Captain America #308 (1985): Secret Wars II; 1st Armadillo

Mark Gruenwald: Two issues, two new creations (Madcap and Armadillo).  


True, they never really caught on like so many Lee/Kirby creations, but it’s pretty impressive for a new guy to create new characters for their first two issues in a row. 

Sadly, even the cover (above) acknowledges that Armadillo is silly…That’s some John Byrne art, by the way.

Here’s the origin.

Marvel’s really trying to promote the West Coast Avengers.    They’re in Invincible Iron Man, and now Captain America has a brief interaction with them.  First, Cap tries to break through security. 

There’s a neat, 4-page sequence where he foils their base’s defense systems—but I have to wonder why the defenses are not programmed to allow a guy like Cap through? I’m adding the “breaking into Avengers mansion” tag here, even though this is the WC Compound. Close enough.

And then he gets a tour.

Then he gets a job offer.

A job AND Hawkeye’s woman is leering at him.

Anyway, after that it’s a pretty solid battle against The Armadillo. At one point he steals Captain America’s nose.

O.K. It’s actually a typo–something missed by the inker. And in issue #312, the letter page has a solution.

What is it with Cap’s nose? Issue #6, part of the Heroes Reborn event, gave him one nostril…

Maybe he did too much cocaine and it deviated his septum?

Anyway. Back to the action.

Shield-on-shell action,

But wait!  Wasn’t this supposed to be a Secret Wars II tie in?  It said so at the end of Secret Wars II #1, and the cover has a little dogear promo for it! 

Yes, it is, but thankfully that doesn’t happen until the end of the issue—so we get a full and “real” Captain America story as part of Mark Gruenwald’s overall run.  In other words, it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the series.

At the end of the issue, Beyonder decides that Cap’s behavior during the Armadillo battle was so inspirational that he wants to be Cap.

That’s it!  One page of tie-in, and it has no impact on the regular story.  And when it comes to an event/miniseries that is as lame as Secret Wars II, that’s something to be grateful for!

At the end of the issue, a brief appearance by Serpent Squad–a preview to the next story.

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