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Month of Cool Avengers/X-Men Comic Book Moments – Captain America Faces Off Against Baron Zemo

All month long we will feature brand-new Cool Avengers and X-Men Comic Book Moments in celebration of their fiftieth anniversaries this month. Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far over the years.

With the holiday, I missed day one, so we’re doubling up for day three. Today we look at Captain America facing off against Baron Zemo at the end of the Masters of Evil’s siege on Avengers Mansion in Avengers #277, by Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom Palmer.

The Under Siege storyline is one of the most acclaimed Avengers stories ever. It is about the Masters of Evil taking control of the Avengers Mansion through a well-thought plan, complete with a large army of villains. At the heart of the plan was Baron Zemo, son of the original Baron Zemo, who mostly just wants revenge on Captain America. By the end of Avengers #277, despite capturing and torturing Captain America and others, the remaining Avengers had put together a new team of heroes to stop Zemo’s plan. Zemo is all alone, trapped on the roof of the Avengers Mansion. Captain America wants to deal with him by himself…

So much awesomeness. From the avenging line to Cap just nonchalantly grabbing the shield as Zemo throws it at him (what a brilliant piece of artwork by Buscema and Palmer) to the bit at the end where Cap STILL is willing to save his foe, but Zemo’s stubborn hatred would rather see himself die than take comfort from his foe.

What a great way to end this story. And what a great moment to kick off the month!

16 Comments

Zemo whips Cap’s shield, a shield that been known to shatter inch-think chains, and Cap casually catches it with one hand.
Captain America, you da man!

Here in Mexico, people sometimes don’t understand how I can find Cap so fascinating, assuming he’s only a representation of, say, an annoying heavyhanded neighbor at the least, or the face of an evil empire at the worst. People don’t realize that he represents an ideal, not just for Americans, but an ideal of what we wish the most powerful nation in the world should be; the idea of the Big Guy in Campus (in this case, the campus of nations) not being a jerk, but a good guy that even the nerds, geeks, and underprivileged (other countries) root for.

I love the Zemo/Cap thing in an early Avengers (maybe issue 6?) where Cap goes to face him alone not telling the Avengers what he’s doing & they have to save him. I love that para-suicidal Cap in the early silver age.

Somewhere I have the Secret Wars action figures of Cap and Zemo. Not sure if I have Cap’s shield, but if so, I totally need to re-enact this sequence.

Cap will always be the definitive superhero for me, but he never shone brighter than under Stern’s pen.

This is without a doubt one of best Avengers stories ever. It’s very comforting to see Cap having his comeuppance. The bit where Jarvis is beaten by Hyde is truly sad, one of the few moments we actually root for the heroes to break free and DESTROY Hyde.

Having just re-read the Under Siege story arc a few months ago, I have to agree this moment is an absolute winner.

Was there ever a “Drawing Crazy Patterns” of Captain America telling Zemo “your hand, man, give me your hand!”

At some point this month you really should do one for What If the Avengers Had Never Been? and another for Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-Men. Those were BY FAR the high points for each team. 100% serious, BTW.

The best thing about this arc is that it’s proof for me that the characters or lineup is nowhere near as important as the quality of the writing and art. I really didn’t like the lineup at the time but this still remains my favorite Avengers story ever.

Was there ever a “Drawing Crazy Patterns” of Captain America telling Zemo “your hand, man, give me your hand!”

I think that someone somewhere on the Internet once put together a list of all the times that Baron Zemo fell from / was pushed off of / jumped from a really high place. There were at least five or six instances. By now poor Helmut ought to know that’s it’s safer for him to stay as close to the ground as possible. Guy takes more tumbles than Humpty Dumpty :)

@ T.

The theory goes that life consists of your work (or school) life, your home life and a hobby. One of the many brilliant aspects of the architecture of the Silver Age Marvel Universe was that it covered most of those angles with superhero teams. The Fantastic Four were a family. The X-Men were a school. The Avengers were a workplace. They contrasted with the DCU teams that were all effectively hobbyists.

That workplace feeling makes oddball Avengers rosters almost normative. None of those people have to like each other or want to mix for any reason. They are professional superheroes and they are there to do a job. No one embodies that spirit more than Captain America.

Compare the “order of battle” sequence at the start of this excerpt with a comparable one from JLA #7. In that story, Superman tells J’onn J’onzz to “You’ve done enough old friend. Stand down.” There is a warmth from assumed mutual emotional investment in those words. Compare that with the much more professional exchange between the Captains America and Marvel. They are not friends, old or otherwise. They are people doing the same job.

If you haven’t done the fight between Captain America and Kang from the Kang Dynasty storyline already, I would like to request that you give us your take on it in this column.

“I’ll remember this, Zemo.”

Hell, yeah ya will Cap! Such great stuff the whole way through.

@ Kabe

You’re absolutely right. I’ve had that conversation many times, even with comics fans, right here in the U.S.

A lot of people just write the character off as a jingoistic blow-hard.

Fortunately the movie did a lot to dispel that notion. I know it sounds corny, but I get goosebumps during the scenes where Steve is being beaten by the bully in the alley and when Dr. Erskine is explaining that he was chosen for the experiment because he was the better man. I was so gad that they put those scenes in movie, my friends who aren’t comics fans finally “got” why he was such a favorite of mine.

It worked well this time, since it was only the second, but how many times has Zemo fallen to his seeming death,now? As someone else pointed out, it’s a miracle Zemo hasn’t developed a fear of heights.

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