Captain America #420 starts off a run of five relatively disconnected issues that suggest the creators are running out the clock until the beginning of “Fighting Chance” storyline in issue #425. Here, we meet a new Blazing Skull—and the existence of another Blazing Skull, seen in the recent Invaders miniseries, is not even mentioned until near the end. As a bonus, we see a preview of the upcoming crossover with Nomad, as well as a brief appearance of Cap with the classic Invaders in the first two issues of Thor Corps.
We start with Cap, Nick Fury, and assorted Agents of SHIELD raiding what they hope is the Red Skull’s headquarters, based on information extracted from Viper in the last issue—which satisfies our hero no end.
As they get closer, Cap reflects on the events that led them here, but wisely considers the likelihood of trouble ahead.
He knows to avoid the SHIELD agents when they have a target in their sights, but they do enable him to get to Skull first—before he lets his anger get the best of him, we hope!
But when Cap gets there… well, he says it as well as I can, before getting thrown for a loop (literally).
Quasar shows up after fetching the satellite that Viper was planning to use to knock out the television networks (again, in the previous story), which makes Cap’s report even more disappointing in comparison. Nick is not surprised, though, and even offers the two heroes a job, which Quasar declines respectfully and Cap simply ignores, too preoccupied with the Slippery Skull.
(Wendell sure looks like a miniature Steve above, doesn’t he?)
Next thing we know, Cap’s in Los Angeles, confronting a new Blazing Skull, who SHIELD thinks has something to do with the Red Skull (despite the fact that he investigates criminals, such as Digger currently).
This Skull denies any connection with the red one, and asks Cap why he seems to be sticking up for the Digger, which he denies as well. (We’ve all read enough comics to recognize a classic misunderstanding concocted to generate an unnecessary battle before the inevitable team-up.)
Ah, here comes the rest of the Night Shift, just in time for that team-up.
Cap becomes a target of Misfit, for whom Cap feels sympathy but little remorse in exploiting his weak spots.
After they defeat the bad guys, Cap and Blazing Skull accept each other’s identities, after which the Skull reveals his origin story—and Cap finally mentions his old friend of the same name (which is all we really wanted, geez).
After all is said and done, it’s Cap’s turn to criticize Nick’s info, but before he can really lay into him, he gets two calls: the first from Rachel’s doctor, and the second from a friend of Jack Monroe, aka Nomad…
…which leads into Nomad #18 (not #19). Cap doesn’t appear until the very end, appearing to stop Jack as he is about to kill his old foe the Slug. (Also, it’s time he got some just deserts, as in what he deserves, not desserts, unless that was a crack about the Slug’s size.)
Just like when Jack tried to kill the Slug in Captain America #325, Cap is not standing for it this time either.
We’ll pick up this story in the next issues of Captain America and Nomad, but before we leave this post, let’s check in with Thor Corps, a miniseries that brings together alternate thunder gods Beta Ray Bill, Thunderstrike, and Dargo Ktor (a young Thor from the future) and sends them on wacky time travel adventures, including a trip to World War II to meet another heroic trio, starting on the final page of Thor Corps #1.
Unfortunately, the Invaders take the Thor Corps to be Nazis, so in issue #2 they fight, starting across the top of the first double-page spread…
…which we can zoom in to see the two future fellow Avengers fight, with Cap insisting on formal address at the very least.
Eric also learns a good lesson about teamwork (before Cap tells Bucky to throw this one back).
Captain America (vol. 1) #420, October 1993: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), George Roussos (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Nomad (vol. 2) #18, October 1993: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Rick Mays (pencils), Greg Adams (inks), Jim Hoston (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Both collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: Fighting Chance.
Thor Corps #1, September 1993: Tom DeFalco (writer), Pat Olliffe (pencils and inks), George Roussos (colors), John Workman (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Thor Corps #2, October 1993: Tom DeFalco (writer), Pat Olliffe (pencils and inks), George Roussos (colors), John Workman (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Both collected in: Thor Epic Collection: The Final Gauntlet.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #418-419 and Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #15 (August-September 1993)
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Avengers #366-367 and Sensational She-Hulk #55 (September-October 1993), Infinity Crusade #4-5 (September-October 1993), Secret Defenders #7-8 (September-October 1993), and Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #1-2 (September-October 1993)
NEXT ISSUES: Captain America #421 and Nomad #19 (November 1993)
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