Thursday, July 21, 2011

More Captain America...further down the page!

That's a sad Logan, there.
It's pretty traditional, and cliche, for comic book fans to complain about how much better comics were when they were kids. Sure, but I can't be the only one a little dismayed that more readers are probably used to Wolverine being in every third Marvel book, rather than a time where his appearances were fewer and farther between...and not completely played out. From Captain America Annual #8, "Tess-One" Written by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by Mike Zeck, inks by John Beatty.

An extraordinarily disgruntled-looking Logan is trying to have a nice beer at a friendly little dive, but the joint is being torn up by the locals attacking a large, simple bald man. While the patrons seem to think he's a mutant, Bob Frank (as he calls himself) claims to be "normal now." The name familiar to him, Logan sets out to follow Bob; he was the son of the Whizzer and had been a radioactive menace called Nuklo at one point.

Outside the bar, though, Bob is attacked by a robot and nearly killed. Wolverine attacks the robot, but it flies off, joined by a man on a flying platform. Wolvie considers pursuit, but decides to take Bob to the hospital first.
This probably scrapes up Cap's shield more than Wolvie does.
Meanwhile, Captain America investigates a cave-in outside a burger place off I-94, which leads to a mysterious underground boiler room. A boiler room that had been sealed for years, and guarded by gas, spikes, and machine guns. Elsewhere, the man with the robot introduces himself to a trucker, as Overrider, and hijacks the truck to take the robot, Tess-1, to the Adametco Metullurgy Company. Storming the factory, Overrider forces workers to coat the robot in adamantium.

Cap follows a tip to his national hotline to the factory; while Wolverine...follows his nose, I guess, finding a crate the robot tossed out of the truck to make room for itself. The two run into each other outside; and since Magneto was leading the X-Men at the time (around Uncanny X-Men #200 or so) Cap isn't thrilled to see him. Wolvie is just as unenthused to hear Cap's speechifying, and they throw down for a few minutes before Tess-1 smashes down a wall on his way out.
Ah, Marvel misunderstanding! Hope the movies get at least one of these...
Overrider recognizes both Cap and Wolvie; somewhat interestingly, since Wolverine wasn't a very public figure at the time. He's also having trouble regaining control of Tess-1, since the robot's primary target is right there. Still, Overrider does get control, and they take off. Cap and Wolvie grudgingly decide to work together.

Later that day, in his civilian identity, Overrider visits a children's psychiatric facility, and his son. Suffering from "nuclear psychosis," an overwhelming fear of possible atomic war, his son completely disassociated from reality; so Overrider is trying to get rid of the bombs and bring him back. Meanwhile, Cap and Wolverine do their homework: Overrider was a mutant, and Wolvie finds him in Cerebro's files; while Cap finds government records showing Tess as an anagram: Total Elimination of Super-Soldiers. The program was a contingency to keep an army of Super-Soldiers from taking power themselves, but was mothballed since Cap was the only one.

As Overrider heads for the nuclear command center in Hadley, Nebraska (no NORAD in the Marvel Universe?) Cap gets another tip on his hotline, and he and Wolverine get there as Tess-1 is tearing up the a diversion. Working together, they get the robot on it's back, and Wolvie gets his claws into the robot's neck, but Cap has to pound Wolverine's hands to drive them in. Inside, Overrider plans to launch all of America's nukes and bury them in the ocean, without detonating them. Cap knocks Overrider off his hovercraft, and Wolverine moves to "catch" him. Claws first. But instead, he decides to 'miss,' letting Overrider slam into the floor. Cap is less than thrilled.
Eat your words, Cap!
I had to go back for a scan of him, but Overrider seemed to bear at least a passing resemblance to his creator and longtime Captain America writer Mark Gruenwald. I don't think Overrider appeared again--he was mostly a sympathetic villain, and I don't think attacking Bob Frank was his idea--but I know Tess-One would show up a time or two as a robot jobber. Also, if you have a hankering for this issue, there's a Marvel Universe Wolverine/Captain America two-pack available with an edited version of this issue: the Captain America comes with a scratched-up shield!


Randy Jackson said...

Didn't the X-Men have a couple of encounters with NORAD, once with Count Nefaria, and the other time when the Hellions kidnapped Banshee?

googum said...

You are correct! I'm not sure if there is a real-world command center or anything in Hadley, Nebraska, though.

CalvinPitt said...

I didn't much care for Cap's speechifying myself, the first time I read this. I don't know if it was supposed to read this way, but I remember rooting for Wolverine when he went after Cap. Which isn't what you'd expect in a Captain America comic. I don't think I knew why working with Magneto was a big deal.

Dan said...

This is one of my favourite Wolverine stories ever - just coming to the aid of the underdog and pub drinking and all.

I loved Cap in the booby trapped bunker - but thought the ending was odd, considering a few pages prior he was complimenting his fighting skills.

Still Avengers Wolvie - who needs em!

Dale Bagwell said...

Cap's always been portrayed as the big speech guy; it's his thing and one of the reasons why we all love him. Still, I do agree w/Calvin here that this maybe wasn't the time for one of those speeches. To be fair to Cap though, he's always encountered the evil magneto persona, and less to none at all the other side of magnus. The X-men can't always clarify what's what, since their roster and situation changes daily.
Hell wasn't this an issue during the 1st Secret Wars when the X-Men and Magneto were paired-off together? I believe Cap and some of the others had a problem then too. But Cap shouldn't have jumped the gun, just like Wolvie shouldn't have always been a dick about it.