So yeah, another reading project. My Luke Cage project is nearing it's end, so I figured I'd start another.

As of right now, I'm not sure how far I'm going to go with this particular project. I'll definitely be covering Tales of Suspense #59-99. I may also cover guest appearances in other books that aren't named Avengers.

With that said, let's get this show on the road.

Tales of Suspense #59 - "Captain America!"
Cover Date: November 1964
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Captain America is stationed at Avengers Mansion awaiting any crisis situations. Jarvis leaves him a pot of coffee. As he  has little to do, he looks through one of his old scrapbooks.

Meanwhile, some mobsters are planning on taking on the Avengers. Their leader has two of them stretch a chain. To prove a  point, the leader--a guy named Bull--shatters the chain using karate! He explains that a chain can be broken if you find the  weakest link, and that link is Captain America, since he doesn't have any super powers.

At this point, a couple of the mobsters haul in Jarvis to ask him who's minding the store. Jarvis tells them it's no secret  that Captain America is there and that they could have found the information by using the telephone. Bull tells his men to  get their hardware as they're going to attack Captain America. They release Jarvis.

Back at the Mansion, Cap is looking through his scrapbook when he sees a photo of his former partner, Bucky. He feels pangs  of guilt. Suddenly he's attacked by the mobsters. They fight. The mobsters are well prepared, even having a man in an  armored suit. They get off a lucky shot (just a graze) while Cap is waiting for his magnetically attracted shield to return.   While he's knocked unconscious, they tie him up while they look for the Avengers safe.

They locate the safe and produce a torch to cut through the door. Cap regains consciousness at this point, and using the  heels of his boots--which are razor sharp--he cuts through his ropes. His feet are still tied, but Cap begins to fight  through the mobsters anyway until a stray flame from the torch cuts the rope around his legs free. The armored thugs grabs  Cap and boasts that he won't be able to break his grip. Cap breaks his grip and knocks him out.

At this point, the rest of the gang attacks. Cap recovers his shield, and despite all of them attacking at once holds his  own. The armored thug gets back in the fight, but can't touch Cap. Cap induces him to charge into a fireplace, knocking him  out again. Another thug plans to launch a sleep gas capsule. Cap blocks the gun barrel with his shield and forces the gas to   backfire.

Bull sends in his karate! team. However they're outmatched by Captain America. At this point, Bull charges and head-butts  Cap in the mid-section. He gets in another blow before Cap fights back, dropping Bull like a side of beef. He thanks the  thugs for livening up his evening and calls the police to pick them up.

My rating: 7/10

This is a good, if simplistic, reintroduction of the classic character in his first new solo story. Captain America has no  powers, but he's more than a match for as many criminals one can bring to an ambush. It's fun seeing Kirby allowed to draw  Cap as dynamically as possible, and the pacing is crisp and sharp.

There are some inconsistencies that are endemic to superhero stories however: why release Jarvis? If the thugs were willing  to attack Cap with guns before, why tie him up instead of shooting him? Also, why doesn't Bull ever get a last name?

All things being said, though, this is a solid effort.

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"Randy Jackso"?

The Australian Rules version...

The Baron said:

"Randy Jackso"?

Awesome.

This was Jarvis' first appearance, I think.

Correct.

Some thoughts off the top of my head:

  • See, this is why the Justice League had a Secret Sanctuary!
  • The Avengers had a public phone number? Were they in the book?
  • While the gangsters looked like they came out of a Warner Brothers movie, but at least they tried to modernize their tactics.
  • But their plan had problems! Even if they eliminated Cap, how were they going to stop Giant-Man? Iron Man? Thor?
  • Cap gets depressed over Bucky. You should keep track of that!

Have we ever seen the Avengers' safe since then?
Seems like having razor sharp heels on your boots is an accident just waiting to happen. Was Cap planning on going iceskating?

Perhaps a drinking game. Take a sip if there's a Bucky sighting. Chug if Cap gets morose over Buciky. Finish your drink if there's a Bucky flashback.

Philip Portelli said:


  • Cap gets depressed over Bucky. You should keep track of that!

The contents of the Avengers' safe:

  • Asgardian school ring
  • solid gold transistors
  • a super-size wallet
  • tiny necklaces
  • war bonds, lots and lots of war bonds

A person could die reading a years' worth of stories from this time period in one sitting.

It could get really bad if someone had to drink every time Cap made a speech.

And then it turns out Bucky isn't dead. It's like the Abbott and Costello joke. A woman beats up Lou because her husband was killed wearing the same type of hat he's trying to sell. As she runs off screaming her husband is dead Lou yells after her, "Your husband isn't dead, lady! He's hiding!" A minute later the husband shows up and beats Lou up because he was wearing the same type of hat "when a safe fell on my head...and killed me!"

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