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Captain America Comics #7: Review

Oct 1941
Jack Kirby, Joe Simon

Story Name:

The Red Skull: an Ear for Music

Review & Comments

Rating:
2.5 stars

Captain America Comics #7 Review by (February 15, 2010)
a) Officially this Red Skull is a different person from the one in issues #1 and 3. The Red Skull wears a mask over his mask. b) A number of names, such as DiRaggio and Riggley, are puns on the names of real baseball figures of the time.

Comments: 1) Officially this Red Skull is a different person from the one in issues #1 and 3. The Red Skull wears a mask over his mask. 2) A number of names, such as DiRaggio and Riggley, are puns on the names of real baseball figures of the time. 3) Text story, with one illustration. 5) First appearance of Speedy Scriggles. 6) Story untitled. “Dust of Destruction,” supplied by the Grand Comics Database, does not describe anything in the story. 7) The framed man’s name is spelled variously “Saxson” and “Saxon.” It isn’t clear why the crooks wait for Father Time to come back instead of just moving the operation elsewhere—other than that FT can’t be taken seriously in that costume.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America Comics #7 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
A Nazi agent tries to make off with funds belonging to the Red Skull but that evening he hears Chopin’s Funeral March, moments before he is gunned down by the Skull, who is using that tune as a symbol of death. At Camp Lehigh, Steve and Bucky are pressured into joining a camp play with Betty Ross. During a rehearsal everyone is startled to hear Chopin’s Funeral March—then moments later the conductor, an Army Captain, is killed by an electrified baton. Steve and Bucky don their hero outfits and investigate; spying a suspicious stagehand they pursue him but leaning he is English they set him free. Bad move: the stagehand is the Red Skull in disguise, using the cover of the play to assassinate military leaders. During another rehearsal the ominous tune again appears and Captain America and Bucky discover the Red Skull kidnapping a general. They battle the Skull’s men but the mastermind gets away with his hostage. A note left by the villain suggesting Cap is his partner leads to the soldiers attempting to arrest Cap but he and Bucky escape and pursue the Red Skull to the docks. After a fight the Skull falls into the river where he apparently drowns and the general is freed.


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Story #2

Death Loads the Bases

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

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Riggley, owner of the Brooklyn Badgers baseball team, is approached by a mysterious figure with an offer to buy the team. When Riggley refuses, the stranger departs with threats. At that evening’s game first a batter, then a base runner, die mysteriously. In the stands, Steve and Bucky realize the men where shot with poisoned darts. They change into Captain America and Bucky and investigate, discovering the hooded killer, the Black Toad, hiding under the stands. The villain’s henchmen knock out Cap and Bucky and they get away. The next night’s game sees the team’s star pitcher refusing to play in fear of his life. Captain America volunteers to pitch, with Bucky as catcher, and the game goes on. Cap’s performance brings the team to an early lead but a bomb concealed in a baseball almost halts the game. Cap’s quick reflexes enable him to pitch the ball in the air where it explodes harmlessly. Cap and Bucky pursue the Black Toad and after a violent confrontation with his gang, unmask the villain as the team’s manager, intent on forcing Riggley to sell out. After his confession the baddie hurls himself from the top of the stands to his death.


Story #3

Message From Captain America

Writer: Stan Lee.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Cap gives us the background of the characters in his comic: Betty Ross, Sgt. Duffy, Father Time, Headline Hunter, and the Hurricane, as well as making a pitch for the Sentinel of Liberty clubs for kids.


Story #4

Horror Plays the Scales

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

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A Senator is listening to some sinister violin music on the radio when an explosion destroys his home. Captain America and Bucky investigate and find the Senator’s butler recovering a part of a bomb from the wreckage of the house. That evening, Steve and Bucky attend a concert where a creepy fiddler plays eerie music on his instrument. When a second Senator is killed in a blast at home, Cap again finds a suspicious butler on the scene. He trails another new butler to the home of a third Senator where he forces the fellow to listen to the radio. The terrified man reveals that the bomb in the radio is triggered by the Fiddler’s high notes; Cap in turn reveals that he had earlier defused the bomb. At the concert hall, the Fiddler, a Nazi agent, discovers Bucky spying on him and captures the boy hero. He plays his music, intended to drive a victim to madness and death but Bucky does not succumb. The Fiddler goes higher and higher on the scales until he dies from his own music. Cap arrives, and Bucky reveals he was wearing earplugs, in accord with Cap’s warning.


Story #5

Justice Laughs Last

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Ken Bald. Inker: Bill Ward.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Cigar store owner Speedy Scriggles refuses to pay off a couple of thugs running a protection racket and is beaten for his troubles. A disguised Hurricane enters the store (looking for chewing gum) and finds the poor shopkeeper. Learning the facts of the case, Hurricane sets a trap for the hoods when they return and clobbers them at lightning speed, causing Speedy to guess that he is the Hurricane. When the crooks wake up, Hurricane and Speedy follow them back to their hideout where the hero and his new sidekick clean up the whole gang.


Story #6

Dust of Destruction

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

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

In London, Nazi agents murder a visiting American movie star and frame an Englishman, hoping to drive a wedge between the two allies. Headline Hunter believes in Reginald’s innocence and sets out to prove it. When he gets too snoopy for the Nazis they capture him and toss him in the river but Headline escapes and hides on the back of the bad guys’ car. Arriving at their hideout, the intrepid reporter overcomes the Nazis and unmasks their leader as Reginald’s cousin, who hoped to serve Der Fuehrer and get his hands on an inheritance to boot.


Story #7

Race Against Doom

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Al Avison. Inker: Al Gabriele.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Larry Scott hears on the radio that his old friend Hal Saxson is on trial for murdering a ship’s crew and making off with its cargo of gold—and the chief evidence, a tape recorded confession, is damning. Larry visits Hal in prison and learns how the poor man was manipulated into making that confession (idiot) and later he discovers that the jurors were bribed to convict Hal—with counterfeit gold coins. Larry traces the phony money to the shady bank which is distributing it and from there to the counterfeiters’ secluded hideout, deducing it is made from the stolen gold. As Father Time, he threatens the crooks and takes the evidence to the D.A., who also turns out to be one of the gang. The hero convinces the superstitious crooks that the captured D.A. is really a ghost and scares them into confessing to the state police (idiots). Hal Saxson is cleared. Father Time vanishes as mysteriously as he came.

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Joe Simon
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)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)

Plus: Betsy Ross (FBI Agent), Father Time, Headline Hunter, Hurricane, Nazis, Speedy Scriggles.