Hello and welcome to another week in Ye Olde School Café! This week, we’ll take a quick break from the longer, drawn out type stories, and just look at an issue that had a great self-contained story. Captain America Annual #8 brought a fight that was one fans had talked about for quite some time. First, you have the star-spangled Avenger, Captain America. A man that is beyond reproach or wrongdoing. On the other hand, we have Wolverine. Pretty much an example of what not to do most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes he’s there for people when they need him, but let’s face it, sometimes he takes things too far and it gets people hurt, too.Well, with these two contrasting styles, you know things are going to come to a head, so get ready! Written by the late, great, Mark Gruenwald, with art by Mike Zeck (1986)!
Our story begins with Logan, as he’s in a bar and a huge fight is happening behind him. He completely ignores it, and goes about his business. One man in particular really gives the other guys a beating, and they suspect he’s a “mutie.” Wolverine notices the man leaving the bar, and after a quick change of clothes, heads towards some noises. He no sooner gets over a hill than he sees that same man being throttled by a giant robot! Of course, Wolverine jumps in head first at the robot, but gets blasted across the forest for his troubles. He recovers quickly, though, and goes right back after it. It eventually retreats, and meets up with a man on a hover-board. He hears the name “Tess,” but that is all. He then attends to the wounded man lying on the ground.
The next day brings a new scene, and it’s one with Captain America talking to some people in town about a cave in on one of their streets. There is some evidence of a bunker of some kind down there. He opens a door and sees a few bodies lying on the floor. He believes that they may have been poisoned with gas. He brings the bodies to the surface, and then heads back down to look for clues. He gets surprised by a trap door that has a row of spikes in it! Cap quickly puts his shield between himself and the spikes, and avoids death one more time. Further down the path, he’s ambushed by two machine guns, but waits them out, and then they run out of ammo. After more searching, he finds an old boiler room, but it appears that something was there previously, with huge footprints.
The next scene shows Cap talking to one of the locals about who used to live there before it was torn down. Not too far from there, a trucker is having engine trouble, or so he thinks. He notices that his barn doors are open, and heads back to investigate. He’s caught off guard by a man in a robotic suit that also has a traveling companion who looks very much like the robot that Wolverine just fought. Speaking of Wolverine, he’s just crashed through the emergency room doors at the local hospital, and is seeking treatment for his friend. Wolverine then leaves the hospital, and heads back over to the spot of the earlier fight. He finds some crates that are marked “Adametco,” which is a manufacturer of adamantium. Back with the truck driver, the man in the suit and his robot have coerced the trucker into letting them ride in the back of his truck to get them into a foundry that can coat the robot with adamantium! They knock him out, and then force the employees to start the process.
The trucker eventually wakes up and calls out on his C.B. to anyone that can get help, to do so. One of Cap’s hotline members (yes, that truly exists) quickly gets him the info on the break-in, and off he goes. Meanwhile, Wolverine is already inside the building, and before you know it, he and Cap come face to face. Typically, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but at this point in time, the X-Men are under the supervision of Magneto, not Xavier, and the world doesn’t trust them. You can pretty much figure out what happens next, but I’ll tell you anyway. The two talk, but it quickly escalates due to Cap’s not trusting Wolverine because of the presence of Magneto in their camp. Wolverine strikes out at Cap, and the two fight ferociously until the wall next to them comes crashing down! The robot, Tess, has found them, and along with its handler, begins to try and kill both heroes. Cap and Wolverine get the upper hand through teamwork and experience, so the handler orders Tess to retreat.
Cap and Wolverine agree to team up, and then the scene changes to a very different tone. We see a man, a Mr. Shumann, visiting his child at a center for disturbed children. This is the same man that has been wearing the suit and commanding the Tess robot. Cap then gets info from his contacts about the origins of Shumann. You see, Shumann was once part of a secret government department that was around during President Roosevelt’s tenure, and also part of the Super-Soldier Program. He argued that when the soldiers came back from the war, that they might abuse their power, so he offered to build a robot capable of countering the soldiers’ special abilities. Cap then recounts the day he became the first super-soldier and Professor Erskine was killed. Wolverine then uses Cerebro to identify unusual brain patterns in the area, and he strikes gold with it.
The next day, Tess and Shumann attack a local military base, looking for someone. Shumann, who was also a SHIELD agent for a time, goes off on his own, while TESS is blowing up everything in sight. Try as they might, Cap and Wolverine have little effect on Tess. They use their heads for once, though, and realize that around the neck there is a small crease where Wolverine can get his claws in. He jams them into the space, and Cap uses his shield to jam them down into the neck and sever the head. At this point, they realize that this may have been a ruse to keep everyone’s attention away from Shumann. They find him in the control center, and he tells them of how he’ll be firing all of the nukes into the ocean to completely disarm the country. If they make a move to stop him, he’ll turn the bombs on the facility.
Shumann then offers up the reason why he’s doing this: His son suffers from a mental disorder, and he’s deathly afraid of a nuclear war. Cap realizes that something could go terribly wrong, so he flings his shield and knocks Shumann out of the air. Wolverine attempts to catch him, but misses intentionally. This ticks off Cap, but Wolverine tells him that he’ll live. Cap scolds Wolverine for his actions, but Wolverine dismisses Cap abruptly. The last scene we see is Wolverine visiting the hurt mutant he saved from Tess in the hospital.
Well, that’s it for now, but be back next week for more action and adventure! I’ll more than likely be starting up on another big story arc, so be ready! See you then!