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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I haven't read these since they came out. I'm surprised that Jarvis made his first appearance in TOS and not in the Avengers book (or an Iron Man story, for that matter, since he worked for Tony).

Looking at the Avengers books in GCD it doesn't look like they used Jarvis in that book right away.

The slow magnetic return of his shield was probably one of the reasons Cap dumped Tony's "improvements."

I don't remember ever seeing Jarvis in an Iron Man story.

I think that we all will be happier if we just agree to say that Bucky was dead in the Silver and Bronze Ages!

Except for those times he was a robot.

This was just a lot of fun imo.  Those hoods only had Cap outnumbered 20 to 1.  They had no chance!

They had no plan to defeat the other Avengers.  They just wanted to steal whatever was in the safe, and thought it made sense to go there when only the "weakest" Avenger was there.

Philip Portelli said:

Some thoughts off the top of my head:

  • But their plan had problems! Even if they eliminated Cap, how were they going to stop Giant-Man? Iron Man? Thor?

Tales of Suspense #60 - "The Army of Assassins Strikes!"
Cover Date: December 1964
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Cap is laying in wait for several costumed men to attack. They do, and Cap seems to hold his own. One of the men tells the others to let him handle Captain America. He steps forward and attacks with an Iron Fist (not the K'un L'un type, but the type made out of actual iron) and manages to stop and subdue Cap. We then discover that it's not actually Captain America, but a stand-in, as Baron Zemo is about to send his minions after the real Cap. Zemo happily sends his army of assassins after Cap. His men do wonder why they're supposed to bring Cap back, but none of them really want to question Zemo(hmm...aren't assassins supposed to kill people?).

Back in New York, Cap is giving a demonstration for charity. He tells the crowd that they're about to see an exhibition wherein he will battle a group of trained athletes, and that they will see how one man who is in good condition and well trained can hold his own against such odds. Offstage, several men wait to be Cap's combatants, but they're ambushed by sleep gas from Zemo's men.

Zemo's men take over for the guys who were supposed to spar with Cap and attack. Cap hasn't seen these guys before, but figures there's just been a change in plans. He goes on with the fight, explaining to the crowd his tactics.

Cap receives a blow and realizes that something is up. Zemo's men are surprised they haven't beaten him yet, and one of them suggest that they use the Formula X, which is a knockout gas. Cap realizes it's a gas and decides to play possum. Meanwhile, the audience is eating it up.

After they use the gas and think Cap has passed out, he surprises them by breaking free. At this point more of them appear including one with a gun, and the Iron Fist guy attacks. Cap easily blocks his attack with his shield. He attempts to destroy the shield but finds out it's pretty much impossible and calls to the others for help.

They're going to use the gas on him again when Rick Jone realizes that these are impostors and jumps into the fray. One of the assassins jumps him, but Rick is able to handle him since he's been taking judo lessons from Cap. Another attacks with a weapon but Rick beats him too. Seeing himself outnumbered, he chooses to run for the police. The men decide to let him go as they figure by the time he gets back they'll have Captain America on their plane heading back to Zemo.

Of course, Captain America has something to say about that. He starts beating them up and down the place with his shield, showing off the control he has due to the electronic transistors that Tony Stark put into it.

Zemo's men are outnumbered by Cap and his shield. As a last ditch effort, one of them launches a sub-miniature missile at Cap while his shield is out of his hands. However, Cap uses the magnets in his shield to quickly block the deadly missile. He then uses the men as punching bags until Rick Jones and the police arrive.

Rick apologizes to Captain America for thinking he needed reinforcements. Cap tells the police where the rest of Zemo's men are located (apparently he left them in the other room).

Back in the Amazon jungle, Zemo is monitoring the news broadcasts for word about Captain America's defeat, but Captain America breaks into his TV system and smack talks him for a bit, telling him he's captured all of his men and they confessed. He then calls Zemo a coward. Zemo blows up his receiver. Cap and Rick have ice cream with sprinkles (okay, maybe not, but it's a nice thought).

My rating: 7/10

We get another demonstration of how Cap can easily defeat great odds, not to mention some action from everyone's favorite sidekick/junior partner/hanger-on. In that it's a bit of fun, and there's some nice action.

That being said, it's going to quickly become tiresome if Cap continues to fight the likes of Leaping Lanny Poffo or the Brooklyn Brawler. Hopefully soon Lee and Kirby will come up with a plot that's more of a threat for the man in red white and blue.

Stan said he didn't reintroduce Cap right away because he couldn't figure out how to write him in the present day, and these stories show he still hasn't quite gotten the hang of it. That would explain why the series will soon be jumping back to World War II. Never read this story and wasn't aware he'd fought Zemo outside of the Avengers series.

He tells the crowd that they're about to see an exhibition wherein he will battle a group of trained athletes, and that they will see how one man who is in good condition and well trained can hold his own against such odds.

The Super Soldier process helped a little, too.

One of the assassins jumps him, but Rick is able to handle him since he's been taking judo lessons from Cap. Another attacks with a weapon but Rick beats him too.

So Rick, with a little training, can hold off trained killers?

Yes, he can. Because he's Rick Jones.

Richard Willis said:


So Rick, with a little training, can hold off trained killers?

It's like how the original, pre-retconned Bucky Barnes puts on a costume and he suddenly can keep pace with Cap.

Randy Jackson said:

Yes, he can. Because he's Rick Jones.

Richard Willis said:


So Rick, with a little training, can hold off trained killers?

Would falling behind that stone wall have really shielded him completely from the gamma bomb? Maybe Rick's had some faint, difficult to define super ability all these years and never noticed since he was always hanging out with more powerful people.

Haven't seen post-retconned Bucky Barnes. Is he supposed to be a mutant now? (Whoops. I mean inhuman.)

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