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Captain America #76: Review

May 1954
(Unknown artist), John Romita

Story Name:

The Betrayers

Review & Comments

2 stars

Captain America #76 Review by (March 22, 2012)
Review: Originally intended as a revival of the defunct Golden Age series (note the continued numbering), this short –lived version was later retconned by Steve Engelhart and Roy Thomas into a whole ‘nother character—and recast as a villain—in the classic CAPTAIN AMERICA #153-156 (1972). That in itself is a brilliant piece of work, picking up on unintended clues in the 1954 comics: Cap is a more violent hero (note the end of “The Betrayers!”), Bucky is clearly too young to be the same person from the earlier series, etc. But that’s a story for another day; as for the comics in hand…the stories are typically dumb and the focus has changed from Nazis to Reds but they deliver the goods in an undemanding way. The legendary anti-Commie rhetoric is fairly restrained for the era (I’ve seen a lot worse). Maybe that’s the oddest thing about the retcon: what was fairly standard patriotism in the 1950s becomes dangerous paranoia in the 70s, which may say more about the later era than the earlier.

Comments: The first appearance of “Captain America—Commie smasher.” 1) What kind of name is Shanty Trucks? Betsy Ross was originally Betty. 4) Originally untitled. The Vulture is no relation to the Spider-Man villain of that name; Metallo is likewise no relation to the Superman villain of that name. 5) The Indo-China Theater of War is Vietnam, in what may be Marvel’s earliest reference to that war. The US officers must be pretty dense if they can’t figure out who Cap really is. The Commies also seem pretty stupid if they don’t even bother to guard Cap after he claims to be a Red himself.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #76 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Having fought Nazis through the War, Captain America and Bucky realize that the Cold War is fought by spies, so to be prepared, they reenlist in the Army. Serving under Sergeant Shanty Trucks, Private Steve Rogers continues to play the goof-up to divert suspicion. They meet their old adversary journalist Betsy Ross who tells them she is accused of spying for the enemy, just because every time she and her photographer Will Benson cover a story there is a security leak in the area. That night, Steve spots Benson taking secret photos and as Cap and Bucky they follow him and Betsy, dropping onto the roof of their car in transit. Betsy finds the photos Benson took and realizes he is the spy. Benson takes her to his boss’ hideout, where all of the spy photos are stored. Cap sets fire to the building and leaves the big boss inside to burn while rescuing Benson to clear Betsy’s name.

Story #2

Captain America Strikes!

Writer: (Unknown artist). Penciler: John Romita. Inker: John Romita.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Steve Rogers’ unit is in a European country to parade before the US Embassy, as part of a pitch to persuade the Minister of War to allow UN air bases to be built in his country. Later, Steve is accosted by two Communist agents who hope to win him over to the Reds; they take him to the Minister of War (a secret Commie). The Minister promises Steve great rewards if he will start a fire in the American Embassy and embarrass the US at the negotiations. Accompanied by the two spies, Steve admits them to the Embassy but changes into Captain America and he and Bucky capture the Commies. Cap brings the two before the Minister of War at his meeting with the Ambassador and they give away his secret allegiance. The Minister tries to take the Ambassador hostage but Cap quickly overpowers him. Steve is tossed in the guardhouse for going AWOL.

Story #3

The Perfect Spy

Writer: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

FBI agent Johnny Blake is the prisoner of two agents from a Japanese terrorist organization; he is being tortured to discover how much he knows about the enemy’s plan to bomb the United Nations. When he finally breaks down and reveals all the details, the villains are amazed so much had been uncovered—and then the trap is sprung. Johnny allowed himself to be tortured to trick the terrorists into confirming the details of the plot, which can now be stopped.

Story #4

[The Vulture's Crime Robots]

Writer: ?. Penciler: Russ Heath. Inker: Russ Heath.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

The Human Torch and Toro arrive in the Florida Everglades to tell Police Chief Wilson about the kidnapping of a Professor Costene but Wilson doesn’t care, he is on vacation with his daughter Betty. He starts to care when he learns his daughter is a hostage of the sinister Vulture to keep him off the case. The Torch and Toro talk to the local Seminole Indians about some mysterious doings and are attacked by the Vulture’s deadly robots. They escape after being thrown to the crocodiles and trick the robots into the swamp where the water short-circuits them. They pursue the villain to his hideout where they smash the biggest robot, Metallo, and free Betty. They learn the Vulture had killed Professor Costene for his robot formula and has now escaped.

Story #5

Come To the Commies!

Writer: ?. Penciler: John Romita. Inker: John Romita.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Steve and Bucky are stationed near the Indo-China Theater of War when they overhear some officers wishing they had Captain America there. Quickly changing into costume, Cap and Bucky enter the office and are told of the problem: missing Americans making propaganda broadcasts for the Reds. Cap and Bucky parachute behind enemy lines and discover a radio building. Seeing Americans inside, Cap enters openly and volunteers his and Bucky’s support for the Commies! Asking for a day’s rest to prepare, the two heroes sneak out in the middle of the night and discover the drugs being used to dope the Americans into compliance. Substituting water for the dope they return to their rooms ready to spring their trap. The next day, to the Communists’ horror, Cap makes a speech revealing the Red trick and encouraging the listeners to keep fighting. With the help of the no-longer drugged American soldiers, Cap and Bucky mop up the bad guys and head for freedom. return

John Romita
John Romita
John Romita (Cover Penciler)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)

(Thomas Raymond)

Plus: Bucky (Jack Monroe), Captain America (1950s Version).

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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