The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

Avengers Week Post #4: Captain America #368

Review by Rick Pipito

Issue: Captain America #368 Mar

Story: “Red Twilight”

Publisher/Year: Marvel Comics 1990

To celebrate Captain America’s in our Avengers’ week, I thought I would dig through my old comics of the same name, and choose one to review.  This issue features my favorite Captain America villain, Crossbones, and though he doesn’t do much, it reminded me why I like the character.  He is just badass and mean.  WARNING!!!  SPOILERS AHEAD!

The story begins with Crossbones and Machinesmith searching through the wreckage of their underground hideout.  As they look frantically for their boss, the Red Skull, they begin to see signs of who might have attacked their base.  With the way all of the robots and metal are torn apart and thrown around, it appears to have been Magneto, but they don’t know why.

Back at Avengers headquarters Jarvis is hard at work cleaning up a similar mess, when Captain America arrives.  Immediately he has their communications person look up intel on Magneto, as it is assumed that the destruction of the mansion was his handywork.  These two scenes are great because it shows how balanced this story is.  They constantly flip back and forth between the characters and settings without becoming confusing.

After giving up their search temporarily, Crossbones beats the crap out of the head of security for allowing such a thing to happen.  As he is about to land another punch, Red Skull shows up and stops him.  Okay, this isn’t really the Red Skull, but it sure fooled Crossbones.  Machinesmith tells CB that they can make it appear as if their leader is still active and fine until they find him.  As they walk through the lab, there are parts of Machinesmith’s bots lying around to be assembled.  Two of these bots are the bodies of Colossus and Wonderman, but they ignore those and head straight to the destined Magneto bot.  The idea is to use the false Eric Lensherr to lure the real Magneto out in the open.

Apparently word gets out quickly that the Red Skull’s people are offering 100,000 dollars to whoever has information on Magneto’s whereabouts.  Diamondback, Black Mamba, and one other member of the Serpent Society are in civilian clothes enjoying a few drinks when they hear about this.  This part of the story is insignificant other than the purpose of showing just how far the word of the Red Skull can go.

Meanwhile, Captain America is told that Magneto is in front of the Capitol building for some pro mutant demonstration.  Suspicion number 1… This is not Magneto’s style, and Steve Rogers goes to investigate.  When he arrives, Magneto is attacking a group of mutants called the Resistants.  Suspicion number two puts Rogers’ intuitive mind to work.  Magneto never attacks other mutants unless they provoke him, and this was a peaceful demonstration.

Here is where I begin to have my doubts…  A forcefield surrounds Magneto’s area.  A magnetic field would project outward and underground as well.  Not this one.  Cap uses his shield and digs a hole to crawl underneath.  Even at this point, the field doesn’t continue down as the hole is exposed.  I get why they chose to do this, but it is a flaw in writing in my opinion.  Apparently Cap thinks so too as he finds it suspicious for the third time.

Knowing that Magneto always keeps a personal field near him, Cap wings his shield as hard as he can.  He is shocked to see that it connects so hard that Magneto’s helmet cracks.  Although he is suspicious again, I would think at this point Rogers would seem more alarmed that he could have potentially cut Magneto’s head clean off with the throw.  Instead, they begin a short battle.  Between the fighting style and the words the villain is using, Cap is now sure that it most certainly is NOT who it appears to be.

By the way, on Page 18 in the first frame, there is a misprint in the “Has Magneto Since the New Tricks Since the last time we clashed?”  The thought bubble came from Captain America and the first since was probably supposed to be “learned”.  Anyway, it was a simple editing mistake, but it somehow made it through to the presses.

So Cap ends up beating the mechanized version of Magneto and deduces that it was Machinesmith’s doing.  Now he just needs to know why.  It is left open for a lot more, but the story ends there with a few more pages showing the impact of the events.  Black Queen of the Hellfire club begins to wonder where Magneto is, and then the final frame shows the man of interest and his daughter, the Scarlet Witch. 

This is a normal sized comic, that also includes a bonus story in the back.  I was unaware of who the Machinesmith really was until this bonus told his origin.  It was a nice way to end the comic.  Overall, I give this issue a 5 out of 10 for keeping me intruiged.

Captain America (Steve Rogers) is played by Chris Evans in the Avengers movie.

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