Two Kirby reprints in this issue. First up is “Titan, The Amphibian From Atlantis”, from TALES OF SUSPENSE #28, a 7-page story inked by Russ Heath (I think the only time Heath inked Kirby). Looks very pretty, with a lot of the qualities that someone like Wallace Wood brought to the pencils of that period, without being quite as overpowering. Anyway, in this story a giant monster comes out of the waters and attacks New York, informing everyone telepathically that he’s an advance scout from Atlantis, which will invade, and promises riches to any human who will betray the secrets of humanity. One man, industrial giant John Cartwright, agrees, managing to escape with Titan just ahead of an angry mob. He’s branded a traitor by humanity, who put aside their national difference to prepare for the Atlantean invasion, not realizing that Cartwright has in fact sacrificed his own life by exaggerating. humanity’s technology to the creatures.
The other Kirby story goes back much further, to 1941, “Death Loads the Bases” from CAPTAIN AMERICA #7. 15 pages with Syd Shores inking, according to the Kirby Checklist. Not the sharpest reprint quality, really, and made worse by adjusting the layouts, adding space between panels to make the art fill the page. Anyway, in this story Steve Rogers and Bucky attend a Brooklyn Badgers game, only to see two of the players drop dead on the field. Cap spots a poison dart, and he and Bucky go after the masked Black Toad and henchmen and get soundly defeated. The next game Cap and Bucky take over as pitcher and catcher for the team, doing quite well. Which has to be embarrassing for the regular players. I mean sure, Cap has the super-soldier serum, but Bucky?
The Toad finally attacks, in the form of a bomb hidden in a baseball, and Cap and Bucky take him out and unmask him. This is far from the best written of the S&K Cap stories, and the reprint doesn’t really show off the line-art, but it does have some really nice action bits, as the quality of their layouts was improving by leaps and bounds in those early years. The baseball bits are especially well done in this story.