Marvel Flashback: Captain America's Madbomb Saga
'Captain America: Marvels Snapshot' has a new look at the Jack Kirby tale -- revisit the original on Marvel Unlimited!
Back in 1975, Jack Kirby returned to one of his most famous co-creations and he gave Captain America one of his first epic storylines: The Madbomb Saga. On Wednesday, April 8, Mark Russell and artist Ramon Perez will be revisiting the Madbomb era in CAPTAIN AMERICA: MARVELS SNAPSHOT #1. Russell and Perez will tell the story of a young teenager whose life was destroyed by the initial Madbomb attack. Unfortunately, his genius has drawn the attention of A.I.M. recruiters, and his destiny may lead to a life outside of the law.
By the time Kirby came back to CAPTAIN AMERICA for the seven-part Madbomb Saga, Steve Rogers had a firm partnership with Sam Wilson AKA the Falcon. But the opening pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #193 tested that bond. Steve and Sam were not immune to the Madbomb’s effects. Within seconds, they were at each other's' throats before their strength of character allowed them to overcome the Madbomb’s deadly impulses.
Unfortunately, the rest of the city wasn’t as lucky. The Madbomb induced a state of temporary insanity that caused ordinary people to become berserkers. It was a devastating attack, but the horror of the Madbomb was that this was simply a smaller version of the ultimate weapon. As explained in the issue, a “Peanut” was a Madbomb that could affect a village. A mid-sized Madbomb was called a “Dumpling,” and it could take out a city. But the “Big Daddy” Madbomb had enough power to infect the entire country. It could destroy everything that held America together as a nation.
Steve and Sam underwent intensive training in CAPTAIN AMERICA #194 to build up a resistance to the Madbomb’s influence. That issue also introduced William Taurey and the Royalist Forces, who later became the Imperial Forces and the first Secret Empire. Taurey wanted to destroy democracy in America and restore the rule of the elite by force. He also had a personal grudge against Cap because his ancestor (who was also named Steve Rogers) prevented Taurey’s ancestor from warning the British about George Washington’s advance during the Revolutionary War.
By CAPTAIN AMERICA #195, Steve and Sam were captured by Royalist Forces. They were also forced to fight in the “Kill-Derby” from CAPTAIN AMERICA #196-197 before making their escape. CAPTAIN AMERICA #198 took an intriguing turn when Steve fell for Carol Harding, the ailing daughter of the Madbomb’s designer, Mason Harding. Steve and Carol shared an instant connection, and he realized that Mason was being blackmailed into creating the Madbomb with Carol’s life as the collateral. CAPTAIN AMERICA #199 offered a more detailed explanation of Mason’s history.
It all came to a head in CAPTAIN AMERICA #200. This finale also reestablished Steve and Sam as equal partners, as Cap led the assault on Taurey and the Royalist Forces’ leadership while Falcon and his soldiers tracked down the “Big Daddy” Madbomb. Falcon risked his life during his successful attempt to defuse the Madbomb. Meanwhile, Cap directly confronted Taurey, who demonstrated his cowardice in the face of Steve Rogers’ bravery. Together, Cap and Falcon celebrated the fact that the nation survived its greatest challenge to date.
Madbombs have occasionally resurfaced, most notably in CAPTAIN AMERICA (2011) #6-10. But CAPTAIN AMERICA: MARVELS SNAPSHOT #1 will be our first chance to see the long-term impact of the Madbombs on the ordinary people living in the Marvel Universe.
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