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Captain America Comics #12: Review

Mar 1942
Otto Binder, Al Avison

Story Name:

The Terrible Menace of the Pygmies of Terror!

Review & Comments

Rating:
2 stars

Captain America Comics #12 Review by (October 26, 2011)
Comments: a) Try to imagine a scenario in which a formula for shrinking human flesh would be valuable; b) this tale is introduced by Steve and Bucky; c) First appearance of the Imp. Story is told entirely in rhyme; d) Text story; e) Final appearance of Father Time; f) Stan Lee credited as Neel Nats. Seriously.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America Comics #12 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

At Camp Lehigh, Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes read about a scientific expedition to the Amazon Basin returning with a valuable secret. Steve suggests they protect the secret as Captain America and Bucky. The expedition’s leader, Dr. Edward Elmgren tells his partners that he is locking the secret—the formula for shrinking human flesh—in his lab until a way can be devised for them to all share the profits. That night, a greedy expedition member creeps into Elmgren’s lab to steal the formula but he is met and murdered by Dr. Crime, a yellow-hooded villain wearing a zombie mask. Cap and Bucky arrive and battle the sinister figure but Dr. Crime unleashes a bottle of liquid smoke from the lab and escapes with the formula. Dr Elmgren enters and reveals that the formula can not be sold without the accompanying notebook. Steve and Bucky are caught sneaking back into camp by Sergeant Duffy who sentences them to appear in the Soldiers’ Benefit Play—in a drag musical number.

Elsewhere, a gang of crooks unwittingly breaks into Dr. Crime’s secret lab and become guinea pigs for the formula as Crime shrinks them to one-foot-high. Dr. Crime uses them in a rash of burglaries made simple by their small stature. At the theater waiting for their turn in the show, Steve and Bucky hear a dying scream; quickly changing into their hero costumes they enter a house and find the owner murdered. A search of the house turns up the miniature murderers and the crooks manage to elude Bucky’s grasp and escape. After the show, Cap and Bucky head to the home of Dr. Elmgren, who suggests several possible suspects for the masked villain. They head first to the home of Dr. Paul Fung (a Chinese stereotype) who can tell them who Dr. Crime really is—and he is suddenly killed by Crime with a blowgun dart. The heroes tackle the villain and are doused with the shrinking formula from a water pistol. They are captured by Dr. Crime and locked in a cage with a hungry cat. They punch out the cat, escape from the cage, and defeat the tiny thugs, before climbing up on Dr. Crimes’ shoulders and threatening to stick needles in his face unless he gives them the antidote. Restored to their normal size, they beat the crap out of Crime and unmask him as Dr. Elmgren.


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Story #2

The Case of Rozzo the Rebel

Writer: ?. Penciler: Al Avison. Inker: Al Avison.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

President Alvaro of the South American nation of Oroco is visiting the United States and Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes have been assigned to guard him. Alvaro is attacked by a gang led by Rozzo the Rebel wielding deadly bolas. Alvaro save Steve and Bucky from the attack (!) and the two GIs change into Captain America and Bucky to take on the assassins. With Alvaro’s help they drive the baddies off. Returning as Steve and Bucky, Alvaro tells them his story: he started out as a gaucho on the Pampas, partners with Rozzo with whom he had an agreement to share all money equally. Soon afterwards, Alvaro joined the revolution against the nation’s dictator and rose through military ranks. When the revolution succeeded, Alvaro discovered that Rozzo was leading the loyalist forces; Rozzo demanded a share of the profits of government but Alvaro, an honest leader, argued that there weren’t any. Rozzo was exiled and Alvaro became President. Later Cap accompanies Alvaro to a nightclub where Rozzo tricks a dancer into presenting the President with an exploding rose. Cap recognizes the danger and deflects the bomb with his shield and he and Bucky beat up the gang. The baddies get away with the captive Alvaro and the heroes pursue them to their hideout, a stronghold built in a swamp. They dodge several traps and gain entry to the citadel. During the ensuing battle, the walls collapse and the river rushes in but Cap again rescues Alvaro. Rozzo then challenges Alvaro to a sword duel atop a nearby building. Cap goes there first but is captured by the villain. The two enemies duel with swords but it turns out the President’s sword is defective. Cap escapes his bonds and saves Alvaro’s life and Rozzo falls to his death from the roof.


Story #3

[Introducing the Imp]

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Chad Grothkopf. Inker: Chad Grothkopf.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

In an ancient town, a gang of ruffians plot to loot the city. To this end they release a dragon from a cage to terrify the populace. Jefferson Vandermeer sees the trouble and the magical Imp emerges from his ear to fight for justice. The tiny avenger leaps upon the monster but find his blows have no effect—until he tries tickling the beast. The chuckling dragon flies off with the Imp aboard and the town police set off to capture the beast when it lands. The villains seize the opportunity to enter the city and rob the populace but the Imp manages to reverse the dragon’s course and crash it into the river, drowning it. The police return and apprehend the miscreants, while the Imp returns to Jefferson Vandermeer’s ear.


Story #4

Timber!

Writer: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Pat Cowley is the son of the owner of a lumber firm. The Cowley company is competing with a rival concern, the Corivan outfit, for a big contract which will go to the company that can float the most logs downriver by the end of the month. Pat’s concern is that Corivan has a reputation for dirty tricks. In the middle of the night, Pat suddenly smells smoke coming from their lumber stores and rouses the men to put out the blaze just in time. He spies a new worker who was already fully dressed in the middle of the night and accuses him of being a saboteur planted by Corivan. The crook reports back to his boss, who personally sneaks into the Cowley camp to plant dynamite in their lumber engine. Pat catches him, punches his lights out, and the Cowley firm wins the contract.


Story #5

[The Flaming Horror]

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Jack Alderman. Inker: Jack Alderman.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A big city tenement building is on fire and a young woman cries out that her father is inside. Larry Scott, passing by, switches into his Father Time costume and rushes into the blazing structure and comes out with the old man, who is dying from a gunshot wound. The man reveals that he spotted the building’s owner, Beretti, starting the fire himself to collect on the insurance and was shot, and points out the bad guys standing nearby before he dies. Father Time pursues the crooks to a railroad yard where he is overpowered and tied beneath the wheels of a train. He escapes with the aid of his scythe and heads back to town where the old man’s daughter is being kidnapped. The baddies get away but one stays behind to silence a witness. Father Time catches him and forces him to reveal the location of their hideout. The hero breaks in and beats them all into submission.


Story #6

The Silent Death!

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: ?. Inker: ?.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Headline Hunter, an American correspondent in London, is attacked by an angry mob. It seems that a rival newspaper is accusing him of having revealed sensitive troop movement in an article which led to a military defeat. Headline goes out to the country to think of a way to clear his name and he spots a strange cloud overhead. A handy piece of litmus paper (all news reporters carry it, right?) warns him that this is no ordinary cloud. The Nazis are jamming the radio so he has a local printer mass-produce leaflets warning of a poison gas attack and hires a plane to take him up to drop the leaflets over the city. His plane is attacked by a Nazi fighter so he hurls the heavy bag of circulars at the enemy plane sending it crashing to the ground. The dead pilot is revealed to be the owner of the rival newspaper who had accused him of treason.

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Al Avison
Al Avison


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

Plus: Father Time, Headline Hunter, Imp, Nazis.