Appearing in "Ice Cap"
- Bucky Barnes (Main story and flashback)
Synopsis for "Ice Cap"
Having defeated the High Evolutionary's plans with the help of the Avengers reservists, the Captain returns to Hydrobase to plan his next moves, on how to fight the Commission on Superhuman Activities as well as reviving the Avengers. He is surprised by Demolition Man, who, after being unable to leave a message on Cap's hotline, made his way to Avengers Island to ponder his own next move. Rogers invites D-Man to be the first recruit to his newest team of Avengers, and they proceed toward the remains of the compound to see if they can contact more prospective members and prepare to investigate the [[Inferno (Event}|ongoing weirdness in Manhattan]]. However, they are intercepted by a helicopter carrying Battlestar. Before Battlestar can introduce himself, D-Man, recognizing him from their previous encounter during the [[Ophelia Sarkissian (Earth-616}|Viper]]'s insurrection in D.C., attacks Battlestar, but the Captain breaks up the fight. Battlestar informs Rogers of the situation regarding Flag-Smasher's taking of Ice Station Able, his capture of the current Captain America, and his demand for the "real" Captain America. Rogers is suspicious, knowing Battlestar is working for the Commission, but Lemar insists he's there against the Commission's wishes. Rogers decides that if he can confirm that Flag-Smasher is at large, he'll help Battlestar.
Outside of the research station, Captain America is being held suspended waist-high in ice water, using a steel girder chained to his legs to weigh him down. Flag-Smasher is impressed by his foe's resilience, and mentions his hope that his partner succeeds in finding the original Captain America in time, but then wonders why he's bothering to tell his captive this. As Flag-Smasher walks away, Walker only briefly struggles to free himself.
As he reaches the station's communications room, Flag-Smasher muses that only six hours remain until U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M.'s Doomsday device is activated, and ponders his own idealism regarding the source of the the funding for his anti-nationalist activities, when the radar picks up multiple incoming blips - U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. agents have tracked him down. The Captain, D-Man, and Battlestar arrive in a Quinjet to witness the attack on the base. Rogers orders D-Man to take control of the Quinjet while he and Battlestar join the fray. The two end up split up during the fray, with Battlestar resolving to find Walker, while Rogers seeks out Flag-Smasher, both men confused as they are unaware of Flag-Smasher's split with his organization.
Rogers eventually finds Flag-Smasher behind a makeshift barrier in a corridor, gunning down U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. agents with a machine gun, and holding his former shield for protection. Flag-Smasher is taken aback by the black uniform, but recognizes his foe through his words and actions, confirming his identity by having him repeat the last words he had for Cap in their previous encounter in the Alps. Satisfied that he has confirmed the Captain's identity, Flag-Smasher tells him that he resigned from U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. when he found out that they had been funded by Johann Shmidt, the Red Skull. Rogers is skeptical, as the original Skull died in his arms, but Flag-Smasher is adamant in his beliefs - that to use a weapon funded by a Nazi, even with the goal of saving the world, would be the height of hypocrisy, and he pleads for the Captain's help to stop U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M.'s Doomsday weapon, requesting Cap's help because he is the only person Flag-Smasher could trust in such a situation.
Rogers brings Flag-Smasher aboard the Quinjet, much to D-Man's surprise, as Battlestar succeeds in rescuing Walker, though the two are left behind at the research station. The Quinjet arrives at the U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. base with just seven minutes to spare. Before disembarking aboard rocket-skis, the Captain asks to switch shields with Flag-Smasher, who doesn't understand why it would matter, but agrees. Rogers immediately feels the difference between shields as they take off, while Flag-Smasher is simply impressed by his ability to adapt to the rocket-skis. The two quickly reach the device, which Flag-Smasher reveals will generate an electromagnetic pulse powerful enough to disable electronic devices across the entire planet. Rogers questions the logic of how such a device would further Flag-Smasher's goal of uniting the world, which he begins to explain as an attempt to force all mankind to face a common predicament. Unfortunately, Flag-Smasher doesn't know how to deactivate the device, and misjudged Cap's ability to do so.
Cap orders D-Man to send the Quinjet on a collision course with the base, with the intention of destroying the device, but also tells D-Man to bail out beforehand. D-Man agrees to do it, but as he sets the course, he hears intruders landing on the upper hull. Realizing that they could be attempting to blow up the Quinjet before it can crash, he sets the auto-pilot and disembarks to take out the attackers, while Cap and Flag-Smasher evacuate the base. D-Man manages to get rid of the attackers, and removes one bomb by removing the panel it's attached to, but while distracted by an U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. agent entangled by a tether stuck to the Quinjet, another bomb goes off. The remains of the Quinjet do crash into the base, destroying the device, but there's no sign of a parachute. Frantic, and fearing a repeat of the loss of his old partner Bucky Barnes, Rogers searches the waters for any sign of his friend... but after two hours with no sign of so much as a scrap of D-Man's uniform, he fears the worst - that history has repeated itself, and he has lost another partner... and a friend.
You'd think that the combined forces of the Captain, D-Man, and Battlestar would be more than a match for the villainous Flag-Smasher, wouldn't you? Well, you'd be wrong! There's only one way the heroes can beat him... and that's if one of the heroes makes the ultimate sacrifice!
- The cover of this issue is an homage to Jack Kirby and John Romita's cover of Captain America #193. The cover is flipped and Battlestar is in the place of the Falcon.
- This story takes place after the events in Avengers Annual #17. The Editor's Note on the opening page, however, mistakenly refers to Avengers Annual #18.
- Demolition Man is involved in an explosion and feared dead this issue.
- This story is reprinted in trade paperback.
Links and References
- The Grand Comics Database: Captain America #349 
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