Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Captain America #314

The next hero on the list is one I don’t know too much about: Kyle Richmond aka Nighthawk. I do know there are a crapload of versions of him. There’s one in the regular Marvel Universe and then there are others in Marvel’s Multiverse. There’s even a black version of the character and I’ve heard he’s a bit of a douche. Today’s version will actually be from Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme. This team was originally created by Marvel to be analogues of the Justice League of America. They were from an alternate universe and they would sometimes crossover with the Avengers. I was originally going to look at the Superman analogue, Hyperion, back in September but didn’t get around to it.

There really isn’t much to this character that I’ve seen. As I said before, he’s a pastiche of Batman. Unlike Batman, he actually retired and decided to go into politics. When he became President of the US, an alien overlord named Overmind took over his mind and eventually took over the rest of the Squadron Supreme. This caused a lot of damage to that world but good eventually won out. Still, a lot of stuff was left ruined at the beginning of the maxi-series, so Hyperion decided that the group should take a more active place in the world by making the it into a utopia. Nighthawk was the only one against it since the team would essentially be forcing this upon the world and leaves the team.

Today, I’ll be looking at Captain America #314, a tie-in to that series. Mark Gruenwald, the writer of Squadron Supreme, also wrote the issue. He was known for a lengthy run on Captain America Paul Neary provided the pencils. Later Superman inker Dennis Janke provided the inks. I also noticed that Mike Carlin is the editor of the book. He later edited the Superman books. I had to throw that Captain America/Superman connection in somewhere.

Captain America #314
Writer: Rob Gruenwald
Pencils: Paul Neary
Inks: Dennis Janke
Colors: Ken Fedunewicz
Letters: Diana Albers
Editor: Mike Carlin
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The issue starts out as Nighthawk visits Imam, the wizard supreme. He’s basically the Doctor Strange of this Earth. Nighthawk came in order to find allies from the normal Marvel universe. Imam knows of what the Squadron has done and wants to help. He uses his magic to send Nighthawk to the 616 Earth. Kyle only has 12 hours to find allies before he and his allies are brought back. Nighthawk arrives in Avengers Mansion and interrupts Captain America’s exercise. The two tussle for a bit until Nighthawk is able to explain where he is from. Cap is suspicious but is assured when Nighthawk talks about the times the Avengers and Defenders met the Squadron.
Sir, I think Nightwing and Batman have a few questions for you...

After Nighthawk tells him that his old team is basically turning his world into a dictatorship, Cap talks to the rest of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four about helping Nighthawk. They do want to help but realize that they’d be fighting a battle that isn’t theirs to fight. They don’t even take out their dictators. They and the FF eventually decline the offer to help. Cap relays this to Nighthawk and helps him search out other heroes that could help that Earth. While they’re researching other heroes, Cap gets a call about a guy on a flying carpet. Nighthawk tags along since it sounds like a villain of his.

Cap and Nighthawk (which sounds like a nice TV show) get to the scene. Nighthawk realizes one of his villains is on this Earth, so he leaves without Cap noticing. Cap realizes that Nighthawk’s gone but has to head to his regular job as an artist at Marvel Comics… yeah, Steve worked at Marvel. After work, he heads to his apartment and runs into his girlfriend, Bernedette (Bernie). He also wonders if he should head over that other Earth and help Nighthawk. Before they can really chill, Steve hears a report of Nighthawk’s sighting and heads off leaving Bernie to chill for herself. Meanwhile, Nighthawk has found his villains (Mink, Remnant, and Pinball) at a nightclub. They see him and head out the back.
Steve, she even dressed up that weird exercise stuff from the 80's for you! Take a break!

A fight ends up happening between Nighthawk and his villains and it ends up spilling into a building with a giant typewriter. Nighthawk does what he can until Cap shows up to help out. The fight does end quickly, but Cap gives them a chance to explain themselves. It turns out that they came here with the help of another villain, Master Menace, to escape the Squadron’s rule. The seek asylum, but Cap doesn’t give them it since even they can’t guarantee that the Squadron won’t come here. Cap tells them to fight back and that he is coming with them. Nighthawk tells Cap that he shouldn’t get involved with this since it isn’t his fight and asks the villains to join his team. They accept and the issue ends with Nighthawk and the villains being teleported back to their Earth.


I thought this was a fine issue overall. It ties into the miniseries very well by showing us what Nighthawk had been up to. Since Gruenwald was writing both books, he made it all mesh well. I also liked how Cap and the other heroes of the regular Earth struggled with the decision on helping or not. They’re heroes but they also knew that this might not be their fight to carry on. While everything does revolve around Nighthawk, I did like that Cap at least got to do a little something here.

The artwork was okay. It wasn’t the best but it did the job well. I did like Nighthawk’s costume though. I also liked that it tried to pay some homage to Batman in the issue.  It kind of reminded me of John Byrne’s art in some places. There’s little negative to say about the book. It does feel a little overwritten at times though that could be the fact that this is the mid-80’s. Also, the artwork feels a little stale at times. Still those aren’t all-out dislikes. I still thought the issue was good.

The mini-series itself is interesting in a weird way. I might talk about it on the blog one day but not today. There really isn’t much to say about this character without spoiling the mini-series. There are other versions of Nighthawk out there, so try checking them out if you’re interested. Well, I gotta go and do some adult work like paying bills. Peace, God Bless, and say no to dictatorships. They’ll rotten your teeth.

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