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Captain America Comics #5: Review

Aug 1941
Joe Simon, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

Captain America and the Ringmaster of Death

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Captain America Comics #5 Review by (February 15, 2010)
a) This Ringmaster is the father (and apparently exact double) of the more familiar villain introduced in INCREDIBLE HULK #3. b) Cap faces a Japanese villain for the first time. d) It is revealed that the wings on Cap’s mask are sharpened steel and can be used as knives.

New and Improved Comments: 1) This Ringmaster is the father (and apparently exact double) of the more familiar villain introduced in INCREDIBLE HULK #3. 2) Cap faces a Japanese villain for the first time. 4) Text story, with one illustration. 5) It is revealed that the wings on Cap’s mask are sharpened steel and can be used as knives. 6) First appearance of Headline Hunter. 7) Conclusion of a two-part story. Last appearance of Tuk the Caveboy.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America Comics #5 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
At the circus, the sinister Ringmaster sends a midget to release a tiger to kill a visiting general. Steve and Bucky are also at the circus; changing into Captain America, Steve snaps the tiger’s neck while Bucky pursues the midget, only to be overpowered by thugs. Cap and Bucky return to camp where Steve confides his suspicions to Betty Ross. Meanwhile, the Ringmaster, who is a Nazi agent, is plotting more deviltry. His acrobats manage to bring the snake charmer into the armory though the roof, so a cobra can kill Commissioner Newsome. Betty, on her way to warn him, sees the killers depart. Cap and Bucky rush to her rescue but Cap is decked by the strong man and Betty is captured. The heroes head to the circus where a gang of huge henchmen and wild animals awaits; they overcome all opposition and Cap uses his acrobatic skills to rescue Betty when she is dropped from a trapeze. Cap punches out the Ringmaster and Bucky drops the big top on the rest of the gang.


Story #2

The Gruesome Secret of the Dragon of Death!

Writer: Jack Kirby. Writer: Joe Simon. Penciler: Joe Simon. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Joe Simon.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Steve Rogers travels to Honolulu as aide to General Haywood, with Bucky accompanying them, to meet with Navy Commander Phillips. When they arrive, they learn that Phillips’ ship, the Winfield, was swallowed by a giant sea serpent! The monster is in reality an elaborate Japanese submarine, in which Phillips is being tortured to force him to disclose the password that would allow enemy saboteurs access to a volcano. Captain America and Bucky watch Phillips’ daughter Marie and when she is kidnapped to use against her father, the two heroes follow behind. When the canoe carrying the girl hostage disappears into the dragon’s maw, Cap and Bucky quickly swim in after it. The heroic Americans cut a swath through the enemy agents so the Japanese commander orders the dynamite-laden barge into the volcano to trigger an eruption that will engulf the harbor, trapping the US fleet. Cap and Bucky overtake the barge, free the hostages and Cap manages to steer the deadly craft away; the ensuing explosion destroys the barge and, apparently, Captain America. An enraged Bucky fires a giant cannon which destroys the dragon sub. Cap turns up alive and well, though Steve and Bucky are in trouble for disappearing during the action.


Story #3

Killers of the Bund

Writer: Jack Kirby. Writer: Joe Simon. Penciler: Joe Simon. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Joe Simon.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

BundistsGerman-Americans who support the Nazis—begin a reign of terror, beating those of their countrymen who do are loyal to the USA. When Heinrich Schmidt, father of Bucky’s pal Bob, becomes the latest victim, Captain America and Bucky enter the Bund camp and teach the Nazis a lesson with their fists. Bucky organizes the youth club Sentinels of Liberty to spy on the spies and uncover their treasonous activities. Cap is taken prisoner by the Bundists, who reveal their scheme to spray the city with sleep gas to prepare for an invasion. Cap clobbers his guards and seizes one of the enemy planes, using it to destroy the others. The Sentinels and their fathers march on the Bund camp and break up the fascist organization once and for all.


Story #4

Captain America and the Ruby Robbers

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Joe Simon. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Joe Simon.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

One evening, Bucky Barnes walks his pal Jerry Briggs home after a meeting of the Sentinels of Liberty club. Arriving at home, his father shows Jerry a ruby he was supposed to deposit in a safe at work but instead brought home to show his son. Mr. Briggs also sneers at Jerry’s involvement with the Sentinels since he doesn’t believe there is any such person as Captain America. At this moment, two crooks burst in to steal the ruby, having followed Briggs home from work—but Captain America and Bucky are right behind them, having followed them to protect the ruby. The two heroes easily defeat the crooks and Mr. Briggs apologizes to the hero for doubting him.


Story #5

Captain America and the Terror that was Devil’s Island

Writer: Jack Kirby. Writer: Joe Simon. Penciler: Joe Simon. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Joe Simon.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Pepo Laroc, commander of Devil’s Island receives a pair of visitors, Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. They are searching for Tom Jason, an America pilot who flew in the French air force until the country fell to the Nazis, when he was captured and sent to the penal colony. The wasted Tom is brought before them but Laroc denies any mistreatment of the prisoner. Returning later as Captain America nd Bucky, they find Tom being tortured; heading to his rescue Cap is dropped into a shark pit. He manages to kill three sharks then climbs out and beats up Laroc. Weeks later, Steve and Bucky read how Tom is now heroically flying for Greece.


Story #6

Meet ‘Headline’ Hunter—Foreign Correspondent

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Charles Nicholas. Inker: Charles Nicholas.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Jerry "Headline" Hunter, American correspondent in London, is summoned to the embassy where the Ambassador tells him an important contract revealing American shipping schedules has been stolen. An air raid occurs and Headline seeks shelter underground with the rest of the embassy staff. He spots a sinister figure sneaking out through a secret door and follows him. He is captured by henchmen of Cooles, an Embassy lawyer and secret Nazi supporter. They tie Headline to a radio-controlled bomb aimed at No. 10 Downing Street and then take off for Germany in their plane. Headline manages to work his hands free and catches on to the plane’s landing gear (while still tied to the bomb). Over Germany, Headline drops the bomb on a factory. Cooles, enraged at his minions’ seeming incompetence, shoots them down. The hero then overpowers Cooles and forces the plane to head back to London where he files his story with his paper.


Story #7

Weird Stories from the Dark Ages

Writer: Jack Kirby. Writer: Joe Simon. Penciler: Reed Crandall. Inker: Reed Crandall.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tanir is being tortured by Bonzo’s band of marauders so Tuk summons a saber-tooth tiger to drive the bad guys away, leaving Tanir to kill the beast with an arrow. When Bonzo demands that Tanir help them capture Tuk, the hunter sets the woods on fire sending a stampede of elephants into the camp to trample the gang. Tanir gives Bonzo a merciful death (with an arrow to the face) and he and Tuk continue on their adventures.


Story #8

The Miser and the Counterfeit Millions

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Charles Nicholas. Inker: Charles Nicholas.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

In his mortal guise, Hurricane discovers banks are being flooded with counterfeit money. Seeing that financier Flintheart has donated millions to charity, Hurricane follows a suspicion and visits the millionaire as reporter Harry Kane (get it?). He forces his way past the butler and confronts Flintheart who sics his gang on the hero. Hurricane defeats the crooks handily and forces the villain to explain his scheme: he says he was told by the mysterious Old Nick that counterfeit money would cause inflation making the rich richer—just before he is slain by one of his own henchmen. The hero destroys the counterfeit cash and heads out in search of Old Nick. Nick turns out to be a foreign agent masquerading as a street beggar, who has duped wealthy Americans into undermining the economy in hopes of crooked gain. Hurricane clobbers Nick and his gang and turns them over to the police.


Jack Kirby
Joe Simon
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Syd Shores (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

Plus: Betsy Ross (FBI Agent), Headline Hunter, Hurricane, Nazis, Tuk Caveboy.

> Captain America Comics: Book info and issue index

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