When last we left the Mighty Marvel Checklist Hyperbole Check, the scintillating surprises of Captain America #131 had been illuminated and explicated. Still, there remained a clamorous cliffhanger as the star-spangled Avenger was trying to determine if the impish impostor standing in for his dearly departed partner Bucky could in fact be the real deal. The worrisome wait for the next issue was only exacerbated by the charged covenant found in the checklist: “The horrible secret of Bucky Barnes! The hideous threat of the super-human Modok! And the most dramatic climax of the month!” (A nifty note to the fervent faithful: I’m well aware that the proper nomenclature for the villainous villain is actually MODOK, befitting the daunting designation’s duty as an awesome acronym, but I’m carefully copying the original checklist, and that’s how it was written, True Believer!) With a promotional promise like that, there was surely another astonishing adventure in the offing.
Written by Stan Lee and drawn by the great Gene Colan, the story starts with the born-again Bucky before the predatory paparazzi.
So Bucky’s one of those guys, always bragging about how doesn’t watch TV. The major mystery in the middle of this marvelous, mythical mix, however, is whether or not the sterling sidekick may actually be Captain America’s long lost little buddy. For the answer, enter the malicious MODOK. Turns out the return of Bucky was part of an elaborate plan mounted against his old flag-flaunting foe. Despite having a enormous organization of surly scientists at his disposal, MODOK needed to employ some strategic subcontracting, leading to a long-distance call to Latveria.
Wow…Bucky’s a robot. Did everybody else know Bucky was a robot? The grinding gears behind his grin revealed, to the reader but not the hero of our story, the time for a terrible twist turns up. With a careful caress of his control panel, MODOK alters the android’s allegiance and no punches are pulled.
I think we all know how rotten it is when our rejection levels are increased to forty or more! The story has already delivered a horrible secret and a hideous threat, but what about that dramatic climax. Oh brother, it’s the ever-lovin’ end! The fearsome fisticuffs between Cap and Bucky-bot continue until it seems the malevolent mechanical man has the upper hand. Just as he’s about to deliver the death blow, the precisely programmed predilections in keeping with a crusader kick in.
“Cursed conscience!” is the conjectural cry from the cad with the colossal cranium. MODOK morosely mutters that Dr. Doom did his deceptive deeds too well and created a version of Bucky so accurate that vicious villainy was beyond his abilities. The robot now useless for carrying out serpentine schemes, MODOK hits the boom button and Bucky-bot blows up, leaving Cap to chance upon the controlling CPU. Satisfied he wasn’t the real thing (but still a little saddened by the sacrifice), Captain America is left to ponder the different ways he can lose a partner. And it all is duly dramatic.
— Captain America #136
— Thor #186
— The Incredible Hulk #138
— The Amazing Spider-Man #91
— Fantastic Four #104
— Thor #183
— Avengers #44
— The Amazing Spider-Man #53
—Captain America #131