Let’s return to the magical year of 1990, when Cap was written by Mark Gruenwald (who may always be Captain America’s longest-tenured writer with a massive 105 issue run through the 1980s) and portrayed by artist Ron Lim (perhaps best known for his work on Infinity Gauntlet and its sequels). With talent like this, the Streets of Poison storyline was bound to be an instant classic. It was, but not perhaps the way it was intended.
Streets of Poison is kicked off in Captain America #372 when Cap discovers that Avengers support crewmember Fabian Stankowicz has been abusing meth in an effort to keep up with his demanding job working for Earths Mightiest Heroes. When he confronts Fabian about it, the fact that he only became Captain America with the help of a drug is thrown in his face. This kicks off a storyline that seems to be interested in this factoid to the point that it ends with the Super Soldier Serum being temporarily purged from his body so that he can prove that the drugs don’t make the man.
How we get to this laudable plot denouement is a hedge maze of pure insanity
Cap tries to fight the drug trade in New York only to run afoul of roughly every enemy he has as well as half of Daredevil’s rogues gallery and everybody is trying to kill everyone else. This chaos is not improved when Cap is exposed to an entire warehouse of burning crystal meth and his super soldier serum likes it so much that it starts mass producing it in his own bloodstream. So on top of a gang war that menaces the city, New York has to deal with a super soldier that is basically on perma-meth.
Half of the moments in this storyline seem to have been written on a dare that Daredevil wouldn’t have taken. Captain America steals a plate of spaghetti from the Kingpin while staving off the turgid sexual overtures of Typhoid Mary. Daredevil attempts an intervention that sees him eating a half dozen knuckle sandwiches from a pissed-off methed-out living legend of WW2. Plus there is is the greasy, sweaty, shirtless fistfight between Red Skull and the Kingpin that absolutely no one asked for. This is all just scratching the surface. You have to read it to believe it.