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Captain America #9: Review

May 2024
J. Michael Straczynski, Jesus Saiz

Story Name:

The Desert of the Unknown

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Captain America #9 Review by (May 8, 2024)

Review: And JMS’ quirky Cap series continues with cute and offbeat moments, more on how Death Incarnate must follow some arbitrary rules to keep him from being too powerful, two musical acts and a history lesson celebrating being a mutant, a brief battle, and intro for a new character, and a whimsical appearance by a penguin who turns out to be a bad guy. This walks a fine line between magical and silly, always threatening to fall entirely one way or the other. I felt that silly predominated. Your mileage may vary.

Comments: Raul’s story of FOXP2 is scientifically accurate.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America #9 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Motorcycling through a remote area of the Chilean desert, Steve Rogers comes upon a penguin. He doesn’t know how it got there but he can’t leave it so he takes the bird with him….

Three days earlier, Steve was in the audience at the mysterious Front Door Cabaret, a safe house for those who are outcasts and outsiders. Then he was summoned backstage to meet with Lyra, Life Incarnate. On the way, he met Raul Dumont, the spike-studded spike thrower who wanted to meet him. Steve asked about his FOXP2 tattoo; Raul told him it was the gene that enabled speech, which suddenly appeared among mankind, allowing for communication among a few who were labeled mutants but it also enabled them to outsmart those without it and becomes the dominant species. Steve is then ushered into a tiny room…which opens onto a large garden where Lyra awaits Captain America. She gives him a list of the four people she wants Cap to find: one is in Chile, one in London, and two together whom she can’t detect. She explains that her brother, Death Incarnate, is limited in what he can do: he can’t interfere directly with people’s lifespans but he can nudge them toward death. She also explain that he could destroy everyone in the Pale City because they hadn’t created protections against him….

So he arrives in a remote, deserted village in Chile, looking for Carlos Alvarez Garcia, and “part of him will be wearing a hat.” Cap approaches a seated man wearing a hat and Carlos steps out from a doorway nearby; Cap sees that the seated man is a body made out of shed skin, like a lizard, with a hat on top. Carlos explains he can shed skin, secrete toxins, regenerate body pasts, and even control his dead skin, as the figure stands up and walks. He was nicknamed Skinz. He warns Cap that mercenaries have been waiting to see who arrived from Lyra to meet him for him and they are now on their way….

When the mercs invade the village, the shed skin figure goes out to meet them, firing two machine guns; Cap takes advantage of the distraction to attack from another side as does Carlos, who loses a hand but quickly regrows it. Meanwhile, at the Front Door, the Goth-looking Delilah Squared sings a song about normalcy and acceptance, ending with an explosion that destroys the cabaret—which turns out to be an illusion that ends the show….

The invaders defeated, Cap asks Carlos how they were able to escape his (Cap’s) notice but he doesn’t know. Carlos joins Cap on a motorcycle of his own. He and Steve arrive at the coast to await a ship. Carlos tells Cap that his mutation first manifested at four years old, when he shot poison to kill an attacking dog…which poison also killed his mother when she picked him up. When Carlos goes for coffee, Steve tells the penguin he knows it’s something in a harmless form sent to spy on him. The boat leaves with Steve and Carlos; the penguin jumps into the ocean, transforms into a shark and follows….

Jesus Saiz
Jesus Saiz
Matt Hollingsworth
Jesus Saiz (Cover Penciler)
Jesus Saiz (Cover Inker)
Jesus Saiz (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

> Captain America: Book info and issue index

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