Comic Review: Captain America #297 (1984)

Previously- Criminal Sanity #3|Coming soon- Currently Reading

Captain America #297 was written by J. M. DeMatteis, with pencils by Paul Neary. The colours are by Bob Sharen and letters by Diana Albers and inking by Roy Richardson.

What do you need to have read?
I picked this issue up at random purely because it was vintage, and Bucky was on the cover. If you’re new here, Bucky is my favourite character. I don’t typically read vintage comics, this one is silver age, and so I went into it blind and still enjoyed the story.

What do you need to know?
Original Bucky is dead, having died towards the end of the second world war (you see his death in this issue). But there’s a new Bucky in town. You may recognize him from Captain America; The Winter Soldier. Later known as Nomad, Jack Monroe is the current Bucky. Monroe is a really interesting, if strange character in his own right, but for this story, all you need to know is that he’s in Bucky’s role.

Cover shows Steve falling from a plane, while Bucky clings on. This is a depiction of Bucky's canonical death.

The title of this issue is ‘All My Sins Remembered’ which is apt as we plunge into the memories of what has to be Captain America’s greatest regret, or perhaps Steve Rogers’ greatest regret. That’s right this issue takes us back to the death of Bucky Barnes in 1945, as the villains’ force Cap to relive his worst memory. The technology used has echoes of Tony’s BARF technology, which appears in the MCU (Captain America: Civil War especially, but also in Spiderman: Far from Home) which is fascinating.

As a plot device, I like this for two reasons. The first that memory is an intrinsic theme in modern Captain America Books. The Winter Soldier seems like the obvious example of this, but we also see Cap struggling with his memories in the same book. The second reason is that it brings the 1940’s Cap to a 1980s audience, and even to a 2020s audience. As a result, this is a pretty accessible issue, once you get over Bucky 2.

Frame shows Bucky and Cap in conversation, with Cap's inner monologue over the top

This issue also gives us a crash course of the comic character of Baron Helmut Zemo. This is the antagonist of the MCU’s Captain America: Civil War and said to be appearing in the new Disney+ show Falcon and the Winter Solider. The origins of the comic character are a little different to in the MCU. However, there is one interesting commonality. Both characters are a result of Captain America’s actions, even though Cap is unaware of it. I like that there’s this common thread between the two iterations because it reminds us that Cap is often unaware of the damage he causes while saving the world. It’s very similar to the plotline in DC’s Batman: White Night and is one of my favourite topics to see in relations to the superhero genre. It returns to the question of the cost of a single life.

Zemo’s not the only villain in this book. We also see Red Skull, a classic, and Mother Superior who you might know as Sin from the Brubaker run. Sometimes one villain is plenty but given the complexity of this issue, it’s nice to have a couple, even though their working relationship is not quite harmonious.

Cap and Bucky in the forefront, with villains (Red Skull, Zemo, and Mother Superior/ Sin) in the background, while the Skull monologues.

Overall the issue had There’s also another plot with Sam, Bernie, and another character trying to escape from where they’re being held. I didn’t pay much attention to this simply because it’s not the focus of this issue.

Captain America #297 is not readily available. However, you can always take a look on eBay or other places where second-hand comics are sold. Don’t forget to use my Forbidden Planet affiliate link if you’re making a purchase from there and would like to help me out a little.

Coming Soon… Ruins of Ravenscroft: Dracula

In the meantime, why not check out… Civil War: Captain America, Captain America: Winter in America

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