Review: Captain America #193

Captain America #193 cover
Cover by Jack Kirby and John Romita

Captain America #193
Published and © by Marvel, January 1976

Title: “The Madbomb: Screamer in the Brain!”
Synopsis: Captain America and the Falcon are drafted to stop a plot to destroy the United States during the bicentennial.

Writer: Jack Kirby
Penciler: Kirby
Inker: Frank Giacoia

Review:  Some comics are relics of their times, but Captain America #193 takes it to a whole different level. Returning to his most famous Golden Age creation, comics master Jack Kirby spins a tale that seems inspired by the race riots of the late 1960s, brings in Henry Kissinger for a guest appearance, and sets up a plotline centered around the United States’ upcoming Bicentennial. But Kirby’s simple-but-powerful art and increasingly awkward dialogue also give this book a strange timelessness. When published, the King’s return to Cap didn’t connect with younger fans. In retrospect, it’s rollicking, good fun.

Grade: B+

Second opinion: “Although not consistent, (Kirby) does still produce some very good pages. Where he does seem to score on consistency is the writing. It is BAD.” – Richard Ashford, Comics Unlimited #44, June 1977 … “The less said about (Kirby’s) tenure the better.” – Adrian P. Snowdon, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 …  “Kirby appeared to be a stranger displaying few signs of knowing what it was that made the company’s books tick.” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon: Expanded Edition,” 2021

Cool factor: Kirby back on Cap … is there a better way to celebrate the Bicentennial?

Notable: The “Let’s Rap With Cap” letters page includes an LoC from future Eclipse publisher Dean Mullaney.
Collector’s note: Beware, this issue contains Marvel Value Stamp (Series B) #1. … According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 9p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there are also Mark Jewelers and National Book Store variants.

Character quotable: “We can’t  fail! We musn’t fail! Not when our objective bears the label of ‘BIG DADDY!’ ” — Captain America, Sentinel of Liberty

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on May 12, 2010.

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