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Captain America #186: Review

Jun 1975
Steve Englehart, Frank Robbins

Story Name:

Mind Cage!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Captain America #186 Review by (February 15, 2010)
Co-written by Steve Engelhart and John Warner. Additional inking possibly by Frank Giacoia.

Conclusion of the ten-part Nomad arc. One of the earliest instances of a comic book “everything you know is wrong” plot twist; the original account was issues #114-119. Dave Cox eventually returns…as the villain Slayer in CAP #293 (May 1984).

Comments: This story was named number 1 on’s list of "The 5 Most Unintentionally Offensive Comic Book Characters" for its reinvention of the Falcon, a positively portrayed, non-stereotypical African American hero, into a standard gangsta. Go to their site and search "Falcon" (I can't paste the URL here).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #186 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The Red Skull reveals to Captain America that the Falcon was his creation, under his control from the start. To demonstrate, he orders the winged hero to imitate a chicken and Falcon does it. The villain explains how when he had control of the Cosmic Cube he used it to switch bodies with Captain America and send his foe to the island of the Exiles. Surprised at how Cap was able to triumph over those six psychopaths, the Red Skull conceived a deeper, more subtle scheme: to create and subvert a partner for Cap. He located the perfect choice: Samuel "Snap" Wilson, pimp and petty gangster who attempted to double-cross his boss on a smuggling operation, leading to a plane crash that stranded him on the island. The Red Skull used the Cosmic Cube to submerge Wilson’s real identity and recast him as a type who would appeal to Cap’s liberal views: "an upright, cheerful Negro, with a love for the same ‘brotherhood’ you cherish." Cap and Sam teamed up and the latter adopted the costumed identity of the Falcon to lead the natives in an uprising against the Exiles. Back in the present, the Red Skull announces the worst is yet to come.

[In Virginia, Dave Cox makes a reluctant farewell to Sharon Carter, unable to be around the woman he loves as she pines for another man. He doesn’t see that Sharon is in tears.]

On the Red Skull’s orders, Cap’s arms are bound to his shield behind his back and he is placed in a vault with the Falcon—who is commanded to kill his former partner. Cap dodges Falcon until he can free his hands and fight defensively. Elsewhere, Gabe Jones uses a concealed blade to free himself and Peggy and they radio SHIELD for assistance. However, the call is intercepted by a mystery group who blocks the call from its intended destination and dispatches a task force of their own. In the stress of the situation, Peggy and Gabe realize their attraction to one another. In the vault, Cap overcomes the brainwashed Falcon and realizes he may be forced to kill his own partner, fulfilling the Skull’s wishes. At this point the mystery commandoes assault the building engaging in battle with the Skull’s minions. Cap is freed from the vault by Gabe and Peggy and they come upon the Red Skull’s men, dead from the Dust of Death. Cap sees his arch-enemy escaping and pursues but the villain sprays his deadly Dust behind him. Evading the grisly weapon means Cap loses track of his quarry and the Red Skull escapes once again. He then learns that as the Skull escaped, the Falcon collapsed into a coma. His reaction to the day’s events: "Has the whole world gone mad?"

Frank Robbins
Mike Esposito
Michelle Wolfman
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)

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