Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Weird(cool) Panels: Captain America - Heart Breaker

While Captain America aka Steve Rogers has never been as much of a ladies man as say Daredevil's Matt Murdock or Spider-Man's Peter Parker, he's always managed to hold down a few long-term relationships.  There was S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Sharon Carter, who faked her death to go on a secret mission.  Then you had neighbor and glass blower artist Bernie Rosenthal who dumped Steven when she went to Law School.  In the 90's Stevie got involved with petty thief and Serpent Society member Rachel Leighton aka Diamondback.  The two went on many an adventure together, chasing Baron Zemo around the globe as he tried to complete a long lost alien weapon to fighting the Skeleton Crew and finding out The Red Skull was still alive.  Of course, Cap being the ideal of handsome and heroic yet sensitive made Diamondback swoon.  Upon returning to New York, she's mystified that he has no compunction to shaking hands and moving on.  Not looking for a partner or a girlfriend, Diamondback convinces Cap to agree to a friendly date.  And thus giving us one of the most unexpected, funniest and most memorable Captain America adventures I read as a kid, 1990's # 371, written by Mark Gruenwald with art by Cap and Silver Surfer superstar Ron Lim.

Both sides take the "friendly" date seriously as Steve enlists Avengers mainstay Jarvis to help him find some new threads while Rachel fixes her bright magenta hair.  Of course, this being a superhero comic book, there had to some high powered hijinks to interrupt their evening.  Serpent Society members Ash and Black Mamba trail our dating duo with no clue the handsome blonde guy is actually Captain America.  When Steve picks up Rachel, he's not even sure if she's ever seen him without a mask or knew his name was Steve.  First date cutesiness ensues as the two non-costumed heroes nervously make chit chat on their way to dinner.  Steve is all gentleman as he orders for Rachel and doesn't mind she drinks even though he is an abstainer.

It's amateur super villain night as the duo run into a commotion as police have surrounded the lame ass Gamecock having a dispute with his girlfriend.  Then super powered wrestlers/low level crooks Poundcakes and Jackhammer duke it out in the street.  Luckily, Ash and Mamba take care of the distractions while Steve and Rachel get to know each other.  After dinner and a magic show the two wander the streets of New York where Steve opens up and takes Rachel to the neighborhood he grew up in.  Rachel reciprocates and takes Steve to her former turf close by near Yancy Street, a nod to the Fantastic Four's blue eyed, clobbering machine, The Thing!  At the end of the night the two "friends" share a kiss which leaves them both in a romantic haze. Steve lays in bed thinking about Rachel and then Bernie as he realizes he's devoted too much time to The Avengers and Captain America than his personal life.  Across town, Rachel is smitten and happy that Steve has let her in to his life and vows to give up her criminal activities.  The issue has some great, real life heart to it and we get a sense of the nervous wonder that comes along with first dates and blossoming love.  Of course, all set to the backdrop of being superheroes while still remaining human.

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