These two issues of Captain America wrap up the sprawling storyline begun in issue #411, which now finds Cap, Falcon, Diamondback, and Black Panther in the Savage Land in Antarctica, dealing with Ka-Zar and Zabu, multiple threats, and many narrative threads (which come together at the end). Plus, Cap makes a quick appearance in Mys-Tech Wars, which follows up (somewhat) on his appearance in Death’s Head II about a year ago.
Issue #416 picks up where the last left off, with Cap, Zabu, the Dino-Men, and AIM agents in a fine mess, with Cap thinking first about the sabretooth, as is his wont.
Unbeknownst to him, Diamondback has subdued an AIM agent, taken his beekeeper outfit, and started shooting at the others, giving Cap an opening to fight back as well.
Again, primarily concerned about others, Cap gets ready to take out the shooter before he learns who it is…
…and then stops fighting for his life and the lives of others so he can give her a critical performance review. To her credit, Rachel just keeps fighting.
After they take care of their adversaries—and leave the Dino-Men to Zabu—Rachel gets to elicit some gratitude from her boyfriend, but he’s not quite done with his review.
Eventually Cap apologizes (kind of), but I suspect it’s too little, too late.
As they head toward the skycycle, Rachel thinks she sees her old foe Snapdragon, whom she secretly killed in issue #413, and fires at her, raising Cap’s hackles yet again before he realizes something’s wrong with her—because she told him something’s wrong with her.
As they leave to meet Falcon and T’Challa, Cap tries to get some answers out of Rachel, but no dice. (The “hmm” reads to me as a bit judgmental, cancelling out the “darling” from the panels above.)
He makes a reasonable guess, but she honestly says that’s not it, and quickly changes the topic. (Just drop it, Cap—this isn’t a criminal investigation.)
Falcon leads them to the High Technician—a protégé of the High Evolutionary who created the Dino-Men, is involved with AIM, and is trying to get the rights to the unstable vibranium found in the Savage Land—and his hypnotic mutant assistant Lorelai, at which point they all fight, with Sam and Cap falling into a natural and comfortable rhythm.
Even when facing enormous Dino-Men, Cap does not give up hope of prevailing.
Cap also gets a chance to use his infamous judo skills, highlighted in his early Tales of Suspense stories. (In case you’re wondering, T’Challa is not miscolored below: He lost his shirt escaping from a tar pit earlier in the issue.)
Our heroes confront this latest threat in issue #417, and as always Cap is more concerned with others than himself (or the Shirtless Panther).
When Rachel brings the skycycle in for an approach, she thinks she sees Snapdragon again and loses control, forcing Cap to use his shield to save her from the ensuing explosion…
…and then bravely dives after her to save her from the fall. (Meanwhile, Black Panther slips in the hole in Terminus created by the explosion, which will be important later.)
Falcon arrives to check on them and ends up playing nursemaid while Cap borrows something.
“A Captain America flying with Falcon’s wings,” Sam thinks to himself. “That’s a good idea!”
After all this time, Cap and Ka-Zar run into each other, a reunion that starts out well but loses momentum very quickly.
“OK then, I guess we’ll just go home.” “Thanks for stopping by.”
When Ka-Zar tells him that their vibranium is very unstable, Cap remembers the story of David and Golaith, and starts throwing rocks at Terminus, counting on it containing the miracle metal. Eventually it trembles and collapses; and what about T’Challa, who was inside of it?
Whew! Now, hurry up and strike some heroic poses! (No time to find a shirt!)
That storyline (finally) completed, we can turn to the end of another story, the final issue of the Mys-Tech Wars miniseries. I’d let the fellow in red below explain what’s going on, but if Cap doesn’t get it, I don’t see what chance any of us has.
At least we get some examples of Cap’s inspiring leadership in battle (and early penciling work from Bryan Hitch).
When all is said and done, Cap and Wolverine confront Nick Fury.
I would assume this is an intervention about Nick’s awful 90s outfit, but it sees to be about the Mys-Tech mission or some such. (I’m sure the former is more important.)
Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: Arena of Death.
Mys-Tech Wars #4, June 1993: Dan Abnett (writer), Bryan Hitch (pencils and inks), Helen Nally and Helen Stone (colors), Caroline Steeden (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Not yet collected.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #414-415 and Iron Man #292 (April-May 1993)
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Avengers #363 (June 1993), The Incredible Hulk #406 (June 1993), Invaders #2-3 (June-July 1993), Infinity Crusade #1-2 (June-July 1993), Avengers #364 (July 1993), and Spectacular Spider-Man #202 (July 1993)