Captain America #345 – Violent and Awkward
Captain America #345 was written by Mark Gruenwald and drawn by Kieron Dwyer. This issue really effected me as a kid. Not in a bad way, just shocking. It was the first time I ever saw someone get shot. Not just shot once, but multiple times. Not just one person but two. Not just two people but Captain Americas parents gunned down in front of him. Then Cap snapped, and killed a bunch a guys. It was pretty cool to see for the first time and I remember thinking to myself, can they show this in a comic? I was use to seeing the hero throw or punch a bad guy through a window, then the constable would take the villain away in the paddy wagon, but he was never hurt. Maybe I wouldn’t have been as horrified if it were a villain getting shot, and not John Walkers innocent parents. Hey 1988! Why so violent?
This was probably one of the first times I ever understood emotion in comic books. I also started to understand the difference in characters. I was use to reading Steve as Cap and as a kid I assumed that who ever was in the suit is basically the same person. This issue showed me other wise. I started to get the personalities of separate comic characters. After this issue I actually started to get the difference between John and Steve. What better way to get a kid to understand characterization in literature than through violence.
In this issue of Cap, John Walker is currently Captain America and Steve Rodgers is The Captain. The Watchdogs have currently captured John Walker’s parents and are getting him to surrender to be hanged for his ‘crimes’ that the Watchdogs see fit. The Watchdogs are a right-wing terrorist organization dedicated to restoring and preserving traditional American culture and values. So as John was going to capture Steve Rodgers he aborts his mission to save his parents. Which didn’t really turn out the way the way he expected. Not only was this the last time he would see his folks, but this is the way the Walkers found out their son was Captain America. John was about to be hanged and he breaks free. I thought how cool it was that Cap just swung by a rope around his neck to do that.
Which he did, then the Watchdogs opened fire on his parents killing them and Walker proceeded to slaughter all the Watchdogs. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Walker did snap and killed them all. Wouldn’t you? This was pretty intense to me but cool at the same time. Cap actually use a person as a human shield, threw a pitchfork into a guy, broke the neck of another and while all this is going on, I was thinking, why hasn’t he done any of this to the Red Skull. Or Batroc . Then when they were all dead and he was the last one alive he proceeded to hold his dead parents and talk to them and let them know everything is going to be all right. Please enjoy the collage of Captain America going crazy.
WTF did I just read? The issue started off just fine with dialogue from several different characters, then it went all bloody! Cap goes on a sweet killing spree then has a conversation with his dead parents? I did not expect that at all. The very last panel of the comic made me feel sad for John but a little uneasy as well. I understand the man lost his family and all, but I guess he had a hard time moving on since he was talking to them as if they were sitting around the dining room table. Hope he doesn’t get mad if they don’t respond and he takes it personal and vows never to speak to them again. That would just be weird. Tell you what peoples, here is the ending to the comic. See if it resonates with you as well as it did me. Enjoy.