Captain America #424 (1994)

There is a LOT to unpack in this one little page, which introduces a “John Q” kind of story where Sidewinder is “forced’ to do crimes to pay for his daughter’s medical care.  Putting to one side that if Sidewinder had just gotten a regular, full-time job, he likely would have health insurance for himself and his family, we’ve got a page that is optimistic that Hillary Clinton’s health care plan will come into effect.  Ms. Clinton does not appear in the book, but she’s mentioned, so I’m counting this as a politician appearing in the comic (see my tag below).

Sidewinder is a villain, and the leader of the Serpent Society, which spends most of its time trying to mess with Captain America.  Surely he must understand that New Gingrich’s Republican Party would similarly thwart Hillary.

Then, he asks to get the money from The Avengers because he’s trying to go straight.  So, basically, he’s blackmailing Cap: Give me money or it will be your fault I’ll do crime.

Rather than call Sidewinder out about what he’s really doing, Cap simply says giving Sidewinder the money “wouldn’t be right.”

Oh, and Cap is trying to hide under a trench coat.Can’t forget about that.

After all that, do we even need to write more about this issue?

Yes.  Yes, I do.

Because Captain America actually investigates whether it is true that Sidewinder’s daughter is sick—and thus lends credence to Sidewinder’s ridiculous theory that Cap is responsible for Sidewinder’s crimes if Cap doesn’t give him money.

Meanwhile, as threatened, Sidewinder starts robbing criminals.  In the end, Captain America gets Sidewinder to turn himself in and in exchange pays for the operation.

And….Diamondback finally confesses to killing Snapdragon, and Captain America says he supports her because, other than her past criminal actions and this new homicide, she’s a good person.

As silly as this is, I liked the sheer ridiculousness of all this and how naïve Captain America is.  The best Gruenwald Cap tales portray the character as a somewhat rudderless idealist.

Next: The final big Mark G story.

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