Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mark Gruenwald Year Two (Captain America 319-331)

Having dropped Steve Rogers and his supporting cast from the book, writer Mark Gruenwald used his second year writing the comic to depict Cap crossing America in a custom van, determined to be a hero for all of America, not just the New York City area. The writing gradually improved on the book, and by the end of the second year I no longer had to force myself to read it, even if I wasn't thrilled with the choice of direction.

Cap got a huge check from the government as back pay for the decades he spent in suspended animation after World War II. He used the money to set up a nationwide hotline so that people would be able to get in touch with him, and allied with a bunch of teen computer geeks who help filter his calls and help him get information he needs. He defeated the Scourge, who was killing minor Marvel villains (or did he?) and took on some uninteresting villains like Flag-Smasher and Super-Patriot. Unable to defeat the latter (a gloryhog jerk who tried to discredit Cap by sending folks with Cap's mask on to rough up foreigners), Cap went in search of how Super-Patriot got his powers, and ended up taking on a guy called the Power Broker (cute). The Power Broker is a nasty businessman who's been empowering everyone from heroes like Ms. Marvel to "Unlimited Class" pro-wrestlers like Demolition Man. Cap teams with Demolition Man to take down the Power Broker, but it seems the Power Broker may have been in bed with the US military via something called Project Augment. An army Lieutenant named Lynch sent an enhanced soldier called G.I.Max after Cap, but then accidentally shot Max (smooth). Meanwhile, an IRS auditor questioned that big fat check Steven Rogers reported on his taxes, and discovered Rogers was Captain America. When he reported it to his superiors they began to have second thoughts about giving Cap all that money...

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