Today’s Super Comics — Captain America #450-453 (1996)

Captain_America_Vol_1_450A classic Captain America story with a terrific premise. What happens when the ultimate patriot is forced to become an expatriate? He fights to regain his citizenship, of course. And in this case, that involves clearing his name after he’s framed for treason.

Plenty of thrilling action follows. Cap is teamed up with his ex-girlfriend, the formerly deceased agent of SHIELD Sharon Carter, now quite a bit hardened since her original appearances in the 60s and 70s. Back in the early days, she might faint on occasion. But this Sharon proves substantially tougher, and her harder edge makes her a great foil for perennial good guy Steve Rogers. (I’m disregarding the recent news reports until the full story is out. Speaking as a longtime fan with no insider knowledge, no way would Marvel make Captain America permanently evil. Mark my words. Wouldn’t be the first time a superhero pretended to switch sides to get the job done.)

Anyway, Mark Waid and Ron Garney had a fantastic, too-short run on Captain America in the mid-1990s until an ill-advised event derailed their momentum. They returned to the title a year later and produced good stuff, but the initial run remains their best work on the title. And the Man Without a Country storyline is the pinnacle. Everything a Captain America story should be—a driven and righteous hero, an intriguing and formidable romantic interest, high stakes on an international scale, fast-paced action, and no politics or preaching.

Writer: Mark Waid

Penciler: Ron Garney

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited, Comixology; Captain America: Man Without a Country (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up