Captain America 1973

Posted by playdohsrepublic (101 posts) - - Show Bio

Captain America 1973 covers issues #157 - 168 
 
Author: Steve Englehart with Steve Gerber(#157), Roy Thomas & Tony Isabella (#168)  
Artist: Sal Buscema 
 
Overview: 
Cap and Falcon spend time trying to figure out their partnership while taking on the Serpent Society, Dr. Faustus returns along with someone from Cap's past, '50's villian Yellow Claw resurfaces to terrorize New York and Cap faces the legacy of his actions in WWII when the son of one of his greatest enemies comes looking for revenge. 
 
Highlights:  
The introduction of Helmut Zemo. 
The Faustus story arc 
 
Lowlights: 
For once this was easy. Cap fights a guy named Solarr. He absorbs sunlight because he was in the desert too long one time. So he robs a bank. As terrible as it sounds.  
Also Cap gaining Super-Strength. It just goes against everything that makes Cap great. The instant he goes from being the best of us to being just plain better he loses something as an iconic figure.
 
Major First Appearances: 
 Peggy Carter (modern age)
Helmut Zemo (as Phoenix) 
 
Writing: 
This was the weakest of the three Englehart titles that I read for 1973, but by no means terrible.  The Dr Faustus story was good. The Serpent Society was ok, a little generic, but has planted the seeds for what is developing into a really interesting subplot involving discrediting Cap. I don't know what they were thinking when they did the Solarr story. It may be the worst single issue of Captain America that I've read so far. Also, the on-again off-again partnership with the Falcon is getting tiring. It seems alot like Marvel wanted to launch him out of the book as a solo urban hero ala Luke Cage or relate the out of time Cap with the modern problems facing America. I like the Falcon character but everything about the book seems like it would be better if they stopped trying to be a duo. I do like Falcon's character arc as he struggles to keep up with Cap as a full fledged partner and not a side-kick. I'm not sure what Steve Gerber contributed to issue #157 but it shows no signs of his near-future greatness. The last issue smacks of being a fill-in, being written by the then editor in chief Roy Thomas as a one and done, but it ends up being the strongest of the year, introducing the manipulative son of Baron Zemo. 
 
Art: 
Sal Buscema turns out to be a machine, doing all 12 issues of Cap and of Defenders. What artist does 24 issues a year anymore? And they are all good. 
 
Favorite Issue: 
  This issues introduces Helmut Zemo. But what really made it great was that Cap was forced to look at the other side of the war that defined him and his actions. We get to see another side of Baron the first, a loving father and husband and how his losses impacted the people around him. It made for a far more ambigous tale than usual Cap stories from the era ending with him taking a certain amount of responsibility for Helmut's pain and misery. And then kicks him into a vat of Adhesive X. 
  
A good, not great year for Cap. I hope his super strength fades soon as it doesn't add anything to the book. I also look forward to the return of Captain America of the 1950's (which is practically his actual super-villian name) from 1972. Also, I hope we find a good reason for Cap and Falcon to be together. And on a final note, MORE NICK FURY! 
 
Next: Iron Man 1973!

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