Captain America #176 (1974)

It seems like every 12-18 months, we need to re-tell Captain America’s origin. And it needs to be slightly different. This time, he doesn’t get injected with (or drink) a Super Soldier serum. Instead, he gets shot full of vita-rays.

Other than that, issue #176 is the epilogue for the extended Secret Empire story that ended last issue.  It showed that the American government was corrupt all the way up to the President, and Cap is left feeling very disillusioned. In fact, he says that…

Captain America must die

“Captain America must die!”  Grant Morrison’s most famous Batman arc was titled “Batman Must Die!”  Was this where he got the idea?

Englehart was writing done-in-ones (and twos) in The Defenders, but his Captain America stories were typically long and fairly complex.  He had a great ability to write all kinds of stories–big dumb action in The Avengers, weird and wonderful in The Defenders, and philosophical and thoughtful, here in Cap.

This issue can stand on its own, but it’s also building towards the Nomad story.

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