Captain America #135-138
Issue(s): Captain America #135, Captain America #136, Captain America #137, Captain America #138
The gorilla in question is actually Dr. Erik Gorbo, a SHIELD scientist who is tired of being a poindexter ignored by girls. The main girl in question is Julia, seen here in what can't possibly be a SHIELD-issue uniform; she must be performing in a local production of Peter Pan directly after work with no time to change.
Julia is friends with Sharon Carter, which means Cap's relationship issues, mercifully missing from the book for a while, are about to rear their ugly heads again.
But we'll get to that later. Back to the gorilla. Not only does Gorbo retain his intelligence when he's in gorilla-mode...
...but he can also control animals. Not just apes. All animals.
I was sure this was going to result in a conflict with the Falcon and Redwing but apparently not. I guess it's because the Falcon had Redwing studying a gorilla model prior to the battle.
It's ok, Falcon! I like gorilla toys too! You don't have to pretend it's for your bird.
The site of the battle is SHIELD's Project Earth Dig, which involves SHIELD digging a big hole for the US to dump all its radioactive waste. If you didn't immediately wonder, "What will the Mole Man think of that?", turn in your MMMS badge, true believer.
Cap and the Gorborilla fall down the hole, and Nick Fury won't let Sharon or the Falcon go down after them. Earlier, Cap introduced the Falcon to SHIELD (leading in with a joke that involved calling the Falcon "savage")...
...and Falcon proved himself by beating up Dum Dum Dugan.
After Cap's fall, Fury realizes that the Falcon will go down into the hole no matter what he says. But he tells the Falcon and Sharon that they aren't allowed to in order to prevent Sharon from going down with him.
Since SHIELD won't help, Falcon heads over to Stark Industries and gets a jet pack from Tony Stark. Eventually, the Black Panther will build the Falcon a new costume with much more sophisticated flight capabilities, but it's cool to see that the idea that a guy named the Falcon ought to be able to fly getting tossed around even now.
While the Falcon is getting geared up, Cap is negotiating with the Mole Man.
The Mole Man says he has given up attacks on the surface world and now only wants to live in peace.
But when the Mole Man hears that SHIELD plans on dumping radioactive waste into his home, he understandably changes his position.
Cap convinces him that he'll get SHIELD to stop the program.
Gorborilla briefly sows confusion and convinces the Mole Man that Cap is lying, but Gorbo then sacrifices his life stopping the Mole Man's initial salvo against SHIELD when he realizes that his beloved Julia would also be killed.
The ending is a bit abrupt, in part thanks to about five pages recapping last issue and another two recapping the Mole Man's origin. But i did enjoy Cap's interactions with the Mole Man.
This two-part gorilla story flows directly into another two-parter featuring Spider-Man and Stone-Face. Issue #137 begins with Cap and the Falcon returning to the surface and telling the military not to drop their radioactive waste down the hole, something they agree to far more easily than i would have expected.
When Sharon finds out that Cap is still alive, she faints.
"For the luvva Pete!" is right.
On the way back, Cap tries to get some relationship advice from the Falcon, but then he gets moody.
Falcon doesn't respond well to Cap's bad mood. And here it comes. You knew this was coming. If anything, we're lucky it took this long. But now the Falcon is feeling like a second-stringer compared to Cap, and he's decided he has to strike out on his own and prove himself.
Cap's weird attempt at burying the hatchet a little later ("How about i call you a racist and show off my awesome shield throwing?") doesn't help matters.
The Falcon's chosen means of proving his self-worth is an ill advised fight with Spider-Man, who is currently wanted by the law. The poor Falcon gets trounced.
And Spidey's taunting rubs salt in the wounds.
Falcon started the fight by having Redwing track Spider-Man back to Peter Parker and Harry Osborn's apartment, and so Falcon showed up at the apartment and grabbed Harry, assuming he was Spider-Man.
So when Harry runs off during the fight between Spidey and the Falcon, Spidey has to leave to so he can be back at the apartment when Harry arrives. Poor Harry. He's already a nervous wreck and this surely didn't help him any.
John Romita begins a run on Cap beginning with issue #138.
Stone-Face, out on bail, shows up in the aftermath of Falcon's battle with Spider-Man and kidnaps the Falcon.
But Spidey had placed a tracer on the Falcon, so after (i assume) loading Harry up with tranquilizers, he heads out to look for him again. Meanwhile, Captain America is tipped off that Stone-Face is on the loose again by Sam's nephew, who Cap calls "Toby" even though he was previously called Jody and will be called Jody again in this issue.
The MCP solves that problem by assuming that the boy's name is Jody Toby Casper, but maybe Cap (or Stan!) just doesn't have a great memory for names and Jody's too polite to correct him.
While this is going on, Stone-Face is having a major ego trip and deciding that holding the Falcon as bait for Captain America is also a great time to try to ransom the city government.
Spider-Man rescues the Falcon but the Falcon can't leave well enough alone, so he attacks Spidey again and gets trounced again.
That's when Captain America shows up, but by now Falcon has wised up and calms Cap down which is good because we've more than fulfilled our quota for Misunderstanding Fights. Spider-Man must have figured out what's going on by now because he tells Cap that the Falcon is as tough as Cap is, and that seems to settle the Falcon's identity crisis for now.
With that settled, you know that Stone-Face and his goons aren't going to last long against Cap, Falcon, and Spider-Man.
After it's all over, Cap is summoned into a limo by a mysterious stranger.
Despite some melodrama, these were fun issues.
Beginning with issue #135, Marvel starts coloring Captain America's shield blue in the center around the star again. It had been black for a while.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP has Spider-Man here in a gap between ASM #94-95 that also includes a few other guest appearances. Cap appears here before Avengers #88. Tony Stark's brief appearance is between IM #38-39.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showCaptain America, Commissioner Feingold, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Falcon, Figaro, Harry Osborn, Iron Man, Jody Casper, Mole Man, Nick Fury, Redwing, Sharon Carter, Spider-Man, Stone-Face
Again, I like the spidey two parter. Yeah, spidey trounces the falcon, as he probably should. but its actually some pretty realistic reasoning for heroes to fight.
I like how spidey points out what a big guy the falcon is. He'd have to be as a non-powered guy fighting super villains.
Also some good loyalty from cap. When he sees spiderman fighting the falcon, no questions asked he jumps in to fight spidey "you fight the falcon, you fight me, too!"
Plus, stoneface, who i like as a low level crimelord.
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | February 23, 2013 10:12 AM
also, i think this story nicely coincides with harry falling off the wagon
Posted by: Kveto from Prague | February 23, 2013 10:16 AM
The abrupt end of #136 is due to Colan's pacing; he admitted in later interviews that he tended to end up cramming lots of action on the last page.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 23, 2013 6:08 PM
"If you're looking for a straight man, try someplace else!" Yeah, you tell 'im, Steve! You're definitely not straight. Matter of fact you were just telling Nick Fury that Sam was "somebody I'd like you to meet'...it must hurt when they just wanna be "friends", huh? Poor Steve...
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 1, 2014 1:14 PM
There's no historical significance with this one; but I probably would give it a 2 or 3 for this being the first time Falcon flies, foreshadowing his classic suit and abilities.
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 29, 2015 4:46 PM
Thanks for pointing out the missing rating, Ataru. But i don't normally award points for these sort of prototyping feints. I think it's interesting to see the creators toying with ideas like this but i generally save the point for when it actually happens.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 29, 2015 5:21 PM
Seems the right place for this anecdote. Growing up in the late 70's / early 80's, I was too young for Megos and Secret Wars / Super Powers weren't out yet. So I had a good hundred Star Wars figures but no superhero figures. So I used the Star Wars figures as superhero figures, usually going for color approximation (e.g. Leia in the red Bespin dress was Scarlet Witch). Eventually I had figures that couldn't correspond so I just made them those heros anyway. My "Falcon" figure was the Biker Scout. This one I got clever with - since it looked like a jet pack on his back and since there could easily be jets in those boots, I decided that Stark had given the Falcon Iron Man like armor. So, I like seeing him here with the jet pack - I liked the idea of Falcon armor. I especially loved that they basically went that way in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Good to know the ideas of 9 year old me were pretty good.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 3, 2015 12:29 PM
Wow! I was really knocked out by #137. For one thing, the fight scenes between Falcon and Spider-Man were genuinely excellent and reasonably well-scripted. But I also liked the way the issue focused on a few simple ideas: Falcon deciding to go off on his own for a bit after dealing with a moody Captain America, then Cap later trying to apologize on the roof and Falcon choosing to continue his pursuit of Spider-Man on his own (also taking down a local hood), ultimately getting in over his head. I thought the relationship aspects were well-played. I also liked how a few key plot elements were introduced at the very end, like Spidey's tracer and the return of Stone Face, leading towards the next issue.
I like watching superheros store their motorcycles, let in the neighborhood cat, and fight insomnia.
This issue came as a relief after so many issues featuring off-the-wall plotting and barely decipherable action sequences. Throughout, I was impressed by the quality of Gene Colan's artwork, the realism and depth he was able to create in so many panels, and his strong use of black. Previous issues had some amazing panels, but this one had better flow. This was the last issue of his extended run.
I'm looking forward to some John Romita Sr., but dreading the Sal Buscema issues to come.
Posted by: Groove25 | August 17, 2016 1:50 PM
That Mole Man ending *is* abrupt and feels rushed/forced but this was a common issue with Gene Colon stories- he used so many big panels and splash pages, he often had to hurry up to tie up the ending. This one suffers, in my opinion.
Posted by: Wis | November 23, 2016 1:07 AM
@Wis: Yep! Gene Colan was a great artist, but he definitely had trouble pacing his stories when he was only given a very brief plot from which to work. At this point in time Stan Lee would either call Colan on the phone to describe the plot to him or give him a written plot that was a few paragraphs long. The so-called "Marvel Method" worked really well when Lee was collaborating with Kirby and Ditko, but it just wasn't a good fit for Colan. I think he really needed writers to give him plots with a page-by-page breakdown of what was supposed to take place.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 23, 2016 9:40 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|