Thursday, November 30, 2023

Neat cover, but maybe save that for when you don't have a good villain?

I read this back when it came out, and I appreciate the difficulties in creating a viable love interest for Cap, but the cover notwithstanding, this doesn't feel like the way to do it. From 2001, Captain America #44, "Conclusions" Story and pencils by Dan Jurgens, inks by Bob Layton.
So, not only do I not recall what happened the previous issue, I also would've lost this bet: I thought Jurgens had created Connie Ferrari, but no, she was from Mark Waid and Andy Kubert in Cap #15. Jurgens usually glammed her up, though: even in something she obviously threw on running out the door and with a suburban-mom short haircut, he always drew her as really pretty...and leggy; she and Cap have the longest legs in the splash page! But, Connie has just finally found out, her boyfriend was really Captain America, and she's not thrilled with the revelation: she was a defense attorney, and Cap had testified against one of her clients. Also, her brother had been believed dead but was now back...after trying to murder Nick Fury and Cap. Cap really wants to table the discussion, since he's not comfortable talking about his secret identity in a police station; which doesn't score him any points. Connie is crying her eyes out and puts together that Cap's ex Sharon both knew, and was an ex and not just a friend; so when cops attack them most people would probably be grateful, but Cap's too wholesome and professional for that.
The cops are pretty obviously fakes, but the side of the building is blown up, and Connie and Cap are snared by Doc Ock-knockoff tentacle-cables from a hovercraft. (Connie screams out "STEEEEEVE!" as they fall; she was not handling it well.) Cap knows somebody wants him, as a monologue starts up over loudspeakers; and throws his shield to free Connie, but is pulled inside the hovercraft before he can catch the rebound! Connie is left, in a suspiciously deserted street, with Cap's shield; and no idea who she could trust then. But, Cap doesn't have to wait long, as he's taken to face the mastermind behind this--Taskmaster! Wait, really?
This was back before Taskmaster got...kind of overplayed? Or, rather, used somewhat inconsistently. Here he was maybe a year out from his Udon update in Deadpool #68, and was still in his training goons for big bucks days. Tasky tells Cap, "when the hired help can't make the grade, the boss has to work the cash register!" He wanted back at the Avengers for their operations against his schools, and let's be honest: it's not like he was gonna pick a fight with Thor or Iron Man, right? With Cap shieldless, Tasky's pretty confident; while Connie narrates and feels petty for resenting every time Steve had been late because of what she now realizes was Cap-stuff. But, she also realizes Cap's always going to put the greater good...over her. That's kind of harsh, but you know what? It's fair: Connie knows she "can't be in a relationship where my needs are always secondary."
Cap is on the ropes, until he remembers a trick Taskmaster wouldn't have seen and thus couldn't imitate: Cap still had his photonic shield, the replacement from earlier this series. Cap knocks him off a bridge, but Tasky manages to take Cap with him--which, from the layouts, shouldn't have worked, but okay. Separated, the fight's over; and Cap returns to Connie's apartment, to find his shield, and a note: Cap knows it's a 'Dear John' letter from across the room, he's seen too many during the war! An interesting layout choice, there: the note and shield were on Connie's coffee table when he comes in, then Cap has the shield next to him while he sits and reads the note. Like the shield's there for him, at least. Also, Connie must write quick, Cap really wasn't gone that long.
"Connie's gone. And she's never coming back." Well, not to Cap, anyway; she would appear in Great Lakes Avengers #1, although she seemed to get...what's the opposite of a makeover there? Like, de-glammed. Diamondback was my favorite of Cap's love interests, although Bernie Rosenthal had character, much more than poor Connie. Also, for some reason, the fact that she was a defense lawyer was used to create friction, like Cap didn't care for her defending guys he knew were bad, due process or not. I kinda don't love "Connie Ferrari" as a name, that sounds like somebody's fake girlfriend from Canada. (Is Ferrari a common last name? Was Dolores Lamborghini taken?) Also, I didn't like the way Cap won: Tasky couldn't possibly take Cap. He's in good, fighting shape, compared to about anybody else; but Cap would've been able to outlast him.


Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

Idk man, she looks pretty homely here to me.
And yes, Connie Ferrari not only looks & feels like a fake name, it's feels like something much, much worse; an unimaginative fake stripper/pornstar name.

I know she was probably introduced & paired up with Cap as both an intended good match for him & as a constant source of dating drama, being that she was a defense attorney & he was well, Captain F%^&^ing America.
I get what they were trying for, but it was never going to EVER work out.

Not only does Cap need a true partner in every sense of the word, like a Peggy Carter or Sharon Carter, he needs someone who's going to be understanding that while they'll get all of his love, they'll probably never get all of his attention due to who he is.

Tasky probably did as good as he did, because he IS pretty good & Cap's attention was elsewhere with Connie.

googum said...

It would be a million times more interesting, if Tasky recognized, hey, you're off your game. What's up? Cap's not one to talk about that sort of thing...but honestly, he's more likely to do so with Taskmaster than like Tony or Thor or even Sam. (Bucky was still dead at that point, a death that seemed locked-down!)