Thursday, July 23, 2015
War And Remembrance!
A few years after the end of The Invaders, the war years for Timely's greatest heroes was recognized and remembered in the pages of Captain America. The creative team at that time on the book was Roger Stern and John Byrne, two Charlton alumni who had made quite an impression on the fans of the day on very good issues of The Avengers. In fact, according to Stern it was a leftover plot from those Avengers days which found its way into a very memorable two-part Cap tale. Joe Rubinstein is doing the inking by the way.
Cap is living life in the United States with his new girlfriend Bernie Rosenthal when he gets a coded message from Lord Montgomery Falsworth, the former Union Jack that Baron Blood, a vampire the Invaders had battled a few times during WWII was back and menacing the countryside. Cap drops everything and flies to meet his old colleagues. He finds not only the very aged Lord Falsworth, but his daughter Jacqueline, now Lady Crichton, the mother of a grown son named Kenneth her own super-speed powers as Spitfire having diminished over the decades. Her brother Brian, the man who was the second Union Jack is revealed to have died in a car accident in 1953. Quickly Cap learns what Lord Falsworth suspects and goes to the Tower of London to confirm that indeed Baron Blood has escaped his tomb. He then meets Kenneth and his friend Joey Chapman a commoner, just before Baron Blood reveals himself and attacks Cap.
In the second installment Cap is able to repulse the vampire who flees to hide again among the population, his identity still unknown. Eventually things come to a head and Baron Blood is defeated of course, his secrets laid bare and a new Union Jack, the third in the line, is initiated into battle. I don't want to spoil too much of his story as its a real dandy by Stern and Byrne.
They'd created several nifty stories before revisiting the Invaders, and I noticed glancing at this volume that several of them seem to have been fondly remembered by the folks who made the second Cap movie.
Stern and Byrne closed their run by re-working Cap's origin for the 40th anniversary issue (see the top of this post) and cleaned up some of the confusing details which had accumulated in the story over the decades.
Here's the cover to the collection of nine Cap stories that Stern and Byrne did before they left the comic amid some controversy.
And here's the original cover, a humdinger for sure.