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Captain America 156
"Two Into One Won't Go!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND December, 1972

(Originally Reviewed On 7/12/01)

STEVE ENGLEHART: Scripter SAL BUSCEMA: Artist FRANK MCLAUGHLIN: Inker SAM ROSEN: Letterer ROY THOMAS: Editor

On the cover, two Captain Americas are tearing into each other, while their partners are at a loss to figure out which one of them is the real Cap!

Freed from their bonds and now ready for a fight, Captain America, The Falcon, and Sharon Carter prepare to enter the cockpit of the plane being piloted by The Captain America And Bucky of The 1950's!

The cargo clipper is making its way for a landing, and in the hold, Cap tells his friends to wait until they have arrived safely on the ground, while inside, The 1950's Cap is pleased to be back on American soil, while Bucky is looking forward for his partner to deal with the "false" Captain America, and as the clipper floats along the waters towards Miami Beach...

The cockpit door bursts open, and both see Captain America and The Falcon break through, then as his double wonders how they could have gotten free, Cap tells his doppleganger that the real deal is not an amateur, and as Sharon warns him that Bucky has super-strength, The Falcon is confident that the second time will be the charm in taking down this "Bucky."

The 1950's Cap retrieves The Atom-Blaster and fires it towards Cap, who ducks it, and the blast tears a hole in the cockpit wall, where both The 1950's Cap and Bucky head through for some more fighting room, even as The Falcon grabs at the deluded man's uniform, it tears, and Captain America notices how his double's shield also buckles, as well, but to The 1950's Cap, he is America's symbol! Exhausted of his rantings, Captain America grabs the gun-arm of his double...

With the wing shaking, Bucky is unable to join the fight, and as The Coast Guard arrive, they are victims of the Atom Blaster, which tears through their ship, and Cap manages to make his double drop the gun, even as Bucky charges...

With the waves shaking the wing, Bucky's leap sents Cap down, then both The 1950's Cap and Bucky swim for shore, but not before challenging Captain America for a showdown at The Torch of Friendship in an hour. Cap is eager for a tussle right now, but The Falcon reminds him of the sailors in peril, and gritting his teeth, Cap agrees and helps save the crew...

After the rescue, Cap, Falc, and Sharon use a rubber raft to make for shore, and once on the beach, Cap is determined to deal with his double on his own, but Sharon and Falc are determined to be in on the action, too, which brings a smile to The Star-Spangled Avenger's face...

Down the coast they run, and at Miami Police Precinct, Cap tells the chief to cordon off the area, but the lawman wonders if he's the real Cap, and he offers his Avengers I.D. card, which is signed by The Vision, acting chairman. The order is given for the torch to be blocked off...

In New York, Steve Rogers' fellow cops, Bob Courtney and Sgt Muldoon are searching his room for evidence in the framing of the Sgt, and no secrets are to be found. As they leave the apartment, the landlord spots them, and is told that they are planning a surprise party for Steve, an explanation which the landlord doesn't buy for one moment...

A half mile away from The Torch, Cap and The Falcon are ambushed by Bucky, who tells them that his partner wants to meet the "imposter" solo, and The Falcon tells Cap to go while he and Sharon deal with Bucky, who does possess super-strength, but is not invulnerable.

Cap regrets breaking up the team, and figures that Sam and Sharon will be able to beat Bucky, who taunts them, and The Falcon is determined to take him apart, landing a solid punch, but Bucky manages to kick him down!

Bucky heads for Sharon, who is seeing how The Falcon is doing, and as he catches his breath, Bucky grabs her arm, but she eludes his next punch, then lands one of her own, and uses judo to toss him towards the waiting Falcon...

Who clenches his fist... then lets it fly into the face of this bigot who would be a super-hero! On Biscayne Boulevard, a crowd is there to see Captain America arrive...

The cops tells him that his double is there amidst the palms, and he urges them to stay back since this will be the toughest fight of his life! As the policeman tells him that he's faced everything from The Red Skull to alien beings, Steve is thinking about the dark side of his nature, whom his fan embodies, and in seeking to become like his idol, he became a insane bigoted Super Patriot. He knows that the man became that way because he wished to be like Cap, and isn't aware that his idol is the very man he wishes to destroy, and as he wonders how he'll handle the situation, a sound from overhead breaks his thoughts...

The Captain America of The 1950's swings down and kicks him aside! (Holy George of The Jungle, Batman!)

He is pleased that the police haven't interfered and is eager to deal with the traitorous Captain America of The '70s, but his shield is the one which crumples, not the imposter, who likens himself as the rightful heir to the first Captain America. To his eyes, the double may resemble him, but is lacking in quality. Rising, Cap tells his double that the nation is facing many dangers than ever before, and this enrages his double...

He who would erradicate The Reds whereever he sees them, and is intend on impaling the current Cap on his shattered shield! Cap knows that this man is stronger, and the cop sees that Cap is in trouble, and the crowd implore him to aid Cap, but The Sentinel of Liberty sends his double into the air with a burst of his leg muscles, proving that Captain America triumphs! His double slams against the marker, and concedes that this current Cap is a good fighter, but it is all part of a plan, such as the one he used to become Cap, and whom the government would naturally follow...

He tells Cap that he's stronger because he didn't have any Vita-Rays to weaken him ,and then Captain America tells him that he's been fighting The Original Cap, and continues to share memories of living in the '30s and '40s, and as he shares, the other man's face changes, his eyes which were glowing with the light of patriotism now glint with the flames of madness, and a fury engulfs him, as he is aware of the great mistake he has made, of how all that he has loved and has cherished, he had reviled! With that, The Captain America of The 1950's hurls himself at his idol...

And the fist of Captain America lays him low, slamming him into the pillar which holds the Torch, and Cap looks at his fallen foe, and whatever thoughts he thinks are his alone...

He remembers being a frail teen named Steve Rogers, who sought to serve his country and who volunteered for an experiment, and back then, there hadn't been any security checks prior to his becoming Captain America, and wonders what might have been... had he been the one to have succumbed to ultra-patriotism and madness. He tells Sharon that he's okay, and she looks at his double, who will be placed into suspended animation until a cure is found, and he will continue to fight for a better America while they are away, and all the while remembering how he might have been like his double, and bids his friends adieu, for he has to have some time alone... for a time...!

The two beings fighting their evil twin or double is an appealing approach in comics.

Even though his opponent is stronger, Cap has his beliefs and experience to bring into play.

I wonder if The Atom-Blaster was from a Young Men story?

To save lives or follow his foe? Steve Rogers makes the right decision.

At the time, Sharon Carter was a trusted friend, and not at all like she would be after her resurrection in vol #3 of Captain America, as written by Mark Waid, who had her and Cap at each other's throats.

At the time, Steve Rogers was a police officer in his civillian identity since Cap #139.

This Bucky would be known as Jack Monroe, and would become the character known as The Nomad, who most recently appeared in the pages of Thunderbolts.

Nomad is an identity which Steve Rogers used when he quit being Captain America in 1974 circa Cap #175 when he unmasked the identity of The Secret Empire's Number One in The White House, and this shook his resolve in how he could best represent America. It would be about a year before he would become Captain America again, in stories written by Steve Englehart, drawn by Sal Buscema and Frank Robbins, and lettered by SARitst Tom Orzechowski. A very memorable, very thoughtful and introspective period for the character of Captain America, which was highlighted by Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, and Carlos Pacheco in the Avengers Forever miniseries, which had the Cap of the '70s in his super-strong glory.

Sharon Carter would be brainwashed by The National Force and her death would be seen in Cap #237 (1979), while The Cap of The 1950's would be a similar end around that time, as well. The National Force was part of a scheme by Doctor Faustus.

The 1950s Captain America And Bucky were shown in suspended animation in the pages of Marvel's Lost Generation miniseries, by John Byrne and Roger Stern. This also featured The (Yellow) Claw, with a cover homage to Steranko's Strange Tales one.

This review is dedicated to Bev Keddy and TG Lammers

Steve Chung
"Two Into One Won't Review!"