Marvel Treasury Special Featuring Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles
Published and © by Marvel, 1976
Title: “Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles”
Synopsis: Mister Buda’s mystic talisman sends Captain America on a bicentennial journey through time to experience America’s history first hand.
Writer: Jack Kirby
Inker: Herb Trimpe, John Romita and Barry Windsor-Smith (as Barry Smith)
Review: This 1976 treasury edition is a wonderful sample of Kirby’s mid-Bronze work, with all its inherent strengths and weaknesses on display. In terms of story, this one is all big concept, delivered with the nuance and subtlety of an assault rifle. And Kirby’s dialogue is now so wooden it almost sounds surreal; seriously, the cadence is so odd it’s enjoyable in its own strange way. The King’s art, on the other hand, is just spectacular, with his powerful, almost-abstract renderings seeming to burst forth from these oversized pages. Overall, a fine way to spend the Fourth of July!
Second opinion: “It certainly is amazing to see what Barry Smith has done with Jack Kirby’s pencils.” – Richard Ashford, Comics Unlimited #45, July 1977 … “Occasionally frustrating, but a delight none the less. Recommended.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003
Cool factor: Regardless of its shortcomings, it doesn’t get much cooler than the King and Cap celebrating the Bicentennial with a big, ol’ treasury edition!
Not-so-cool factor: A toss-up: The in-your-face moral of the conclusion or Barry Windsor-Smith’s overpowering inks. (The latter is surprising given that Smith’s early work was heavily influenced by Kirby. But, by this point, his ink work is just too ornate for the King’s bold pencils.)
Notable: Treasury edition. … Brief appearances by Adolf Hitler, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, Geronimo and other historical figures.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 75p British variant of this issue.
Character quotable: “It isn’t possible! It just isn’t possible! I – I’ve been ripped-off by Benjamin Franklin!” – Captain America, time-traveling and trippin’
Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on July 4, 2010.