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Captain America #291: Review

Mar 1984
Bill Mantlo, Herb Trimpe

Story Name:

To Tame a Tumbler

Review & Comments

4 stars

Captain America #291 Review by (March 8, 2015)
Comments: First, last, and only appearance of the second Tumbler. In the insurance company office can be seen files on Jonathan (Jester) Powers, Otto (Doc Ock) Octavius, Calvin (Mr Hyde) Zabo, Klaus (Cobra) Voorhees, Silas (Solarr) King, and Sam (Plantman) Smithers, and yes, they are not in any kind of alphabetical order.

Review: Let’s face it, the Tumbler is perhaps Captain America’s lamest enemy; his “superpower” is being able to jump around. Normally this guy is just a speed bump for Cap—and it isn’t even the same guy but his brother! Oh man, how silly. All of which builds up to the revelation that this comic issue is a lot better than it had a right to be. How so, you ask? Well Bill Mantlo, knowing that this guy is no match for Cap, puts him and Cap on the same team, against real bad guys. It would have been interesting to see how other villains would react to being cheated this way. The best part: Trimpe and Abel make the acrobatics look spectacular, showcasing the two men’s abilities very brightly. The issue is pure joy because of that.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #291 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Captain America is patrolling the city on his motorcycle late at night when he spots a mysterious figure leaping from a high window at the Guardian Life Insurance Company building. Cap recognizes the burglar as the Tumbler, who Cap saw killed in CAP #169. This new Tumbler is better than the first, engaging Cap in a dazzling display of acrobatics, taunting the hero at every step. Cap has the last laugh, though: while showing off the villain has lost his bag of loot. The humiliated Tumbler makes his way home, cursing himself all the way, and musing on the events that brought him to this place. (He is Michael Keane, whose brother John was the original Tumbler. After John’s death, Michael tried to collect on his brother’s insurance policy only to have a GLIC official refuse on the grounds that John was killed while engaged in an illegal activity. Seeking revenge against GLIC, Michael trained until he was a better acrobat than John and set out to steal the appropriate files from the company’s offices.) Arriving home, Tumbler discovers Cap is there waiting for him, having deduced the villain’s identity from the contents of the bag. The baddie puts up a fight but Cap easily stops his escape and pins him to the floor with a table. Cap then offers to aid the Tumbler in taking down the crooks at the insurance company. The two agile adventurers return to the GLIC offices to find staff removing files. Cap creates a distraction for the guards so they can sneak in. In the cabinets they discover insurance files for several supervillains, covered by the company knowing that the beneficiaries would be too ashamed of their criminal relatives to collect, and even if they do, they could be rejected as Michael Keane was. Cap and the Tumbler tear through the staff and guards and make it outside where they call the police and hand the assembled crooks over. Michael tells Cap he is hanging up the costume for good.

Herb Trimpe
Jack Abel
Andy Yanchus
John Byrne (Cover Penciler)
John Byrne (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)

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