Monday, July 4, 2016

Captain America: Epic Collection - Streets of Poison (Part One)



Don’t know if I’ll make it to Capwolf, but I am glad these trades exist.
Leaving Gruenwald’s Captain America run out of print for so long was always a glaring oversight on Marvel’s part.
I realize his run ended during an era Marvel would rather erase entirely, but that doesn’t mean you throw the whole thing out.
Gru’s Cap is just so MARVEL to me, at least Marvel of this era. It sums up the late ‘80s/very-early ‘90s so well.
Streets of Poison is, famously, Gru’s attempt to address the drug problem, which was essentially THE issue of the day.
Not sure if things ever really changed, but the media’s attitude towards drugs has certainly lightened up.
Drugs are either a casual joke, a source of phony “edginess,” or usually just ignored in the press today.
Can’t imagine a comic devoting a multi-part story today to the issue. Gru’s writing from the POV that Cap just HAS to address the topic.
So, the first chapter opens with Cap discovering that Avengers lackey Fabian is using the new street drug Ice.
He forces Fabian into treatment, but is floored when Fabian suggests that Super-Soldier Serum is just another drug.
“Floored” not because it’s such an inane comparison, but because Gru just decided one day that the Serum was essentially steroids.
Cap decides to wage a war on drugs.  Meanwhile, Bullseye escapes from prison in a fantastic scene.

Ron Lim doesn’t emphasize the grit, but it’s easily something you could see Miller doing. Teeth work just as well as paperclips, apparently…
The backup story stars two of my favorites from this era -- USAgent and Battlestar.
Battlestar wants to know why Agent didn’t tell him that he faked his death earlier. Agent has no idea what he’s talking about.
And when ‘Star mentions Agent’s dead parents, he breaks into a psychotic rage and tries to kill his friend.
I’ve always been intrigued by Gru’s take on USAgent…on paper, it sounds like every cliché that I normally hate.
But I seem to recall Gru pulling it off. The friendship between USAgent and Battlestar was the center of the book for a few months -- and I’m glad he hasn’t kicked the guys out of the series, even if the “replace a hero” arc is long over.
The backups were often the highlight of this book. Love the way Gru turned the book over to villains, bit players, & washed-up replacement heroes…

CAPTAIN AMERICA #373 - Hey, Diamondback had her own logo.
Last issue, Cap narrowly escaped an explosion triggered by Napalm, he of the wifebeater & shoulder-length mullet.
Cap’s invasion of the drug trade has somehow convinced Napalm’s men that the Kingpin is moving in on their turf.
Leading us to Kingpin’s introduction into the arc. He hires Bullseye to find who’s running this rival drug trade.
As Bullseye points out, he’s not a detective. He just wants to kill people. He needs a job, though.

Meanwhile, Cap’s acting oddly after escaping death, and Diamondback & Black Widow have a misunderstanding fight.
60-ish Peggy Carter is in the background, watching Cap cavort with his new girlfriend, who’s around her granddaughter’s age.
Diamondback’s sporting that half-shaved look that came back into style 4-5 years ago. Peggy must’ve been thrilled.
Not only is Cap dating someone 1/3 his age, but she’s a hipster cat burglar with an obnoxious hairstyle.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #374 - continuing the unofficial crossover from DAREDEVIL #283.
Not sure if the details match; DD didn’t return to his old identity after only one day in his book.
Even Cap isn’t sure how he ended up in upstate NY in that story, either. If only both books shared the same editor.
Oh, wait. They did.
It’s nice to know why Cap was out of character in that DD issue, though. He absorbed Ice during the warehouse explosion.
That means…Cap’s on drugs!
Now, his friends are secretly keeping an eye on him, when they’re not busy dodging drive-by fire.
Diamondback goes undercover by wearing a different diamond-themed outfit. (Okay, and a wig.)

3 comments:

Steven said...

I am loving these random, Non-X-Men reviews. Please keep them coming! (More X-Men reviews would also be welcome.)

wwk5d said...

I have to admit, I do have a soft spot for Diamondback. I do remember liking her and Captain America as a couple.

Jason Edwards said...

Bock Bock