This is yet another issue spotlighting Captain America’s fighting abilities (and Jack Kirby’s amazing fight choreography), and also Cap’s gullibility, the vice associated with excessive trust (especially in the face of signs that he’s suspicious throughout).
This isn’t any special insight on my part! It’s made quite clear on the opening splash page, both in the exposition box and Cap’s thought balloon.
After he takes care of the prisoners—“like they were nothin’!”—Cap even states outright that there had been real bullets fired (if he didn’t know better).
Even as the “warden” known as the Deacon—spoiler alert, he ain’t the warden, and I really doubt he’s a deacon—explains his reasons, Cap sees more and more reasons for doubt, but still maintains trust until one of the guards literally holds a gun to his head.
As we see in the panels above leading up to the Deacon’s revelation, Cap definitely needs to learn to trust his instincts more. As we saw in Avengers #9, Cap was the most skeptical of the Avengers when it came to Wonder Man mysteriously appearing, defeating the Masters of Evil easily, and then asking to join the Avengers. Perhaps it is the presumed authority of the “warden” that keeps Cap in the dark for so long, despite his better judgment. We know that before long, Cap begins to trust less and less in authority, especially as we approach the Secret Empire storyline—the 1970s one, of course, what other was there?—but for now, not being long for military service, his instincts may still be too favorable toward authority figures.
After the criminals take Cap’s shield, they throw him in a cell, where he meets the actual warden (or superintendent).
Note Cap’s confidence show in the last line about thriving in tough spots, also meant to give Carlson hope and relieve his guilt over the situation.
It turns out the convicts were counting on the magnetic devices Tony Stark installed in Cap’s shield to open the magnetic locks that stood in the way of their freedom. Little did they know, however, that Cap removed them already, because “they ruined my shield’s delicate balance.” (Right?) Naturally, he also gives them a demonstration of said balance.
And yet more shield gymnastics, no thanks to Tony.
Then comes Thumper—not the cute widdle bunny from Bambi, although Cap has heard of him nonetheless.
I know how much Cap loves to go on about leverage, not to mention timing and pressure points, but let’s honest—fist met fist and that’s it. (If he managed to target a pressure point in Thumper’s hand, he’s even better than I thought.)
Cap makes quick work of the rest of the convicts, even toying with them a bit, especially the Deacon.
It seem very important to Cap to assure the Deacon he was telling the truth about his shield—and also reveal the clever way he escaped from his cell. (A certain caped crusader would be impressed.)
And the final panels are too cute by half. ‘Nuff said!
ONE FUNNY THING
Even more than getting shot, Captain America is very concerned about waste, especially on behalf the American taxpayer.
Tales of Suspense (vol. 1) #62, February 1965: “Break-Out in Cell Block 10!” Stan Lee and Jacky Kirby (words, plot, and pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), ??? (colors), Sam Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
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ALSO THIS MONTH: Avengers #13 (February 1965)
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