New Reviews of Old Comics
How can you be a comic book fan and not have at least a passing interest in Captain America? Me, I’ve always been a Captain America fan even before I really got into comics. I used to have a few of those Mego dolls from the 70s, with Cap and the Falcon being among my favorites (even after my dog chewed out the wings between Falcon’s arms.) The first Avengers comic I remember picking out (#199) I chose because Cap was on the cover. Even now it’s hard for me to pass up an issue if I find one for the right price (i.e. cheap).
This particular issue, “A Serpent Lurks Below” written by Roger McKenzie with art by Sal Buscema, Tartag and Espo (I’m assuming those are nicknames), seems to be something of a bleed over from Avengers stories around the same time; now I have to find those Avengers issues, boy I sure have it tough. Cap’s feeling a little melancholy because it’s a down time for the team (annual super-villain convention somewhere?) and everyone else has someone to hang out with, but neither Cap nor Steve Rogers has anyone; the Beast is heading out for a date (at the zoo?), Hercules and Thor are arm wrestling (that could take days), the Vision and Scarlet Witch are holding hands in the hallway (you know you’re on a cold streak when a freakin’ android is getting more tail than you; hey, do they build those androids with genitalia?). Iron Man basically tells him to knock the sand out of his clam and man up. Seriously, who wants a pouty pants Captain America? Not to get all film-school-deconstruction about it, but this is probably a good correlation for the time it was published. Jimmy Carter was president; the country was in the “great malaise,” and everyone had a pretty poor view of America. Hmm, I wonder what Captain America comics are like today. Anyway, back to the story.
Before he has a chance to take a Midol, Cap is forced into action to save a young child from being smooshed in to a grease spot in the road by knocking him out of the way from a speeding truck. The kid tells him to say “Hi” to the Falcon, which reminds Cap that Falcon disappeared in issue #217. Gone almost 11 months before Cap thinks about him, that’s some friend. So this leads Cap to a super secret SHIELD station that has been abandoned for some reason. Turns out they’ve moved to another spot and they’re destroying this one IN 15 MINUTES! That’s plenty of time for Cap to ask some chick with blue hair a couple questions about the Falcon. They have no idea either. Jeez, doesn’t anyone care about the poor Falcon? He could be in real trouble. The Constrictor shows up for the obligatory fight scene with Cap, thus shortening those 15 minutes pretty quickly. The issue ends with the SHIELD station coming down on the combatants and Cap protecting his foe. And this is why we love Cap; he helps everyone, even the freak who was just trying to beat the tar out of him.
So now I’m adding Captain America #229 to my “want” list along with Avengers #s 176 and 177, among many, many others.
Best Ad: This isn’t the best ad, but more like the ad that most drew my attention and not in a good way. The center spread this issue is a two page ad for Milk Duds with Doctor Victor Von Doom as the spokesman. The two pages are made up of one giant drawing of Doom pointing at you, along with three small inset pictures and lots and lots and lots of text. I think the text is explaining some sort of contest, but I didn’t read it all since I lost interest after the first couple sentences. First off, why would you cram that much (boring) text into one ad and secondly why in heaven’s name would you have the evil Doctor Doom selling candy? He’d only sell poisoned candy! I’m guessing someone lost their job over this one. There’s also an ad for UFO Photos. Send them three bucks and they’ll send you “a collection of startling photographs of UFOs from government files. All authentic and documented.” Since the US government doesn’t acknowledge UFOs, it makes you wonder what country those government documents would come from. Wonder if they’re still selling that info?