Luke Cage History: From Hero for Hire to Hollywood
TV, Comic Books
Every week, I’ll examine the five goofiest moments from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book series. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.
This week, we look at Captain America #116-120, written by Stan Lee, penciled by Gene Colan and inked by Joe Sinnott (and yes, the art is as good as that combo sounds).
As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).
These two bits are more cute than goofy, but still, seeing Stan Lee stick with the times is still pretty funny…
(Amusingly enough, as I am writing this, I am listening to Warren Zevon’s “Tenderness on the Block,” which has the extremely dated line, “She was wide-eyed/Now she’s street-wise/To the lies/And the jive talk”)
As a rule, whenever Cadavus shows up in a group of issues, I simply HAVE to feature his…MURDER CHAIR!!!
Oh man, do I love the murder chair.
Anyhow, in Captain America #116, the set-up is that the Red Skull has used the Cosmic Cube to switch bodies with Cap. So now Cap is in the Red Skull’s body trying to evade the police as he travels to the Avengers to see if they can help him. The Avengers are monitoring the situation, but Wasp has other ideas…
Stan and the Wasp tended to be a strange mix.
After “Cap” treats Rick Jones like crap, Rick decides to leave Cap. This scene involves the always hilarious conceit of people carrying around autographed pictures of their friends…and they’re often really weird pictures that don’t even make sense (like Cap giving Rick a photo of just his head in the corner of the photo and then the rest of the paper is blank…)
Okay, so Red Skull figures it would be cool to see Sharon Carter kill Cap (who, again, is in the Red Skull’s body). Ed Brubaker picked up on this idea decades later by the Skull using Carter to seemingly kill Cap. Anyhow, she is stopped by….love?!
How does that make any sense here? She loves the Red Skull?
5. Now, Mr. Bond, let me explain my plan to you….
In #117, the Red Skull has transported Cap to an island that the Skull’s former pals, the Exiles, were, well, exiled to. So the Skull is watching the Exiles put a beating on Cap (who the Exiles believe is the Red Skull) and just before the finishing touches, the Skull decides to…stop watching?!
4. The oddest brainwashing you’ll see…
So in #120, Cap (who is now back in his own body) goes to visit Nick Fury to find out information about where Sharon Carter is. Nick Fury, in turn, decides to take the opportunity to…brainwash Cap into doing a mission for SHIELD?!?!
The goofiest thing is at the end of the issue, Cap goes to report back in!!!! As if Stan forgot that Cap didn’t do the mission on his own accord…
3. Brilliant plan, MODOK!
Okay, so on that mission in Cap #120, Cap shows up for a job at a college and saves a teacher who is being harassed by student protesters.
By the way, I love that everyone in the Marvel Universe knows the leading authority on atomic equations.
So anyhow, the protests are getting a bit out of hand…
I love that line. Said as he punches some other dude.
Anyhow, as it turns out, Grizzly and the other guy are working for AIM and MODOK, who are using the protests as a diversion to kidnap the professor (man, if you can’t trust a guy named Grizzly, who CAN you trust?)….
Grizzly and no-name take the professor to the roof. I love the fact that it took the professor this long to realize that they were not normal protesters…
They try to escape in their mini-copter, but Cap takes care of business…
Cap then spent the next three issues wallowing in depression over killing Grizzly and no-name. Oh wait, no he didn’t, I forgot that I was talking about Captain America for a sec. Instead, Cap just went on with his life.
1 (tie). Wait, this thing’s a MASK?!?
A tie is a bit of a cop-out, but the bit I would have at #2 would only make sense AFTER seeing the #1 bit, so it makes more sense to put them together as one bit.
Okay, so as I mentioned, the Red Skull switches bodies with Cap. So Cap (in Skull’s body) goes on the run for over an issue. Repeat that – OVER AN ISSUE!!!
And then, after MORE THAN AN ISSUE, he realizes, “Oh yeah, this is a mask”…
Then Cap ratchets the goofiness up a notch with his expert “making disguises out of clay on the ground” skills!!!
That’s some goofy stuff.
To cap it off, the next issue, the Skull takes a whole other issue longer than Cap to figure out the mask thing….
“Oh wait! I didn’t wear a mask! How odd that I didn’t recall that!”
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