Bargain Comic Reviews

New Reviews of Old Comics

Captain America #210 (June 1977)

Purchase price: $1

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.


2 comments on “Captain America #210 (June 1977)

  1. I bought this as a back issue in 1989, when I was 13 years old. Gotta say, Kirby’s sexy depictions of the two women, Sharon Carter and Donna Maria Puentes, were immediately noticed by my teenage hormones! Seriously, this was a good issue, but it would be a few years before I was able to track down the rest of the chapters to this entire multi-issue arc. Off the top of my head, I believe that it ran from issue #s 208 to 212. Some fans argue Kirby’s mid-1970s Marvel work was not as good as his earlier output, but I definitely disagree. Weirder, definitely, but just as good.

    • bargaincomicreviews
      August 2, 2012

      It wasn’t all that long ago I thought Kirby’s 70’s work, DC or Marvel, was total garbage, but in the past couple years I’ve developed a deep appreciation for what he was doing with the Fourth World, OMAC and these Captain America stories. As was the case for most of his career, Jack was well ahead of his time; sadly he was too far ahead of the curve in the 70s when almost no one in the mainstream was trying to break the tried and true molds. I recently read New Gods and Mister Miracle reprints and totally loved them.

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