Late Nights in the Silver Age

Tales of Suspense #76 (April 1966)

The second part that involves Batroc is titled, “The Gladiator, The Girl, and The Glory!” It picks up directly from the last story that was in Tales of Suspense #75. Batroc and Cap continue on the trail of the mysterious female Shield agent who has a cylinder containing Inferno 42, which is a deadly chemical that can set all of New York ablaze. The pair follow her through a secret door in the wall and the door leads to a room where the Shield agent has defensive devices to keep the two at bay. The agent activates a device that controls the floor of the room and makes it tilt. The floor tilts back and forth underneath Cap and Batroc. Cap wisely grabs a hold of one of the sides of the floor, while Batroc doesn’t and falls to the ground below. Cap manages to escape the trap and realizes that the Inferno 42 inside the cylinder is active because it’s glowing yellow inside the cylinder. He races towards the agent because he knows that the Inferno 42 will affect her.

The agent has become severely weakened by the chemical. She suggests to Cap to leave her behind and take the Inferno 42 somewhere to be contained. Batroc comes leaping through the floor, feet first, and looks to snag the Inferno 42 in order to get his paycheck. Another fight breaks out between the American (Cap) and the Frenchman (Batroc). Batroc gets the better of Cap by kicking Cap’s shield across the room after it is tossed by Cap and then kicking Cap out of a window. Batroc leaves the scene and delivers the Inferno 42 to the unknown men that plan to take over the world. Batroc and the men getting into a shouting match as Batroc doesn’t want to hear their praise, he wants his money that is due to him. The money that they offered to him is VERY generous.

Cap appears out of nowhere to foil Batroc and the men’s horrible plot. Cap relays to Batroc that he wasn’t dead from Batroc’s powerful dropkick and he was just playing possum in order to follow Batroc to the men’s secret lair. Batroc and Cap engage in battle for the final time in this story, while the men escape with the Inferno 42. Cap gives Batroc a couple of devastating blows to the cranium. Devastating blows that could give a normal person a concussion. After Batroc takes the blows, he decides that it’s time to bail from New York City, especially with the Inferno 42 being in the hands of the vile villains. Cap goes back to the agent and sees that it’s possible that she could die. He’s not worried about the Inferno 42 as Lee reveals that Cap knew that the cylinder that she had was a phony all along. The story ends with Cap in a depressing state as he feels as if everyone that he’s ever loved is torn away from him.

Lee’s story is thrilling and adventurous, though there is one flaw. Both cylinders that are featured are phonies, so why is the female agent near death? She shouldn’t be near death if the cylinders never contained any trace of Inferno 42. Even the first cylinder that she had before the swap was never activated, so she couldn’t have been affected. Maybe Lee decided to kill her in order to impact and hurt Cap even further. He meets a woman similar to a love from the past and yet it’s ripped away in no time. Cap seems to never be able to escape his experiences from war times.

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