Bronze Age Beginnings

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Captain America #148

Cover date: April 1972

Writer: Gary Friedrich

Artist: Sal Buscema

Inker: ?

“Eat some dirt! It may be the last thing we ever taste!”

So says Cap on the final page, and one can only wish... it’d be preferable to the bad taste left in my mouth by this stinker of a comic.

Yep, it’s the Red Skull (again!) with his dreams of Nazism and the rise of the Fourth Reich. He even has another Sleeper (the fifth), because Cap only defeated the last four. Oh hum.

So Cap is given an ultimatum; to surrender to the Sleeper (as tall as a skyscraper!) on the outskirts of Las Vegas, or the Red Skull will crush the free world with his unbeatable Sleeper. Leaving the Falcon to contact SHIELD and FEMME FORCE, and The Kingpin to rouse his men (organised crime in armoured vehicles), Cap sets of by jet-pack.

You can guess the rest. SHIELD, FEMME FORCE and The Kingpin’s men attack the Sleeper to no avail, while Cap sneaks aboard. Battlin’ his way through the Red Skull’s hordes, he confronts ol’ Skully who pulls a gun on him. Luckily, Redwing (Falc’s trained Falcon) swoops in and saves the day, and Cap accidentally knocks the Red Skull to his death. Cap and the Falcon smash up the controls and the Sleeper explodes.

So much for the unstoppable Sleeper, and the rise of Nazism!

Everything about this comic stunk. The plot, the pacing and the dialogue (oh, the dialogue is the worst!). It’s only saving grace are some nice panels here and there by Sal Buscema, who I am going to hazard a guess was inked, or finished, by Romita. I wonder why no inker was given a credit? Too embarrassed, maybe?


  1. That actually sounds loads of fun - villains v bigger villains. Armoured cars? Trained falcons? Fab!

  2. I agree, all those elements could work if the execution was any good. The execution, however, was...not good.
    I'm still wondering why they never recovered the Skull's splattered body after he fell to his death. Not even a mention that the body wasn't found...

  3. I think that was explained in the Back Issue #41, the Cap issue, but I may be getting confused with tales of Doombots. Doubles, basically.

  4. Er, didn't the Skull mention in #184 (the next time he appeared) that he'd managed to grab a dangling loose cable and swing to safety before the Sleeper exploded?

    I recall absolutely loving this when it came out, and suspect a warm fuzzy nostalgia would prevent me from being too harsh if I read it again (mind you, Steve Englehart was just around the corner...).

  5. Ahh..that ol' trick. Surprised one of the dozens of SHIELD and FEMME FORCE agents hanging around didn't spot him sprinting off across the desert...

    I don't have any particular warm fuzzy nostalgia for most of Marvel's 1972 output, my main reading at the time being Marvel UK reprints of the 1960s stuff. I'm reading a lot of this stuff for the first time, but that'll change once I hit 1974, and especially 1976 when I got my first paper-round job and had money to spend on comics regularly.

    Thanks for the comment B.

  6. Also, as the last Gary Friedrich script, it was the end of the "Right On!" "Groovy!" hip Captain America...the next issue was written by Gerry Conway IIRC and it was back to the gloom and doom....the Femme Force was never seen again, either (whether that's a good or bad thing is anyone's guess)


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