Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Captain America #317 (May 1986)

Well if I'm going to post some Retro Reviews, I HAVE to post a Captain America comic from Mark Gruenwald's run! With the exception of Ed Brubaker's recent run, Gruenwald's Cap run had been my favorite. Many of these issues still hold a special place in my heart, and when I was flipping through my Cap collection, I HAD to give this issue a read since it had Cap AND Hawkeye on the cover!

Captain America #317:

Summary: This issue gets started with the Death Throws(Evil villainous jugglers!!!) helping Crossfire escape from police custody. Hawkeye and Mockingbird, who were in New York to testify against Crossfire, arrive at the scene of Crossfire's escape scant minutes too late to prevent his rescue. With Crossfire free, the Death Throws leader, the appropriately named Ringleader, asks how Crossfire wanted to pay for the Death Throws services. Crossfire tells Ringleader that he currently didn't have enough money to pay the Death Throws, but that he'd get the money soon. That doesn't sit well with Ringleader so he gets together with the rest of the Death Throws and they all decide to see if they could get money out of Hawkeye for the return of Crossfire. Meanwhile, Captain America, in his civilian guise of Steve Rogers, is attending a going away party for his one-time girlfriend, Bernie Rosenthal. While Cap is busting a move on the dance floor(really!), Hawkeye and Mockingbird arrive at the apartment(in their civvies naturally) to tell Cap about Crossfire's getaway. Since he wouldn't be able to make it back to the West Coast Avengers right away, Hawkeye asks to use Cap's Avengers phone in Cap's apartment. The two head over to Cap's place and discover a message sent to Cap's Stars and Stripes hot-line telling Hawkeye to head to an abandoned train station, alone, where he could buy Crossfire back. The two Avengers know the whole set-up had to be a trap, so Cap offers to have Hawkeye's back, something Hawkeye readily accepts. Cap excuses himself from the party and Hawkeye tells Mockingbird that he was going to go after Crossfire with Cap since Hawkeye's sky-cycle only seated two. Hawkeye enters the train station and is nearly ambushed by the Death Throws, but is saved by Cap. The two heroes and the Death Throws duke it out, with Cap and Hawkeye eventually whittling down the Death Throws numbers, only leaving a single Death Throw, Knick-Knack, standing. During the battle Knick-Knack had managed to get his hands on Cap's shield and runs for the exit, meeting with Mockingbird's fist. Mockingbird gives Cap his shield back and Hawkeye discovers that the Death Throws were planning on capturing him and selling him back to the Avengers for one million dollars. Hawkeye is surprised that the Death Throws thought he was worth that much money(HA!!) and the heroes take all of the criminals to prison. With that taken care of Cap heads back to Bernie's apartment, only to find it empty with the exception of a note from Bernie saying good-bye.

Thoughts: How couldn't I love this issue?!? It had Hawkeye and Captain America teaming up to face down the deadly menace of costumed jugglers! Seriously, this entire comic was great. I especially loved the way the Death Throws tried intimidating Crossfire after he told them he couldn't pay for their services, juggling menacingly around him... It was all just perfect! The story made sense and gave us a reason for Hawkeye and Mockingbird to show up, as well as giving us a reason for Hawkeye and Cap to do the whole team-up thing. Add some great character work between Cap and Hawkeye, showing how much the two longtime Avengers respected each other, the fact that Mockingbird delivered the coup de grace, along with some furthering of the storyline going on in Cap's personal life and you have a recipe for a highly enjoyable comic book. Who would have thought jugglers could be so damn menacing?!

Score: 9 out of 10."Look out, they're gonna juggle at you!!!"


  1. Say X which issues do you recommend in M Gruenwald's run?
    I've read Some of the Waid run issues, my favourite being the Red Skull one, & for me the avengers are good in Busiek & Johns runs (if you can tip me on other older runs please do so... I say older because Bendis soured the avengers taste for me so I refuse to touch the nowadays MU or Dcu! besides I succeeded in finding Nomad a.k.a Jack " awesome" Munroe with baby on his back! add in Gambit, Daredevil & Steve making appearances Duuuude, sign me up!)

  2. Hmm... Gruenwald's run was SO expansive it's hard to pick particular issues... I mean that was back when most of the storyarcs were like 1-3 issues, with the occasional 6 parter. Um, Steve giving up the uniform and US Agent taking his place was pretty cool, especially with all of the twists and turns and US Agent's insanity. Jack Monroe actually pops up in a few Cap issues during the Gruenwald run. But that was costume-wearing Nomad, not bad-ass baby carrying Nomad. Man, that Nomad series was awesome... I should have done some retro-reviews on them!

    Don't blame ya one bit when it comes to Bendis. I was a huge sucker for the West Coast Avengers, but my love for Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Pym, Iron Man, etc is well documented. Those issues were mainly fun, mindless reads. I wasn't really a big fan of the Avengers during the 1990's, although there was a pretty decent X-Men/Avengers x-over dealing with Exodus trying to kidnap Quicksilver's daughter(I'm blanking on the name though...). I liked the Korvac Saga, which I just read recently... You can't go wrong with anything featuring Ultron, which was another big plus in the WCA books since he kept popping up. The early Thunderbolts books were actually very Avengers-esque, and were written by Busiek(and later Nicieza). They eventually get Hawkeye on the team which furthers the Avengers feel to that book.