These two issues continue the storyline that started in issue #411, in which Captain America, Falcon, and Diamondback infiltrated an illegal weapons expo on AIM Island to find Rachel’s old foe Snapdragon, whom Rachel eventually killed in the last issue (unbeknownst to Cap). The current issues take us around the world, first to Wakanda and then to the Savage Land in Antarctica, ultimately bringing Black Panther into conflict with Ka-Zar (as you can clearly see above). Plus, in Iron Man we see Cap’s reaction to learning (again) that Tony Stark is (still) not dead.
Captain America #414 begins with Cap fishing Superia out of the deep after “rescuing” her from the clutches of MODAM in the last issue—after which Superia proves she doesn’t understand Captain America at all.
Does her enlightenment result in gratitude? Nope, not that Cap expected any.
When Cap is finally reunited with his partners—and Shang-Chi, whom Cap met in the last issue—Rachel finds it necessary to be coy about where she’s been (and what she’s done)…
…which is a much lesser priority after they are attacked by AIM’s version of Sentinels, who blast Cap and Rachel out of the sky. This apparently invokes Rachel’s memory of Snapdragon throwing her over the side of a cruise ship while unconscious in issue #388 (although she was wearing a bikini then), and in her panic she might have almost confessed to Cap.
Cap protects Rachel and Shang-Chi from AIM’s attacks, citing a previously unknown property of the shield…
…and then lends it to his friends while he looks for a way to get to the killer robots overhead.
Holy grappling guns, Batman!
Umm… shouldn’t he be holding onto the gun itself, because that’s where the retraction will happen?
After he maneuvers his way into a piggyback ride, Cap delivers an awesome comeback line while he uses one robot’s blaster to take out another.
After Cap’s new pilot Moonhunter picks up Rachel and Shang-Chi, and Sam catches Cap, they watch the AIM robots fall into the water and then explode, prompting some tough (and somewhat harsh) questions from Cap before the fella who helped start this whole thing takes credit.
And again it’s Cap with the sick burn.
Once he has a chance to catch his breath, Cap finally asks Rachel point-blank about Snapdragon, and she prevaricates like a pro. (Sam senses it even if his more easily trusting partner does not.)
Did you think this issue was over? Not a chance—next plotline, coming up!
That’s what I said! (I can’t find any other reference to a royal wedding around this time.) It’s moot anyway, because as soon as Cap and company land in Wakanda, they learn the wedding was called off for dire economic calamity related to (what else) vibranium. T’Challa seems happy to see Cap…
…who learns that monopolists are not fond of competition.
“We can fret together!” That’s the spirit!
Captain America #415 sees our heroes arriving in the Savage Land…
…and a close-up of the double-page spread above shows Cap mulling the nature and legality of free trade.
The team splits up, with Cap and Diamondback looking for…
Cap appeals to the cute kittie, whom he met (along with Ka-Zar) in Avengers #257, and luckily he passes the smell test.
Cap doubts Zabu’s ability to respond to his query…
…but he doesn’t give the tiger enough credit. If nothing else, Cap gets to play
Spidey Daredevil Tarzan for a while.
While the Black Panther discusses vibranium with the natives—and has a run-in with Ka-Zar himself—Cap and Zabu have a much stranger encounter of their own, with Cap trying to even the odds in the interest of fairness. (Dinosaur people can be so rude.)
Cap decides to fight smarter instead of harder, then switches to a strategic retreat…
…but finds that option foreclosed due to new players entering the game, and chooses not to resist out of concern of Zabu.
Whose mighty fist was that? You might expect it to be a reveal of the evil genius behind it all, but it was just one of the “dino-men.” (I didn’t want to get your hopes up for the next issue.)
Before we sign off, we have the page below from Iron Man #292, in which various people in Tony’s orbit react to the news that he is actually alive (when it was previously reported that he was not). Cap is pleased and Nick is suspicious—and I think they’re both right.
I will admit to getting a kick out of Cap changing Tony’s Avengers status from “deceased” to “on sabbatical”—I don’t remember seeing his application, much less approving it. (As it happens, reading sabbatical applications is what I’ll be doing as soon as I finish this post!)
Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: Arena of Death.
Collected in: Iron Man Epic Collection: The Return of Tony Stark.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #412-413 and Slapstick #4 (February-March 1993)