Captain America #178: "If The Falcon Should Fall --!"

Captain America #178
"If The Falcon Should Fall --!"
October, 1974

Steve Englehart: Story
Sal Buscema: Art
Vince Colletta: Inking
Tom Orzechowski: Lettering
P. Rachelson: Coloring
Roy Thomas: Editor

Redwing is being offered some munchies from his master, who is unaware
that they are about to be attacked.

After a long night of patrols, the Falcon may be forgiven for not hearing
the approach of their attackers, but the bird is able to give his partner
enough warning. So, it is that the fist of Lucifer strikes out at a
chimney, and not at a unsuspecting hero's head. KRAM! He had been
searching for the villain ever since their last encounter at the jail,
and intended to give him this. PLOK! Unfortunately for the Falcon,
Lucifer's lookalike is also on the scene, and eager to stomp on the lone
hero. WAM! Without the aid of Captain America, the Falcon must fight
them alone -- or does he? SKAAA The bearded villain is unprepared for
the claws which rake at his face.

Sam Wilson had been there the moment when Lucifer merged with Rafe Michel
-- but this new figure still regards himself as the one who fought the
X-Men -- and Iron Man. As he insists that the possession of the human's
body is a temporary setback, the bearded villain is caught off-guard by
the Falcon's punch. WAM. RRIP! The other Lucifer is aware that each of
them possess fifty percent of the alien's power -- but the one who was
once Aries of the Zodiac crime cartel is confident that he will soon
prevail over the hero. ROKK! His wings enabling him to avoid the deadly
debris, the Falcon side-kicks his opponent, sending him against a power

POP! KRAKL! The bearded villain has already recovered and is ready for
another round, but his other self warns the fool to stay back. The live
wires in front of Rafe Michel would fry him to a crisp. As he begins to
protest, the other Lucifer urges him to retreat, and strike back another
time. Although they are strong, the two Lucifers are not invulnerable,
and the Falcon is determined to take them down. Even if Cap never comes
back, he is ready to fight on alone.

The battered hero pays a call on Leila, who hears about his scuffle with
the Lucifers, and who figures that the Falcon is the main man now.
Although the Daily Bugle have printed news of Captain America's
retirement, Steve Rogers is very much alive, and well. He spends his
time swinging on the rings before executing an impressive flip, and
landing on the waiting mat.

America has changed, so much so that he isn't sure that he can represent
it anymore. The 1950's were spent in suspended animation -- and when he
was revived in the 1960's, Steve Rogers needed to believe that things
hadn't changed -- to be able to prove himself. He has finally made the
discovery that nothing has been the same since 1941. Thanks to the
Super-Soldier Serum -- he can look forward to living a long life. As
Roscoe hands him a towel, the youth admits that he has never seen anyone
work out as hard as Mr. Rogers. He had selected this particular gym for
its low membership. When asked what he thinks about the retirement of
Captain America, Steve admits that there must be more than meets the eye.

On this summer day, children are making Kool-Aid to sell in their front
yard, and older children are reading their comic books in a shady place
-- TOK! The sound of a successful home run may be heard above it all.
Baseball is a fan's game, and here, a player such as Bob Russo is
considered to be an idol. The highly-paid third baseman for the Bears
has got an announcement for the reporters waiting for him in the locker
room. First, he is quitting the team -- and second, he will become the
new Captain America. In the office of Morgan, a fist slams hard upon the
desk. He had been told that the Lucifers were super-human, but they
haven't been able to get rid of one costumed hero. All that remains of
the power of Lucifer after the transfer is his strength, but the mob boss
wants action, and not excuses.

With the Falcon threatening his operations, and not likely to accept work
from him, Morgan needs to have him killed as an example. The former
Aries has got an idea, but the bearded one wonders why he should be the
one to speak for them both. As they begin to argue, the first-chosen of
Lucifer reels from the sudden pain in his head. In order to maintain his
presence on Earth, and not be returned to his other-dimensional
imprisonment, the villain had to merge with Rafe Michel -- but when it
was learned that his essence would be too much for one terran to handle,
he also merged with Aries. Both Lucifers remember that there is a
laboratory in the desert of the Southwest -- where there are certain
items which will ensure the desired results.

Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter are about to embark on a day at the beach,
but they are greeted by the sight of Peggy Carter and Gabe Jones.
Sharon's sister is looking for Cap, and is then introduced to Sharon's
boyfriend. As the Carter sisters head for the couch, Gabe confides to
Steve that Peggy needs some reassurance from Captain America.

Hours pass, when an jet on loan from Morgan's business contacts heads for
a deserted butte-- one which had been visited once before. The
laboratory has been waiting for the return of its owner -- Lucifer. Even
in their new state, they could never forget the site of the attempted
conquest of the planet. After the will-obliterating device known as
Dominus was drawn into space, the remains of the laboratory has been
perfectly preserved. Three unused Ultra-Robots are left from the ones
which were destroyed, and they will be the tools to end the Falcon's

That night, in a city whose former third baseman has embarked upon a new
career -- he stands against the moonlight in a new uniform. As he
crouches on the rooftop, he sees three thieves robbing a fur store, and
is eager to announce that Captain America lives again. Unfortunately for
this new hero, he has grossly misjudged his swing from the roof, and is
in for a harsh reality when he crashes into the waiting wall. KA-WAM!
His arm may be broken, and Bob Russo chides himself for not practicing
before leaping off the rooftop. He wonders how the real Captain America
was able to make heroics seem so effortless.

Another morning in Harlem -- with mayhem and murder on the menu. KRAM!
XAM! The Ultra-Robs manage to sow much more destruction than when they
were operating Dominus. While the bearded villain curses his head, the
other Lucifer sees the arrival of the Falcon -- into their trap. XAX!
Although he hasn't yet mastered his wings, the hero is not about to be
slowed down.

Sam Wilson fights on like a man possessed, but at the end of the battle,
Steve Rogers sees his friend being shot down from behind. ZOT! Even the
Falcon can't handle the three robots on his own. It should mean nothing
to him. Steve has put the super hero life behind him -- told Sam that he
would have to be a lone hero. The Falcon knew the risks. He knew what
could happen. If Sam is foolish enough to get himself blasted, he --
Who is he kidding! The clerk at the sporting supplies store hadn't
expected much with the one dollar sale on ski masks, but the blond-haired
customer who ran into his store seemed to be very pleased with his

As the much-needed ski-mask is put into place, two Lucifers stand over
the fallen Falcon, with the author of the grand scheme about to deliver
the killing shot -- KA-WAM! The two villains never know what hit them.

If the two Lucifers recover, they will have quite a case of whiplash
between them. After all of his thoughts on the matter, it only took the
sight of his friend in danger for Steve Rogers to rush back to his side.
BAM! Robot Delta has not been programmed to attack the human, but he has
attacked its masters, and must die. While Delta remains in the air, the
other two robots have landed behind him. Epsilon and Zeta are to block
the human's path at all costs, but thanks to an old trick, Steve Rogers
sees a way out of this trap.

TZAM! Despite their programming, Robots Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta have
never seen the late show. When their opponent leapt aside at the last
moment, the Ultra-Robs put themselves out of commission. He had realized
by their appearance that they hadn't been built for combat. When the two
Lucifers come a'calling, one of them soars right into the path of a
makeshift shield. KONG! The bearded villain manages to grab his masked
foe from behind with a choke-hold. The steel grip falters... then
relaxes completely when Lucifer feels the pain in his head once more.

As his body burns from within, the figure which was once Rafe Michel
collapses to the ground. The remaining Lucifer is determined to salvage
victory from this defeat, but he too suffers the detriments of having too
much power. Their destinies, and their very lives have been linked to
the very end. With their deaths, the true Lucifer returns to his limbo
prison, and whatever his thoughts are remain his own. Back on Earth, the
Falcon is helped to his feet, but doesn't sound too grateful for the
save. In the alley, Steve admits that he hasn't managed to kick the
habit, but Sam Wilson is in no mood to be nursemaided. Although thankful
for his life being saved -- the Falcon is determined to fly alone.

On the cover of Captain America #178, a billboard asks the question,
"Where Is Captain America?" If the hero is not found, the Falcon will
soon fall prey to the runaway power of the Ultra-Rob.

If one Lucifer is bad, then two would be worse.

There is something relaxing and reassuring about reading this story by
Englehart, Buscema, Colletta, Orzechowski, Rachelson, and Thomas.

Two villains threaten one lone hero, even managing to get him down, but
help arrives from a most unexpected source.

Steve writes some witty words for the character to say, while Sal and
Vinnie make certain that they are in fighting form, and Tom delivers some
terrific sound effects.

You would think that a guy who fought the likes of the X-Men and Iron Man
would have fared a little better against a man and his bird, wouldn't

Amid the pop and krakl of the wires, there is the "Snap" of Sam Wilson.

For once, the Daily Bugle does not have one of those "Spider-Man: Threat
Or Menace!" headlines, and Jonah must have been on vacation that week.

Bob Russo wasn't smarter than the average Bear when he decided to become
the new Captain America.

Rafe was up to his striped pants and shades in trouble, thanks to an
unwelcome merger with Lucifer.

The villain last operated from his desert laboratory in X-Men #21.

When it came time to swing down from the rooftops, Bob Russo couldn't
even get to first base, and failed to strong arm his way through a wall.

With no uniform and no phone booth in sight, Steve Rogers relies on a
sporting supplies store for his urgent needs.

Based on his freight train approach with the two Lucifers, Steve would
have had a great career on the gridiron if he wanted to.

Luckily for Steve Rogers, the Ultra-Robs liked to talk as much as their
masters, and enabled him to extract victory from near-defeat.

When it comes to taking out the garbage, Steve is the one to put the lid
on crime.

Steve Chung
"If The Review Should Fail --!"