These four issues are rather uneventful in terms of Captain America’s ethics, so I’ll discuss them as a batch. They do, however, include Batroc the Leaper, the introduction of Dr. Faustus, and
Paste-Pot Pete the Trapster, so there will be some cool villains to see (as well as the Trapster).
Issue #105 opens, like Tales of Suspense #77, with Cap watching a newsreel of his WWII exploits, triggering the same feelings of remorse, grief, and guilt, causing him to once again renounce the thought of taking on a new partner—even a romantic partner.
Well then it’s lucky for him that he comes across Batroc, now working with Power Man and the Swordsman, which leads to some thrilling battle scenes. On the final page, Batroc says au revoir while Cap defuses a bomb, after which he once again bemoans his fate of eternal struggle and vigilance… alone.
In issue #106, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent shows Cap some film that seems to be newsreels, but are actually faked footage of him acting decidedly less than virtuously.
When Cap tracks down the studio producing the films, he finds a duplicate of himself—an enhanced life-model decoy produced in Communist China (under the supervision of Chairman Mao himself).
It turns out the film was made specifically to lure Cap to the studio so the LMD could defeat him, take his costume and shield, and then discredit his image and “destroy the confidence of the free world” (in the words of the movie director who just wants the cash).
They fight for several pages, with Cap nearly on the ropes, when the director’s brother Willie shows he’s the better of the two, realizing (as Cap often does) that his life, under threat by the communists, is not as important as the ideals they are helping to compromise, and finally running to Cap’s aid.
Thanks to Willie’s heroic efforts, Cap gets the chance to fight back anew (and proclaim his perseverance).
Cap also echoes Willie’s sentiments in the page below—and might have hurt the LMD’s feelings (if it had any)!
At the end of the story, the LMD runs away as it starts to fall apart, having been based on an untested formula stolen from S.H.I.E.L.D. (who chose to regard the theft as a Trojan horse of sorts, which almost backfired).
Also, the director finds his brother dead… a moment before his employer comes to kill him. This was an unusually dark ending for a Marvel comic of that age, perhaps mandated by the Comics Code Authority that, like the Hayes Code for the movies, required that criminals receive their “just deserts.”
Issue #107 opens similarly to the previous one with a scene from WWII with Bucky… but then goes awry in a unique fashion.
As in Tales of Suspense #79, Cap begins to question his own mental state, and resolves to see his new therapist, Dr. Faustus—who we learn has been treating Cap for some time.
As we know, Faustus is not an ordinary therapist, but an evil therapist, who allies with neo-Nazis and the Red Skull and was instrumental in the “death” of Captain America immediately after the superhero Civil War. (I do not recommend his services.)
Here, we learn that he has been sneaking Cap “nightmare pills,” supplemented by actors hired to impersonate Sharon, the Red Skull, and Nazi soldiers from WWII, in an attempt to break him mentally. In the end, Cap reveals he was on to Faustus’ schemes, having sent the pills to S.H.I.E.L.D. for analysis early on, and played along to get close to the villain so he could defeat him (rather easily).
The most notable page from the rest of the issue is the one below, in which Cap engages in some social commentary and addressing his “man out of time” status for the first time since his earliest appearances in Avengers and Tales of Suspense.
(As you probably guessed, that wasn’t really Sharon.)
Finally, in issue #108, Cap faces his greatest challenge: the Trapster, the supervillain once known as Paste-Pot Pete until he changed his name to become even more intimidating. Unfortunately for poor Pete, few of his scenes in this comic were interesting enough to include here—instead we see Cap being short with a S.H.I.E.L.D. out of frustration over his lot in life and his difficulties with Sharon and her dedication to her job.
Now that he’s no longer seeing Dr. Faustus, I guess Cap is working out some of his issues with whichever S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is unlucky enough to show up! Even though Cap unloads about his loss and grief…
…the poor fella just wants to tell him about Sharon. (Nice coloring in the panel above—too bad the comic doesn’t credit the colorist.)
Of course, the Trapster has Sharon. Look how adorable he is with his bluster and all! “I’m the most powerful man in the world… my mom told me so!”
Believe it or not, the most powerful man in the world cannot defeat Captain America—but the real surprise comes after Cap goes to free Sharon.
Cap must feel so used! But to be fair, I don’t think he’s thinking about that right now.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #103-104 and Daredevil #43 (July-August 1968)
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Avengers #56 and Annual #2 (September 1968) and Avengers #58 (November 1968)
NEXT ISSUE: Captain America #109 (January 1969)