gauntlet #6, and Adventures of Captain America #3 (December 1991)
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