CAPTAIN AMERICA #425-437 (1994-1995): Fighting Chance

In his last big Captain America story (after one of the longest runs on any title in the history of comic books), Mark Gruenwald makes Captain America’s super soldier serum toxic.  It starts with him beginning to feel run-down, going to the doc, and learning that he has to either stop using his enhanced strength and endurance or become paralyzed in a year.  (A year—hence the 1 year story arc.)

After the mysteries of last issue, this issue starts by answering some questions.  

A new Super Patriot is teamed up with a new villain, Dead Ringer, who has the power to become dead people.  

So the dead Porcupine can attack.

At least a guy who has to rob graves to get powers means we get cool tombstone credits…

Kind of like Terror Inc, Dead Ringer has to actually touch the bodies of the dead.

That explains how Porcupine came back from the dead.  Unless you’re an idiot, you already figured out that the fake Captain Americas from last issue were this new Super Patriot.  Over these issues, they have some adventures, creating fake fights and also having genuine interactions with the Marvel Universe.  Kind of a slow burn.  But too slow, since this story is becoming increasingly and obviously a retread of a tale we’ve seen at least four times before.

Even though they are fakes, I’m still tagging the villains Dead Ringer imitates because it’s fun to see them again. Like the new Masters of Evil.

It’s all a set up, again, to make Cap look dumb. And it works.

At the same time, fake Captain America (Super Patriot) is also running around being a bad Cap.

Meanwhile the real Captain America whines a lot to his friends about the imposters, instead of talking through his feelings about his super soldier serum wearing off and weighing whether to get medical help for it.  I don’t like the way he’s turning into a complete idiot.  This doesn’t seem consistent with his character, which is usually naïve but full of hope and always thinking strategically.

There’s also a subplot about a fascist supercop running around the country killing people. 

HIs name is Americop.

Cap and his team are all over the place, chasing down Dead Ringer and Super Patriot.

While Cap continues to resist medical intervention. There’s even a point where a doc tells him of a possible experimental cure, but Cap rejects it because he doesn’t want other doctors to know he’s sick.

This is a stupid move.  He’s being offered a possible medical cure, but he doesn’t even want other doctors to know about his condition.  Captain America is supposed to have a measure of humility.  I hope that over the course of this story, he rethinks this position.

I’m skipping over a lot because this story goes from mediocre to just plain awful.  I mean, one of the villains is a sumo wrestler.

Finally, Cap gets to the point where he needs to start wearing armor.

I’m not alone when I say I don’t like this.

I didn’t like Spider-Man in armor. I don’t like this. The point of this character is to represent the everyman rising above on (mostly) his wits and strength. If he’s just going to be Iron Man, then why do we need him?

Along the way, the “aging/failing” Cap seems to be getting replaced by two younger heroes–Jack Flag and Free Spirit.

She’s a college student and feminist who likes to crash frat parties and beat up all the men.

You really don’t need me to tell you this is bad.

And it’s all a Zemo plot, of course.

Actually, it’s a ZemoS plot. The Baroness is there, too. They are adopting kids from broken homes and teaching them to hate Captain America.

The Baroness ends up similarly to how her grandpa did…

Sure you didn’t intend for that to happen, Cap. Suuuuuuuure.

Oh, and don’t worry: Cap finds good homes for the kids.

Fighting Chance could have ended there, but it didn’t. We had to have this…

And this…

You wouldn’t want to have missed those powerful scenes, would you?

The last issue with the Fighting Chance banner is #437.

That issue ends with him 95% paralyzed, reliant on armor designed by Tony Stark.

Again, not my Cap. I don’t like this.

Leave a Comment