Captain America (1st series) #354

Issue Date: 
June 1989
Story Title: 

Mark Grunewald (writer), Kieron Dwyer (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Bob Sharen (colorist), Jack Morelli (letterer), Marc Siry (assistant editor), Ralph Macchio (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Captain America arrives in New Jersey, at the Machinesmith’s old base where he discovers many robot version of the Machinesmith scattered on the floor, right where they were when he was last here. He takes the head from one of the robots and returns to Avengers Island, where he is reunited with Fabian Stankowitz, whom Cap offers a job as the Avengers resident inventor. Fabian is thrilled and accepts the job. When report of a robot appearing in Massachusetts is received, Fabian accompanies Cap to investigate. What they find is the Fourth Sleeper. Cap recalls his previous encounter with the robot, before transporting it back to Avengers Island, where several other robots are currently held in stasis. Before long, the Fourth Sleeper, no longer inactive, attacks Captain America. He battles it for a time, and discovers that the head of the Machinesmith took control of the Sleeper. Cap manages to destroy the Machinesmith head and put the Fourth Sleeper into storage. Meanwhile, Battlestar is still investigating the assassination of John Walker. He arrives at the morgue where the Watchdog who apparently killed Walker was taken and finds his belongings - deciding that they are fakes, he takes them with him. Battlestar phones Valerie Cooper and informs her that he thinks Walker is still alive. He reveals to her all the evidence he has collected, and Val assures him she will contact the FBI, but Battlestar doesn’t think she believes him. At Stane International, General Hayworth takes possession of the armor known as the Iron Monger. Valerie Cooper and her associates in the Commission on Superhuman Activity are called to Fort Meade by General Hayworth, who reveals that his recent absence can be explained by his working around the clock with a new operative to replace Captain America, who no longer works for them. He introduces the Commission to USAgent. The members of the Commission are in various states of confusion, while Valerie wonders if the USAgent is John Walker. Hayworth introduces the USAgent’s fighting skills by pitting him against the Iron Monger. As they watch the fight, in which the USAgent displays great skill, the Commission learn that Hayworth and Walker staged his assassination, but that to the world, John Walker is indeed dead, as Walker wanted a clean start, and as the USAgent he will have that. Valerie is glad Walker is alive, but doesn’t think Hayworth should have deceived the Commission. USAgent defeats the Iron Monger and Val wonders what the country will do with its newest super hero.

Full Summary: 

A barn somewhere in Morris County, New Jersey, Captain America a.k.a. Steve Rogers shines a flashlight into the dimly lit barn, and reminds himself that he has been meaning to check this place out for weeks now, ever since the machines went crazy in SHIELD’s New York headquarters.

At the same moment, in a morgue in Georgetown, District of Columbia, Lemar Hoskins a.k.a. the hero known as Battlestar moves through the morgue, and shines a torch around to the cabinets where the bodies are stored. He tells himself that he has been meaning to check this place out for weeks now, ever since the Watchdog who shot John Walker got himself killed by a mystery assailant not five minutes later.

Back in the barn, Cap tells himself that it seemed like every time he tried to get away, another emergency cropped up, but now with the super-nova safely out of this time period, and the Soviet Super Soldiers convalescing nicely, there is nothing standing in his way. He admits that the purpose of this sightseeing trip is a long shot at best, as there is any number of parties who could have been attempting to siphon data from SHIELD’s central computer system, and at least a handful of persons capable of jump-starting those robots that attacked Nick Fury and him. Walking past broken robots resembling various heroes, Cap can’t shake the suspicion that the greatest robot-maker he has ever met, the Machinesmith, was behind the attack. Cap remembers that the Machinesmith is dead, although he was supposed to be dead when he fought him some time ago, so that doesn’t seem to be a consideration. He hopes that with any luck, rifling through the wreckage of his last known headquarters beneath the barn will turn up some clues as to whether the Machinesmith has come back to life or not.

At the same time, Battlestar reminds himself that it took a while to scope out which morgue the slimy Watchdog was taken to, as he wasn’t at the same one as poor Johnny. He supposes that the autopsy was completed and the Watchdog was laid in the ground weeks ago, not that he is anxious to start opening the drawers to find out. But, if Lemar is lucky, then something far more important than the Watchdog’s body was left behind - namely, his personal effects. The farther Lemar has gotten into his private investigation of his partner’s death, the fishier the things he has come up with. He doesn’t know what they all mean, or what they add up to, but he keeps clinging to the hope that John Walker - the replacement Captain America - is still alive somehow, somewhere.

Captain America enters the anteroom to the Machinesmith’s command chamber, and sees the floor littered with Machinesmith robots, right where they were last time he was here. Cap realizes that he neglected to take a head count last time, so for all he knows, one or two are missing. He decides to check out the inner sanctum, and finds the main data bank, which was the repository for his digitalized personality, and it looks to be in serious disrepair. Cap takes a closer look, knowing that an entity like the Machinesmith can transfer its intelligence from one robot to another, telemetrically wouldn’t leave obvious tracks.

Battlestar enters another office within the morgue, and finds it filled with small lockers. He hopes that one of the lockers contains the clothes and pocket items found on the stiffs in the drawers in the other room. He hopes that the Watchdog’s junk didn’t get sent somewhere when he was booted out. He rips a padlock from one of the lockers, and although he hates costing the taxpayers money by busting all of the padlocks, he doesn’t have time to give the place the once over looking for the key ring. Ripping another padlock from a locker, Lemar decides that he will send the morgue some money as soon as he makes sure he has some with no fingerprints.

Captain America picks up a head from one of the Machinesmith robots, but he can’t find the slightest sign of a disturbance, and even the dust looks a uniform thickness all over. ‘Alas, poor robot, I appear to have given your maker a little more credit than he deserved!’ Cap thinks to himself, before deciding that there is no sense in going home empty handed, so he takes the head with him, and makes his way outside to his jet. Cap decides that when he gets back to Avengers Island he will contact Damage Control and have them clean out the barn and ship all the robot parts to Avengers Island for safekeeping. He tells himself that it is too bad he hasn’t been as meticulous about tying up his loose ends from his exploits as he might be, but now that he is Avengers Chairman, decides that will change. ‘With SHIELD gone, it’s incumbent on us to police our battle sites and confiscate all potentially hazardous materials before they fall into other wrong hands’ Cap tells himself.

Battlestar finds the Watchdog’s uniform, including the bullet-ridden helmet, but suddenly, he realizes that this isn’t really a Watchdog helmet - but a cheap imitation! He takes the uniform and helmet with him as he sneaks out of the morgue, wondering what if this isn’t authentic gear, it means. It could be that someone got to this place and replaced the Watchdog’s real duds with fakes, or the Watchdog wasn’t wearing real gear to begin with. ‘And if he wasn’t wearing a real uniform, can that mean he wasn’t a real Watchdog?’ Lemar wonders. ‘Who was it who shot John Walker?’ he asks himself, knowing he has to get to the bottom of this.

Less than half an hour later, ‘QJ-1 to Avengers Island, requesting permission to land, over’ Captain America radios down to Avengers Island. Michael O’Brien responds, informing Cap that he is cleared to land, and that he has a guest for him waiting in the hanger. Once Cap has landed the Quinjet, he emerges from the vessel, ‘Guest…I wonder who…oh, yes. HIM’ Cap thinks to himself. ‘Captain, I believe you remember Mr Stankowitz?’ Michael O’Brien calls out. ‘How could I forget?’ Cap mutters, while the flamboyant Fabian exclaims ‘Say hey! Caparino! So, you finally wised up and decided to make me an Avenger, huh?’ to which Captain America replies ‘Not quite’.

A block from the morgue, Battlestar has put a jacket over his costume, and looks back at his car as he approaches a payphone, deciding that slipping the kids on the stoop over there each a twenty to keep an eye on his car was a shrewd move, realizing he will need his car to find a payhone that works. But the payphone he finds has a dial tone. ‘Yes…this is Lemar Hoskins. Is Mizz Cooper in? Uh, no, she’s not expecting my call. Just tell her who I am. She’ll talk to me’ Battlestar tells the operator. In her office, the glamorous Valerie Cooper smiles, ‘Lemar! How good to hear from you!’ she begins, before asking him if he in Chicago yet, but Battlestar interrupts, ‘Let me get straight to the point’ he begins. ‘I’m all ears’ Val replies.

Back on Avengers Island, Captain America tells Fabian that, as an enemy, he is a nuisance, and that as an ally, he is a liability. ‘But as an inventor, you’re pretty darn good’ he admits, explaining that he would like to hire Fabian as the Avengers’ resident inventor. ‘Interested?’ ‘I’d probably have to give up my job at Radio Shack…’ Fabian begins, before announcing ‘Okay! It’s a deal!’ and he and Captain America shake hands. Cap informs Fabian that he can start as soon as he wishes, while reminding himself that Stankowitz has used his inventions to challenge the Avengers on several occasions, so here at least they will be able to keep an eye on him and give him a constructive outlet for his creativity.
‘Man alive! Wait’ll I tell ma!’ Fabian thinks to himself. Cap suddenly gets a report that a humanoid robot has been spotted outside of Waltham in Massachusetts. ‘Waltham? Good grief! That’s where -’ Cap thinks to himself, while Fabian grins, ‘A robot? WOW! I’m really good with robots, can I tag along when you check it out?’ he asks.

‘I have a reason to believe that John Walker is still alive!’ Battlestar informs Valerie, who gasps ‘WHAT?’, shocked. Battlestar watches some people checking out his car, while explaining to Val that he doesn’t have any proof, but does have a whole mess of unexplained occurrences. ‘First, you as you know, John’s body disappeared from the morgue less than a day after he was shot. Supposedly his sister asked for it to be cremated. However when I tried to get hold of his sister for verification, she herself had up and vanished’. Battlestar continues, informing Val that he got a chance to examine the uniform of the Watchdog who shot John, and he believes it is a fake. ‘I could go on, but it all adds up to one thing: I think there’s a plot going down to make the world believe Johnny’s dead when he really isn’t’. Valerie listens to Battlestar in silence, before telling him that she will let the FBI know of his suspicions. ‘If you find out anything more, let me know, okay?’ Val asks, but Battlestar hangs up, thinking that Valerie doesn’t believe him.

An hour later, in Massachusetts, ‘Watch your step, Fabian’ Cap tells Stankowitz who is now dressed in the Avengers Support Crew jumpsuit, and climbs down from the Quinjet. Cap hopes that he won’t regret letting Fabian talk him into coming along, and as they make their way across the field, Cap tells Fabian to stay behind him at all times, and if there is any trouble whatsoever, he is to run straight back to the Quinjet. ‘Sure thing, Caparino!’ Fabain replies. ‘Don’t let me down on this, Fabian, or it will be your last assignment’ Cap tells Fabian, and, over the next hill, ‘I…don’t believe it…after all these years!’ Cap gasps as he stares up at the purple and orange robot. ‘Oh, wow! That’s the Fourth Sleeper, isn’t I?’ Fabian exclaims.

At the same time, in the Cincinnati branch of Stane International, Mr Gladstone presses a control panel, opening the door to a large room. General Hayworth is with him, and he tells the General that he thinks he will find the I-M Mark One the answer to all the Armed Forces’ special training needs. ‘In fact, once you view Stane’s crowning technological achievement, you’ll not only know why our company is pre-eminent in the field of combat robotics, but you’ll most assuredly be tempted to order a platoon of said mobile armature - in short, robots, for your advanced strategic -’, Gladstone exclaims, until Hayworth tells him to can the chatter and show him the tin suit. ‘Most certainly!’ Gladstone declares as they enter the large room, where a very bulky robot towers over them. ‘General Hayworth, may I present the I-Mark One, popularly known as the Iron Monger!’

Back on the hill, Cap confirms that it is the Fourth Sleeper, standing motionless in the exact spot where he fought him all those years ago. He remarks that the Sleeper was a product of Nazi scientists and was a nearly unstoppably engine of destruction, were it not for the crystalline control device disrupting its molecular structure, making it intangible. Can looks sad as he recalls that it was Sharon Carter who held the key - his dear departed Sharon. Fabian senses something wrong and asks Cap if he is okay. ‘Yes…just remembering the last time I was here’ Cap responds, hanging his head. Fabian exclaims that he remembers the Sleeper, too, and that he was in issue #102 of Cap’s comic. ‘The Red Skull awakened him and you and Agent 13 of SHIELD were -’ Fabian begins, but Cap interrupts, and explains ‘That was the comic-book version’.

Back at Stane International, ‘This thing is state of the art, eh?’ General Hayworth asks. ‘Most assuredly’ Gladstone smiles, explaining that it was designed by Anthony Stark back when Stane International was his company. He adds that it was created under most demanding specifications. Gladstone asks Hayworth if he remembers how Star’s bodyguard, Iron Man, was going around shorting out the armor worn by his various armored rivals. The General replies that he does, and Gladstone reveals that Stark never got to the Iron Monger, so it is intact and undamaged.

On the hillside, Tentacles emerge from the metal pack on Stankowitz’s back, and he wraps them around the Fourth Sleeper’s body. Stankowitz declares that Captain America has checked to make sure the Sleeper won’t come back to life, and explains that his gizmo was designed for hauling scrap metal. Cap tells Stankowitz to be careful, while Stankowitz announces that he cannot get over how light the Sleeper is, before recalling that he could control his density. The Fourth Sleeper is loaded into the Quinjet and they take flight, with Stankowitz asking Cap what he thinks caused the Sleeper to fade back in after he vanished. Cap replies that he doesn’t know, but that he hopes to get Dr Pym to examine him, as cybernetics and robotics are Pym’s fields. ‘Maybe I could see what makes him tick?’ Stankowitz suggests, but Cap reminds him that his job is to create new inventions, not tinker with old ones. ‘Aww, Cap!’ Stankowitz complains, while thoughts float around in the Sleeper’s head - ‘They fly me to their headquarters. All goes according to plan’.

At Stane International, Gladstone boasts that there is a rumor that Iron Man was afraid to challenge the Iron Monger, but Hayworth declares ‘Bull! I heard on at least two occasions, he did fight it!’, to which Gladstone explains that armor is only as good as its operator, and on those two occasions, inexperienced operators were involved. ‘If you rent the I-M Mark One, I trust you’ll find someone, in short, suitable’. Hayworth replies that he will, and tells Gladstone to get him the appropriate papers so he can get the contraption carted away.

Forty-five minutes later, at Avengers Island, Michael ‘OBrien meets Captain America and watches as the Sleeper is loaded onto a truck for transport inside. Michael tells Captain America that he was quick, to which Cap replies that the Sleeper was inactive when they arrived. As Stankowitz helps load the Sleeper he exclaims ‘Told ya I’d come in handy!’, while a worker looks at the Sleeper and tells himself that it gives him the “jeebies”, and that he would hate to see it wake up. Stankowitz asks where the Sleeper is being taken to, and Cap informs him that hangar bay three has been converted into a containment facility.

Three hours later, in a special containment facility at Fort Meade, Maryland, ‘You’re the head of this outfit, Cooper. What do you know about this?’ Henry Gyrich demands as he and other members of the Commission on Superhuman Activity follow Val down a corridor. Val replies that she knows no more than anyone, and points out that ever since Walker was assassinated, no one has seen or heard from General Hayworth, and now, out of the blue, he has sent for the entire Commission to meet him here. Raymond Sikorsky states that he wished the military didn’t have to be represented on the Committee. ‘Maybe we can convince President Bush!’ he suggests. Val ignores the comment and asks Sikorsky how the investigation of Walker’s death is going, and whether the FBI has been able to identify the Watchdog.

As Wesley Werner, Martin Farrow, Orville Sanderson, Adrian Sammish and George Mathers mill about, Raymond tells Valerie that he spoke to Agent Stopes yesterday, and as of then, they hadn’t identified the Watchdog. The always impatient Gyrich tenses his fingers and shouts ‘Where is that blasted Hayworth?’, when suddenly, someone announces that the lights in the training area have gone on. The Commission gather around the observation window that looks down into the training room, and they see Hayworth, ‘And some big robot!’ someone exclaims. Hayworth looks up and thanks his fellow Commissioners for coming along. He explains that since their department lots its prime operative, Captain America, he has been working around the clock locating and training a replacement.

‘Man alive, who d’ya got in here? The who’s who of robots?’ Stankowitz gasps as he sees several robots laid out on tables in the converted hangar bay. Stankowitz begins listing the ones he knows - the Sentry, Sinister and Tess-One, and the Mad Thinker’s Awesome Android. ‘And, uh, who’s that silvery guy?’ he asks. Captain America explains that it is the Super Adaptoid in his unadaptive mode.

Back at Fort Meade, General Hayworth explains that he is not talking about his armoured friend the Iron Monger. ‘You may come out now’ he calls back, and a panel in the wall opens. From it, a man dressed in Steve Rogers’ old “Captain” costume - the black costume with the red and white stripes across the front, red boots and gloves - steps out. Hayworth smiles and motions to the muscular man, ‘Commission, may I introduce to you…the USAgent!’ he booms.

Stankowitz smiles and asks Captain America how he got all those great robots here. ‘Wait - was it in some adventure that hasn’t been published yet? Yeah! Ill be that’s it!’ he exclaims, adding that he remembers the first issue each of the robots appeared - ‘The Sentry in F.F #64, the Super-Adaptoid in Tales of Suspense #84, Tess-One in Cap Annual #8, and -’ Stankowitz is interrupted by Cap, who suggests that Fabian help him transfer the Sleeper into the stasis field. ‘Huh? Oh - right’ Stankowitz remarks as he extends the tentacles from his backpack, and collects the Slepper. ‘Easy now’ Cap tells Stankowitz, as he motions to an empty space on one of the tables with the stasis field covering it. A thought circles in the Sleeper’s head: ‘Stasis field? No! It’s time to act!’

‘Who?’ one of the Commission asks back at Fort Meade. ‘General ,you son of a-’ Gyrich exclaims, while Adrian Sammish points out that he is wearing Steve Rogers’ interim uniform. Raymond remarks that the USAgent has an uncanny resemblance to John Walker. ‘Walker? No - that can’t really…’ Val thinks to herself, suspiciously. Hayworth tells his colleagues that to show them how good the USAgent is, he has devised this little sparring session, pitting him against Hayworth’s most experienced Guardsman, clad in the two-ton omnium steel battle suit, with an arsenal of built-in assault weaponry. ‘I assure you, the combat you will se here is unrehearsed’ Hayworth assures the Commission. ‘Gentlemen…’ he begins.

But, back at Avengers Island, ‘Faith!’ Michael O’Brien exclaims as he is knocked aside by the Fourth Sleeper who has leapt into action. Stankowitz falls aside as well when the Sleeper smashes a fist into the ground. ‘Good Lord, the Sleeper was playing possum! It’s time for action!’ Captain America thanks to himself.

‘…begin!’ Hayworth finishes his sentence, and USAgent instantly leaps into the air to dodge a blast of energy that is emitted from the Iron Monger’s chest. ‘All right, Bunkie! The folks want us to put on a little show before I pulp you - let’s not disappoint them, eh?’ the operator of the Iron Monger calls out.

On Avengers Island, Captain America tells O’Brien to evacuate the area, and orders Stankowitz to get out as well. O’Brien asks Captain America what sort of assistance he will be needing, to which Cap replies that he will have a crack at it alone first of all. ‘Uh- uh - okay!’ Stankowitz mutters as he responds to Captain America. Cap lunges at the Sleeper and strikes its head with his shield. Cap tells his support crew to try and get hold of Thor or Gilgamesh and to put them on stand-by in the event that the Sleeper manages to escape this hangar.

‘So good of you to join us up here, General. Now start singing! You owe us one heck of an explanation!’ Valerie tells Hayworth, while USAgent throws his shield at the Iron Monger’s chest. ‘Most assuredly, Madame Chairwoman. And I’ll be happy to oblige, provided said explanation does not distract you from the exhibition below’ Hayworth replies, while USAgent leaps into the air once more when the Iron Monger fires beams of energy from its hands. ‘That futile attempt to disrupt my vario-beam cost you that hubcap, Bunkie!’ Iron Monger declares.

There is a loud WHOOM as the Fourth Sleeper throws Captain America backwards. ‘It moves more quickly that I’d remembered!’ Cap thinks to himself, but he flips over, bounces against the wall, and lands on his feet on the ground, deciding that it doesn’t matter, as he has defeated more powerful opponents.

USAgent dodges several blasts from the Iron Monger, as he leaps across the room to retrieve his shield, while, at the observation window, Valerie asks the General what in the world he thought he was doing going off and undertaking a project of this sort without the rest of the Commission’s knowledge or approval. USAgent reaches his shield, and spins around to deflect another blast from the Iron Monger.

On Avengers Island, Captain America leaps towards the Sleeper, thankful that the Sleeper’s volcanic powers seem to have atrophied along with its control over density. The Sleeper slams its way through some machinery, and Cap jumps in front of it, slamming his shield against the Sleeper’s chest, and tells himself that it wouldn’t be easy dealing with those other abilities on top of the robot’s strength and durability. He hopes that his attack can disrupt a few crucial brain circuits. ‘He may be tough - but I’m tougher!’

At Fort Meade, Hayworth tells Valerie that he begs to differ, as he was carrying out the assignment he had been given. ‘What assignment? The only thing you were assigned to do was clean up John Walker’s image so we could employ him without the public getting bent!’ Valerie exclaims. ‘That’s exactly what I’ve done!’ Hayworth replies, to which another member of the Commission asks Hayworth what he means, as Walker is dead. ‘That’s right. He died a martyr - a hero. His image problem is solved’ Hayworth replies, while USAgent leaps towards the Iron Monger and slams his shield into the neck joints. ‘Good God, man - you’re not saying you had something to do with his assassination!?’ Valerie gasps.

Cap wonders who reactivated the Sleeper - and why, while the Sleeper charges towards a nearby wall. He wonders if it could have been the man who claims to be the revived Red Skull, as the Sleeper was one of the Red Skull’s many brain-children, and the Skull would have known the robot’s whereabouts. ‘Hope he won’t be too upset when I return this thing in pieces’ Cap thinks to himself as the Sleeper crashes into the wall.

At Fort Meade, USAgent is thrown from the Iron Monger, while Hayworth reveals that he had everything to do with Walker’s assassination - he rehearsed and staged the whole thing, with Walker’s help, of course. “Staged?” Valerie asks, shocked. ‘Pretty convincing, eh? I see you were all fooled’ Hayworth smiles, before announcing that the man down there, the USAgent - is John Walker. USAgent dodges another blast from the Iron Monger, who exclaims ‘You’re making me mad, bunkie!’

On Avengers Island, the Sleeper picks up some machinery, while Cap moves away from him, thankful that he has so far managed to keep the Sleeper on this side of the hangar, away from the other robots, for if he was to upset the stasis field apparatus, then he would have four other formidable robots to take out. Cap leaps into the air as the Sleeper throws the machinery towards Cap, who wonders if that is the Sleeper’s mission - to free the other robots.

‘Make that “Was” Walker. This man has a blank record! A clean slate!’ Hayworth explains back at Ford Meade. He reveals that in the weeks that they had Walker on ice, they established a new cover identity for him, erased old mannerisms and gave him new ones, and that he even underwent speech therapy. USAgent ducks down as a panel on the wall that was torn open by the Iron Monger’s blast starts emitting fire. He pulls the emitter from the wall and aims it towards the ceiling, while the Iron Monger continues to fire blasts of energy. Hayworth explains that so long as the USAgent keeps a low profile, no one will ever suspect he was John Walker.

Suddenly, inside the hangar bay, ‘Oh, Captain? Over heee-eeere!’ a voice calls out, and Captain America turns to see the head of the Machinesmith looking at him. ‘Of course Machinesmith, you ninny!’ the head declares,. Boasting that when it comes to robotics, no man is his superior - not Doom, not Pym, not Richards - no one. The Machinesmith smiles as he tells Captain America that he considered pulverizing him before revealing who was behind this, but then decided against it, as that wouldn’t be fun. ‘You look so cute when you’re being taunted!’ the Machinesmith adds, remarking that he missed a perfectly good opportunity during their run in at SHIELD, he couldn’t let another chance pass him by. ‘So, Mr Blue-Britches, Machinesmith is back and you’re gonna be in big trouble!’ the head exclaims, but Captain America picks the head up ad throws it against the Sleeper’s head - ‘You talk too much’ Cap declares as the head of the Machinesmith shatters.

At Fort Meade, the flame from the panel strikes the ceiling, and the Iron Monger leaps for cover, while Valerie asks about the Watchdog who shot Walker. Hayworth reveals that he was one of his men, and that he shot blanks, that Walker’s uniform was rigged with trick blood bags, as was the guard who was shot on the way out. ‘What about the mystery assailant who shot your Watchdog? He wasn’t real either?’ Valerie enquires, referring to the mysterious Scourge. ‘No. He, unfortunately, was’ Hayworth replies, while streams of water pour down from the training room ceiling, dowsing both the flaming wall panel, and the Iron Monger.

On Avengers Island, Captain America leaps over the Sleeper, thinking that all the pieces fall into place now - the Machinesmith found the Sleeper and entered its electronic guidance system, where he repaired its density control circuitry so it could regain tangibility. Cap pulls up some machinery, and supposes that the Machinesmith wanted to get physically inside Avengers facilities, and gambled that bringing the Sleeper out of hiding would do it.

Valerie announces that she is sure she can speak for the rest of the Commission when she says that she is glad Walker is alive, but Raymond declares that he finds it inexcusable that Hayworth allowed this hoax to be perpetrated on them, as well as the public. ‘Why weren’t we informed?’ he enquires. The Iron Monger recovers from the water attack, and fires another blast of energy at USAgent, who is knocked to the floor. Hayworth tells Raymond that he didn’t trust his play-acting abilities, and points out that if any one of them was unable to feign grief and outrage convincingly to the media, all of his work would have gone down the drain. At that moment, the Iron Monger flies towards USAgent.

In the hangar bay, Captain America tells telling himself that as for what Machinesmith wanted here, there are plenty of possibilities. He hopes to catch the Sleeper off guard long enough to slap a stasis field on him, so what the Machinesmith wanted will be a moot point. ‘There!’ Cap tells himself as he leaps over the Sleeper, and slams the piece of machinery on him, emitting a stasis field around the large robot. Cap leaps away from the stasis field, hoping that he was lucky enough to have neutralized the Sleeper’s circuitry before Machinesmith has enough time to beam his intelligence into any other live electrical system.

At Fort Meade, Hayworth points out that since weeks have passed, the media will entitle them to their composure, so he trusts no one will have difficulty keeping the secret now. USAgent spins around just in time to deflect the Iron Monger’s blast with his shield. When Valerie asks about Walker’s sister, Hayworth reveals that Kate believes Walker is dead, and they had her flown down to take care of his personal effects. ‘Blast you, Bunkie! What does it take to bring you down?’ the Iron Monger asks. ‘More than you’ve got’ are USAgent’s sparse words, as he pulls a cable from the wall and shoves it against the Iron Monger.

Soon, at Avengers Island, Cap stands over the fallen Sleeper, who is held in stasis, as Michael O’Brien, Fabian Stankowitz and some security personnel enter. ‘You did it, Cap’n! Wish I’d been here to see it!’ O’Brien exclaims, while Stankowitz remarks that the Sleeper is as dead as doorstep again. Cap looks at his support crew and suggests they get the Sleeper placed into storage with the others.

Soon, at Fort Meade, USAgent stands over the fallen Iron Monger, while the Commission members gather around him, and medics check the Iron Monger wearer. ‘Congratulations, son! Good show!’ Hayworth tells the silent Walker, adding that he has a feeling USAgent is going to make his country proud. Valerie looks concerned, and thinks to herself ‘The question is, what is the country going to do with him?’….

Characters Involved: 

Captain America
USAgent / “Jack Daniels” / John Walker


Dr Valerie Cooper, Martin Farrow, General Hayworth, Henry Gyrich, George Mathers, Adrian Sammish, Orville Sanderson, Raymond Sikorsky, Wesley Werner (all Commission on Superhuman Activity)

Michael O’Brien, Fabian Stankowitz (both Avengers Crew)

Iron Monger


Awesome Android, The Sentry, Sinister & Tess-One, The Fourth Sleeper, Super-Adaptoid

Mr Gladstone

Local kids

Security personnel


Story Notes: 

Throughout this issue, the top panels on each page feature Captain America’s story, and the bottom panels feature Battlestar and USAgent’s story. Many of the panels mirror each other.

The machines went crazy in SHIELD’s New York HQ in Captain America (1st series) #351. This issue establishes that it was indeed Machinesmith who was behind it.

John Walker was shot and seemingly killed in Captain America (1st series) #351. The Watchdog who shot him was killed soon after by a Scourge agent.

The Soviet Super Soldiers are in the United States as seen in Captain America (1st series) #352-353.

Captain America battled the supposedly dead Machinesmith in Captain America (1st series) #249.

Valerie was with Battlestar when they discovered John Walker’s body had vanished in Captain America (1st series) #351. The story about his sister, Kate Tollifson occurred in #352, but when Battlestar went to Kate’s home, he found she had disappeared in #353.

Captain America fought the Fourth Sleeper way back in Captain America (1st series) #102.

There are nine members of the CSA following Rockwell’s death in Captain America (1st series) #350, however all nine are present this issue, George Mathers is miscolored as he has dark skin.

Debut of John Walker as USAgent, who takes the alias Jack Daniels.

General Hayworth’s absence from the Commission and preparation of Walker for the role of USAgent can be seen in flashback panels in Captain America (1st series) #382.

What does the country do with the USAgent? Force him onto an unimpressed West Coast Avengers! Under the alias “Jack Daniels”, Walker joins the Avengers West Coast in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #44, remaining with the team, (aside from a brief period where he was not voted back onto the team), until the team’s demise, although he joined the replacement team, Force Works.

Issue Information: 
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