- I am Captain America. There is only one.
- -- John Walker
Appearing in "Out of Commission"
- The Commission
- Ronald Reagan
- Red Skull/Johann Schmidt (Disguised)
- Arctic Circle
- United States of America
Synopsis for "Out of Commission"
Fifteen miles from the North Pole, Flag Smasher is fleeing on rocket skis from two U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. agents attempting to capture him. He tries to order them to stand down, but they inform him that he is no longer their leader. His Luger and mace outmatched by their plasma-blasters, Flag-Smasher maneuvers himself between them, leading to one of the agents, Krantz, to inadvertently shoot down his partner. This gives Flag-Smasher an opening to close in and shoot Krantz, whose death he regrets. Taking Krantz's armor and plasma blaster, he proceeds to a nearby scientific outpost, noting to himself that his success in this mission is not only a matter of world security, but his own honor as an anti-patriot.
In the Commission chambers, John Walker, Captain America, is forced to answer for his catastrophic fight against the Left-Winger and Right-Winger in Texas. Chairman Douglas Rockwell states that the Commission has voted to suspend Walker permanently, and that he is to be held pending investigation of possible criminal acts. Walker is about to concede when President Reagan enters the chamber, looking to meet the new Captain America before his Presidential term is up. He questions Rockwell about the Commission's decision to replace Steve Rogers. When asked where Rogers is now, Commissioner Sammish reveals they are holding him for questioning regarding the Viper's attack on D.C.. The President recalls a masked man saving his life, and states that if that was Rogers, he should be released. He offers words of encouragement to Walker on his way out, and the Commission finds itself in the difficult position of having to retain Walker, at least until the start of the next administration.
Flag-Smasher forces his way into Ice Station Able, where he orders the men in the communication room to broadcast a simple message toward the United States: "Captain America, I need your help..."
Rockwell is reporting the President's intervention to "Mr. Smith", who is delighted that Walker will continue to be free to besmirch the image of Captain America, and agrees with Reagan's request to release Rogers. Rockwell is surprised that "Smith" doesn't want Rogers killed, but before he can elaborate, the call is interrupted by Commissioner Cooper, who relays Flag-Smasher's message. She asks who they should send, and Rockwell instructs her to send Walker, openly musing that if he gets himself killed, it would save the Commission the trouble of dealing with him later.
In the meantime, Rogers waits in his holding cell, musing about his previous reluctance to fight the Commission, to the point of wondering if he was subconsciously testing himself in the wake of his previous fight with the Super-Patriot (unaware at this point that the Super-Patriot is the very man who replaced him as Captain America). Rogers is startled from his self-reflection by a distant explosion that knocks out the power in his facility. He finds that his cell door is unlocked, the facility is apparently abandoned, and his shield has been left out in the open, leading him to suspect a set-up, even as he tries to determine if D-Man is still being held there. As he makes his way outside, not finding anyone else, he sees he is at a military base, coming to the conclusion that he's been held at Fort George G. Meade.
En route to Ice Station Able in a USAF transport, Battlestar is reviewing the dossier on Flag-Smasher and the mission data on Rogers' previous mission against U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M.. He mentions that U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. broke Flag-Smasher out of S.H.I.E.L.D. custody a few months earlier. Battlestar tries to engage his partner, but Walker is silent, distant, causing Lemar to worry about his friend. Soon, they arrive at the station, and Walker parachutes down, with Battlestar holding back in reserve so that Flag-Smasher doesn't detect his presence.
Walker finds Flag-Smasher holding a scientist at gunpoint, ordering him to drop his shield. Walker refuses, much to Flag-Smasher's surprise. When Walker tells Flag-Smasher to go ahead and kill his hostage, stating that he'd be next to die, Flag-Smasher is enraged, believing the United States government has deceived him and sent an imposter, despite Walker's declaration that he is Captain America. Flag-Smasher releases his hostage and attacks Walker. Flag-Smasher quickly realizes that the man he is fighting is significantly stronger than the Cap that he fought previously, and much stronger than himself. Realizing how ferocious a fighter this Captain America is, Flag-Smasher regains his composure and uses his superior tactics to maneuver Walker into a position where he can use his battlesuit's energy-absorbing ability to sap Walker of his strength and defeat him.
Battlestar shows up before Flag-Smasher can deliver the killing blow. Seeing Battlestar's uniform and realizing his association with the "fake" Captain America, Flag-Smasher orders him to relay a message to his superiors, to bring him the "real" Captain America, or everyone at the base, including Walker, will be killed. He also tells Battlestar that they only have 48 hours before the world is plunged into chaos. Realizing he is outmatched in this situation, Battlestar decides he has no choice but to comply with Flag-Smasher's demand.
Back in D.C., Rockwell is tracking Rogers' movements, thanks to a homing transmitter hidden in a strap rivet in his shield. He receives word about Flag-Smasher's ultimatum to Battlestar over the intercom, but lies and says that since Rogers is no longer in custody, he has no idea where he would be. Elsewhere in Washington, Rogers locates his hidden portable hotline terminal, but when he attempts to remotely access the hotline's main computer in Brooklyn Heights to see if D-Man had left a message, he only received odd gibberish as feedback, and he realizes he needs to get back there to investigate.
Flag Smasher's got a problem, and he wants Captain America's help. But when Captain America turns out not to be the one Flag Smasher knows, the stage is set for a battle royal!
- This issue contains a letters page, American Grafitti. Letters are published from: Ken Kirkham, A1C Dennis Balch, James A. Perenault, Ed Gidner, and Mike Bradley.
- This story is reprinted in trade paperback.
Links and References
The Grand Comics Database: Captain America #348 
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