Marvel Comics Presents #2 (The Captain)
“The Cold War”
By Al Milgrom
Letters – Jim Novak
Colors – Greg Wright
Assistant Edits – Michael Rockwitz
Edits – Terry Kavanagh & Michael Higgins
Chief – Tom DeFalco
It’s time, once again, for Milgrom’s Corner here at Marvel Comic Chrisents. That anthology-anchor, which… up until reading this installment, I assumed were stand-alone! That’s not entirely the case… as this features the further mis-adventures of the Fear Bug what tried to corrupt the Silver Surfer last week! According to the Marvel Wiki, this little baddie’s name is “Kkallakki”… which is a real pain-in-the-ass to type.
Anyhoo, the star of today’s piece is Captain Amer… er, The Captain. Ya know how the Marvel Bullpen like to have ol’ Steve Rogers have those crises of conscience anytime their political party of choice isn’t in power? I think this is one of those times. I dig the dark costume… so, I’m down with it!
Let’s do this!
We open with Steve Rogers… The Captain arriving at a rather strange crime scene. Ya see, there’s some frosty hoo-doo goin’ on at the Cryo Lab. The nearby police are a little surprised to see our hero… not so much due to the fact that he’s, ya know, a superhero… but more for the fact that he’s wearing this weird black costume. Steve-O tells them just to call him “The Captain”, and that’s good enough for them. Just then, our new friend the Fear Bug arrives on the scene… he’s now officially being referred to as the “Fear Eater”, which sounds moderately cooler than “Fear Bug”, but a lot less cool than Parallax. The F.E. focuses on (The) Cap and attempts to latch onto his deepest, darkest fears.
Here’s the thing, though… The Captain doesn’t appear to have any! Well, that’s not entirely true… Steve’s got fears, yeah… but, he’s both faced and mastered them. The Fear Bug’s gonna need to take another tack. Just then, our hero heads inside the Cryogenic Lab… and goes into flashback mode. Folks familiar with Captain America will know that he and ice go back a long ways. We get the quick n dirty about his own time in the deep-freeze, and how he wound up a man “out of time” with the Mighty Avengers. Nothing we haven’t seen a million times before (or since), but whattayagonnado?
Suddenly, our hero has this weird revelation that he’s something of an anachronism in contemporary times. At this point, The Captain finds himself… scared! Uh-oh. Just then, he finds himself attacked by COLD WAR… who is basically just a spiky Iceman. According to our baddie, this “Cold War” character is just an innocent frozen human that the Fear-Eater animated to “embody Captain America’s greatest fear”. More on that in a bit.
Cold War zaps Cap wit’a da ice… and starts to surround our poor hero in the stuff. (The) Cap has a moment where he (no pun intended) freezes up… before realizing that he is stronger than this fear. He refuses to give up… and smashes his new ice dungarees with the edge of his shield!
He then slip-slides his way toward Cold War… and kayos the poor innocent ice puppet. The Fear-Eater chalks this up as another loss and flees the scene. We wrap up with The Captain turning Cold War over to the authorities.
So… anyone unfamiliar with Captain America’s origin? Because so much of this… is that. Not a bad thing… especially if we view this under the scope of “every comic could be somebody’s first”, right? Now, how many of us are super familiar with why Steve Rogers is wearing a black costume right now? Shouldn’t that be at the very least mentioned? I know the police officers made a comment about the new duds… but, we get zero explanation… not even a tiny narration box, or an editor’s footnote!
I mean, if I was coming into this story “cold” (pun… uh, intentional?), that’s what I’d wanna know about! I don’t need to see Peter Parker get bit by the friggin’ spider for the hundredth time… but, maybe catch me up on what’s gone on in his world over the last few weeks, right?
Outside of that… let’s talk about this story. Did the Fear-Eater concoct this entire Cryo-Lab thing… because, it didn’t seem like it in the reading. I thought the Fear Bug showed up after the fact, and just decided to use it to put a li’l fright into Cap. Maybe I’m missing something. If that’s the case… ya know, that the F.E. wasn’t responsible for the hoo-doo at the Lab… then, who was?
I mean, “Cold War” was just a frozen human that the Fear-Eater “animated” to embody Cap’s worst fear… right? I mean, it said as much. Was Cold War an actual baddie here? Because, if not… the poor dude’s going to wind up paying for the Fear-Eater’s crimes, no? I don’t see him getting a “fair trial”, know what I mean? The whole thing is… kind of a mess.
So yeah… we spend too many pages on Captain America’s origin… we have a nebulous timeline… and an even more nebulous villain. Well… at least it looked nice, and it was fun to see The Captain in his darker togs!
Tomorrow: The Wrap-Up!