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.
HERE is my theory about Plastic Man and Blackhawk in the Silver and Bronze Ages!
One Black Canary left Earth-2 and somehow a different person actually turned up on Earth-1, so sometimes those dimensional portals didn't work right. That would also explain the son of Plastic Man character.