In this issue, the Red Skull makes a less than astonishing comeback (after the kick glimpse of him in the final panel of the last issue). He doesn’t have the Cosmic Cube this time, but come to think of it, to this point he hasn’t posed much of a threat with it, usually falling prey to every supervillain’s greatest weakness: their own vanity. (Not that philosophers would know anything about that.)
When we last saw Skull, he implied that he had finally “found” Captain America, but he has also been tracking the visiting king of the Middle Eastern country of “Irabia,” hoping to cause some trouble by way of international misdiplomacy. (Is that a word? It is now!)
And the happy confluence of circumstances is all “just as he planned.” Gee, I wonder why his lackey thought he had to say that. <*cough* vanity *cough*>
My, how fortunate for the Red Skull that Cap happened to be in the right place at the right time. (And all without a Cosmic Cube!)
Speaking of Cap, it seems the sun finally shines on him at last. (Just in time for the Red Skull to show up, of course.)
Well, simple eyewear worked for a certain mild-mannered reporter for many years… as well as every superhero who ever wore a domino mask (including Bucky).
I don’t remember the Skull’s thugs having recognizable outfits (like AIM), but oh well.
As with his fight with the biker gang in the last issue, Cap finds it necessary once again to don his red, white, and blues, despite the entire purpose of his motorcycle trip (to find out who Steve Rogers is in 1970). (I assume the Nixon-Spiro jab is referring to the president’s aggravation at his vice president butting into top-level affairs early in their first term together, before the latter became the former’s attack dog, especially with the media.)
The Skull’s thugs intercept the king’s motorcade (which the Skull had diverted away from their Secret Service detail), and Cap manages to save the king’s life…
…but does not prevent the king and the car he rode in on from being stolen by a helicopter with a huge magnet. (Comics!)
In traditional supervillain style, the Red Skull lays out his plan.
Cap heads to the Skull’s hideaway in the nearby mountains—which Detective Cap deduced from the helicopter’s flight trajectory and fuel capacity—and lets himself be captured.
(Or so he claims… ouch!)
I’m not sure how the leverage gave him any advantage there, but no worries.
Next, Cap intercepts the rocket sled (!) the Skull is driving (with the king), causing it to crash, only to learn that…
Impressed by Cap’s efforts to save him, the King of Irabia joins the fight again the Skull, prompting perhaps Herr Schmidt’s best expression ever.
The king continues to be impressed by Cap’s courage and bravery, while the Red Skull makes one last effort to defeat Cap—but is reminded, yet again, that physically he is no match for a super-soldier.
Also, once again, we see that Cap is less than concerned with the likely death of his greatest foe—the Dark Knight Detective he is not. (Or else he’s read enough comic books to know the villain always returns.) But on the bright side, Cap seems to feel much better about things, standing triumphantly in the last panel instead of sulking away—see most of the last half-dozen or so issues—and looks forward to continuing his road trip.
Captain America (vol. 1) #129, September 1970: Stan Lee (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), ??? (colors), Artie Simek (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Captain America Epic Collection: Bucky Reborn, Marvel Masterworks: Captain America Volume Five
PREVIOUS ISSUE: Captain America #128 (August 1970)
ALSO THIS MONTH: Avengers #80 (September 1970)
NEXT ISSUE: Captain America #130 (October 1970)
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