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Captain America Comics #9: Review

Dec 1941
Joe Simon, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

The White Death

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Captain America Comics #9 Review by (February 15, 2010)
a) Bucky recommends Marvel Comics (surprise!). b) The story is inspired by the horror films THE WALKING DEAD and MAN-MADE MONSTER. c) The central idea is borrowed from the silent horror film THE HANDS OF ORLAC. The villain stabs his second victim with a knife but the newspaper headline states that he was strangled. Issues of MARVEL COMICS, MYSTIC COMICS, and THE HUMAN TORCH can be spotted at a newsstand. Black Talon returns in YOUNG ALLIES #2.

New and Improved Comments: 1) Bucky recommends Marvel Comics (surprise!). 2) The story is inspired by the horror films THE WALKING DEAD (1936) and MAN-MADE MONSTER (1941). 3) Text story. 5) The central idea is borrowed from the silent horror film THE HANDS OF ORLAC. The villain stabs his second victim with a knife but the newspaper headline states that he was strangled. Issues of MARVEL COMICS, MYSTIC COMICS, and THE HUMAN TORCH can be spotted at a newsstand. Black Talon returns in YOUNG ALLIES #2. 6) The second story in the book to feature a character named Smithers (the first being “Dead Man’s Ring”); Stan Lee should meet more people. 7) The bombs go off after being near a human being for five minutes; apparently the villain and his henchmen don’t count as human since they deliver the bombs to the intended victims. Also we’re not told how Father Time escapes the trap at the end.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Captain America Comics #9 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Strolling through the suburbs, Steve and Bucky hear a scream. Entering Harrow Mansion they find the butler murdered and a threatening note signed “The White Death.” That night, Josiah Harrow’s will is scheduled to be read. Captain America and Bucky drop by to watch as the relatives gather: granddaughter Lucy Harrow, son-in-law Manuel Perez, nephew Jim Slade and lawyer Matthew Clinton. Cap and Bucky find the body of a murdered relative in a secret room and prevent the White Death from abducting Lucy. Later, Slade is killed and Cap is shot at. Josiah Harrow’s estranged brother is discovered lurking about and suspected of being the White Death. Bucky runs into the real villain however and Cap knocks him out, unmasking him as Manuel Perez who conspired with lawyer Clinton to get the entire inheritance for themselves.


Story #2

Captain America and the Man Who Could Not Die

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

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Executed killer Nick Pinto returns from the dead to take vengeance against his gangland enemies. After killing gang boss Tony Scarlatti, a crime wave breaks out. Betty Ross tracks Pinto to an old warehouse where she is captured. Captain America and Bucky, following the same clues, come to her rescue and defeat Pinto and his gang. Pinto to sentenced to die again in the electric chair but survives again, thanks to the crooked prison doctor who tampered with the setting, ensuring that Pinto would receive a non-lethal jolt. Cap and Bucky are waiting outside however and after a battle Pinto is electrocuted for real when he tries to scale the outside fence.


Story #3

Death in the Alps

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Warren Kremer. Inker: Warren Kremer.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Headline Hunter visits the Swiss Alps to investigate the suspicious deaths of German refugees; as he meets with refugee scientist Von Grosser, a pair of Nazi agents ask the professor to join their bobsled team. As they take off down the track, Headline spots that the men are armed. He pursues on skis and arrives in time to rescue Von Grosser from being pushed off the sled to his death. He goes after the Nazis and runs their sled off a cliff. The Nazi leader takes Headline prisoner at gunpoint but a flip of the skis disarms him and he goes sailing over the cliff to join his henchmen.


Story #4

Dead Man’s Ring

Writer: Stan Lee.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

A crook named Paul Martin has murdered a trapper named Smithers to get his hands on a map leading to a lost Indian treasure in the far north; he also took the dead man’s ring to impede identification of the body. As he searches for the gold he is captured by the local tribe who intend to put him to death for violating their sacred grounds (not to mention heisting their gold). The tribesmen postpone the execution until midnight and go to sleep. Martin plans to escape but he drops the stolen ring and the noise as it hits the floor awakens the Indians—so they carry out the sentence on the spot.


Story #5

Captain America in the Case of the Black Talon

Writer: Otto Binder. Penciler: Jack Kirby. Inker: Syd Shores.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

On their way back to camp from a weird art exhibit by one Black Talon, Steve and Bucky witness the murder of an artist by a sinister black hand. Switching to Captain America and Bucky, they investigate and battle the Black Talon but the villain escapes. The Black Talon paints a portrait of his victim’s shocked countenance, then goes out to kill another artist. Cap again arrives too late to prevent the murder and again battles the strong madman. Detective work by Steve and Bucky uncovers the name Pascal Horta and they pay him a visit as Cap and Bucky but find the artist hanged. The two heroes overpower the henchmen but are taken by surprise by Horta, who faked his hanging death, and captured. The mad artist reveals how his painting hand was crushed in an accident and he received the transplanted hand of an executed murderer, who was African. The sinister black hand led him to paint gruesome pictures, driving him to kill so he could capture the horrified faces on canvas. Cap breaks free and slugs it out with the villain sending him through a window to his death below. What they don’t see is that the Black Talon caught onto a branch and survived—to return someday.


Story #6

Crime Goes to Press

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

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Arriving in a new town, Harry (Hurricane) Kane sees a man being attacked by a gang of thugs and intervenes, driving them off. The victim is news editor Brown who has angered the local mob with his crusading editorials. He offers Harry a job as reporter and introduces him to the paper’s owner Smithers. While Harry is out he is spotted by the hoods who try to run him down with their car; as the Hurricane, our hero catches up and captures them and they confess that the mysterious big boss is connected with the paper. He is correct: the gang boss is owner Smithers and he has Harry and Brown taken prisoner and marked for murder. Hurricane slips his bonds and traps the gang by piling furniture around them; Smithers falls to his death in the printing press.


Story #7

The Bombs of Doom

Writer: Stan Lee. Penciler: Al Avison. Inker: George Klein.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Mad scientist Zarpo tries to sell his new bomb (it detonates after being near a human being for five minutes) but is rejected by government official John Peters. Zarpo vows revenge and soon after Peters is killed by an explosion in his home. Larry Scott, a friend of Peters, decides to investigate as Father Time. A second victim, Senator Rogers, is also killed but Father Time manages to catch the villain who placed the bomb. The hero approaches the mad scientist’s hideout but they see him coming and trap him. They leave him bound in a cabin with one of the bombs; they breathe a sigh of relief when they hear the explosion shortly, but Father Time appears behind them and overpowers the goons and bats a deadly bomb back in Zarpo’s face.


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


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

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

> Captain America Comics: Book info and issue index

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