This series takes place from June-November 1969. Following the Death of Captain America saga which I wrote about two years ago, Stan launched into a terrific series featuring the Red Skull. In #114, Sharon is still convinced that Cap is dead, so she embarks on a suicide mission against AIM. But he arrives at the crucial moment to turn the tide:
Rick Jones doing his best Bucky imitation there. But after the hugs and kisses with Sharon, Cap finds himself living in a $10 a week flophouse. And as if things couldn't possibly get any worse:
The next issue builds to a climax here:
We also learn that the Skull located the Cosmic Cube with the help of the Exiles, a team of Nazis that he had nurtured. But in a classic Marvel villain moment, rather than sharing his triumph he sends them away to a desert island.
In the next issue, Cap (now appearing like the Red Skull), tries desperately to make it back to the Avengers Mansion, in the hopes he can convince them he's really Captain America. Some terrific moments in this ish:
A side note: Starting with Captain America #112, the pencils on the next five issues were done by: Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Johnny Romita, John Buscema and Gene Colan. I'm all for consistency, but if you can't put the same guy on every issue, that's not a bad rotation. ;)
At the end of this story, the villainous Captain America decides why not send the Red Skull (with Cap's mind) to the island of the Exiles. He battles them, and is aided by a red falcon, which belongs to a young African-American:
The Falcon becomes a co-hero with Captain America effective with #117. They manage to defeat the Exiles:
In the accompanying subplot, Modok and the scientists at AIM are working on neutralizing the Cosmic Cube on the theory that if they can't have it, nobody should.
In the finale, Cap and the Falcon are transported to the Red Skull's castle in Germany. The Skull thinks he's got things under control but:
But Modok and AIM have succeeded in destroying the Cube (apparently) and the Skull can only quickly teleport out of there with the remaining power.
Comments: Superb series of issues here, with great artwork, terrific storytelling and the launch of the first real African-American superhero. No mediocre issues in this run; all are quite good, and the overall effect is very pleasing.