New Reviews of Old Comics
This is a bizarre cover with those tendrils coming out of the Red Skull, like Medusa’s snakes, and wrapping around the floating heads of our heroes. I’ve been a Captain America fan since I was a little kid and who else besides The King, Jack Kirby, should be telling Captain America tales? That was a rhetorical question. Apart from a collection of the very first Simon & Kirby issues most of my Captain America issues are late 200s and early to mid 300s in sequence, so getting an issue in the early 200s is a bit of a treat for me.
Jack Kirby was responsible for the writing and drawing of “Showdown Day!” which is a story from SHIELD files, 116 to be exact. Sounds ominous. It opens with Cap using his shield upside the head of a Silver Surfer looking creature that is more yellowish so it’s not the Surfer. Cap is defending a black haired woman while the creature is being controlled by a guy named Arnim Zola who has his has pointing out of his abdominal area and an antenna on his head (it is 1970s Jack Kirby here, folks). When things start to go badly for Zola and his creature the floor turns into another living creature named Doughboy who wraps up Cap and the woman and forms into a ship of some sort. Outwardly Doughboy strikes me as an ancestor of Jabba the Hut; maybe George Lucas was a Captain America fan in 1977. Doughboy delivers everyone back to Zola’s castle where Cap and the black haired chick, Donna Maria are imprisoned. Meanwhile the Falcon appears in two pages where he meets up with a big like creature, and all of this is related to File 116. Elsewhere a blonde SHIELD agent, Sharon, is given orders to investigate Cyrus Fenton. Turns out Fenton is not only involved with Zola, but he is also the Red Skull.
The thing about Kirby’s 70s work is that (in most cases) he didn’t write one-and-done stories. He had ideas for multi-issue story arcs and I think this is a prime example. I’m not sure if #209 led into this issue, but it sure seems like it should have and I have little doubt #211 will be a better read. Kirby did tell some fantastic stories during this period, including the Fourth World, that were vastly under-appreciated when they were first published. Honestly I’d really forgotten about Kirby’s 70s work on Captain America and really need to find more of these issues. Marvel would be doing all of us comic fans a favor by collecting these into one of those reprint volumes.