CAPTAIN AMERICA #115-120 (1969): 1st Falcon


Falcon is a prisoner on an island in Haiti (when Cap meets him he says: “You sound more Harlem than Haiti”).

Steve Rogers is sent there in Red Skull’s body, while Skull has hijacked his real body.

That’s right: Skull used the Cosmic Cube to do a body switch.  Foreshadows of Ed Brubaker.

Anyway, it leads to unsettling panels like the above and this:

I love late ’60s Marvel!

Red Skull can do anything with the cube, and one thing he does is a variant on the “heroes stuck in tubes” trope…Captain America in a bottle!

With their bodies switched, Rick Jones takes some abuse from Red Skull Cap, and Captain America–in the Red Skull’s body–goes to the Avengers for help.

Note: Cap yelling at Rick is what leads him to quit hanging with the Avengers and then merge with Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel #17.

Cap-in-Red-Skull’s-body fights the Avengers and loses, and when Sharon comes looking for him…

Red Skull, holding the Cosmic Cube, sees Sharon–real Cap’s girlfriend–come looking for Cap, but finding only the captive “Red Skull.”  She doesn’t believe him when he says he’s really Captain America.

Then Red Skull gets the genius idea to send Cap–still in Red Skull’s body–to “exile island,” where Nazi cast-offs who hate Red Skull are sent to live out their days.  Skull thinks that the exiles will kill Cap-as-Skull.

Why doesn’t the omnipotent Red Skull just kill Cap?  Because he wants to crush his spirit!


…Now it is Falcon time!

And an origin:

That’s where Cap meets Falcon–a revolutionary who becomes Falcon to inspire others. 

They team up and prepare for a final battle with Red Skull.

Cap being mentor-like to Falcon continues to be a consistent element in their relationship.

MODOK is officially revealed to be alive in Captain America #119. 

He’s watching Cap and Falcon take on Skull.

And it is an entertaining match-up.

This was also the first time Jack Kirby wasn’t involved in a MODOK appearance. The art in this story is by Gene Colan.   So, this is the first non-Kirby MODOK appearance.

They beat him due to the interference of Redwing, who attacks Skull at the just the right moment, causing him to drop the Cube.

Captain America #120 is technically the end of the Falcon story, because the story wraps on page one of that comic.  

But it’s not really about Falcon, who goes back to Harlem.

The rest of the issue is a bizarre “only in the 1960s” book in which Captain America goes undercover at a college as a Physical Education teacher to prevent AIM from kidnapping a real professor.

Also of interest: In issue #115, Gene Colan begins his long-running stint as a Cap artist.  I really would never have picked him to be a good fit with Cap, but he does nice work here–and it helps transition the book once again.  Under Lee/Kirby, it was an adventure book.  Under Lee/Steranko, it was spy stories.  Now, with Colan, we get a mix of the two: Weird, trippy art and action-based stories.

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