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Captain America (1968 series) #424 Comic Book

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The Last Operation

Date of Publication
February 1994
Cover Price

Our Rating:
4 stars


Mark Gruenwald
Phil Gosier
Romeo Tanghal
George Roussos
Phil Gosier
Cover Penciler
Danny Bulanadi
Cover Inker
Cover Colorist

Comic Book Synopsis / Plot

Written by Peter Silvestro

At Avengers Mansion, Captain America and Diamondback enjoy a happy reunion—when he last saw her, she was in a coma in a hospital in Wakanda (issue #418) and he felt guilty about leaving her. She assures him she is completely healed; he informs her he is moving into his own place soon….

Meanwhile, in a hospital downtown, Seth (Sidewinder) Voelker is visiting his sick daughter, Amelia. A doctor tells him an operation can cure her recurrent seizures but it is expensive and Voelker has no insurance. He vows to find the money anyway….

As Steve is packing to move (which Black Widow tries to talk him out of) and Rachel is attempting to help Fabian Stankowicz with his equipment, Cap gets a call from Sidewinder requesting a meeting. Cap heads out, with Diamond as back-up, and meets with the former Serpent Society leader. Voelker explains that he needs money for his daughter’s operation and asks Cap for a quarter of a million dollars. Cap, not knowing whether he can trust the villain, declines. An angry Sidewinder threatens then to steal the money and it will be Cap’s fault. That night in the Bronx, Sidewinder teleports into a drug dealer’s den, overpowers the crooks and makes off with their loot. At Avengers HQ, Diamondback is unwilling to reveal too much about her former colleague in crime so she sets out on a mission of her own while Cap tries to verify Voelker’s story by checking local hospital records….

Diamondback visits Sidewinder at home and learns that his daughter is truly gravely ill; he also confesses that he is a coward—he formed the Serpent Society so that he would have others to take the risks while he planned the crimes. Diamond disapproves of his theft but promises to come to his aid if there is trouble….

Cap visits Amelia in the hospital and meets Voelker’s ex-wife; she is bitter about Seth but she also refuses to cooperate with Cap, suspecting him of trying to use her to capture him. Cap gets a call from Diamond, summoning him to Sidewinder’s aid. It seems the desperate villain had tried to rob a crackhouse but was caught and is now frantically teleporting around in a panicked attempt to dodge gunfire from the army of hoods within. Cap and Diamond arrive and mop up the thugs though Cap feels a sudden weakness in his muscles. Cap makes a deal with Sidewinder that if he surrenders to the police, Cap will see that his daughter will get the operation she needs. He agrees and is taken off to the Vault. Rachel has a confession to make to Cap: she crashed the skycycle in issue 418 because she was hallucinating about Snapdragon—whom she thinks she killed; Cap assures her he will stand by her through this ordeal.

Epilogue: Three weeks later, Amelia’s operation has proven to be a success. Cap brings a videolink so that Voelker can speak to his daughter from prison, assuring her that he loves her though he will have to pay the penalty for his crimes. She tells him he is the best daddy in the whole world.  



Peter (March 23, 2017)
Comments: “The Patchwork Girl of Oz” is the seventh in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum. Cap experiences the muscular weakness that leads to the “Fighting Chance” story arc beginning in the next issue. Diamondback has visions of Snapdragon, the villainess she thinks she killed, which also carries over into the next several issues.

Peter (March 23, 2017)
Review: I like stories that humanize the villain. In this case, Seth Voelker, Sidewinder, was already fairly human—his great accomplishment in life was not killing a sidekick or love interest, or conquering a planet. No, it was that he put together a trade union for baddies. Snake-themed ones at that. And he was pushed out when the gang started to plot more bloodthirsty exploits. Because Sidewinder was never a killer, just a thief. So it made him a likely candidate for a kind of redemption. Like Sandman in SPIDER-MAN 3, he was fighting for his daughter and his wife isn't being especially helpful. Cap is put on the spot: can he help Voelker? Should he? Is Voelker even telling the truth—we know that he is and this makes Cap's lack of trust somehow unreasonable. Really, Cap comes off a bit mean and vengeful, recasting this as a variation on LES MISERABLES, with Cap a clean-cut but still vengeful Javert. But this time Capvert doesn't kill himself—mainly because Seth Valseth is really guilty of the crimes he is being pursued for. And it does lead to Cap's being more supportive of Diamondback when faced with her misdeed—which is homicide. So there really is a happy ending.

PS What's wrong with Cap's face on the cover? And the malady seems to spread to everyone else in the big brawl scene.

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