One issue before artist/writer Jim Steranko began is legendary Silver Age run on Marvel Comics' Captain America title, Jack Kirby (who had drawn the previous eight issues) turned in what I consider to be one his best issues of the title.
Along with writer Stan Lee, Jack retold The Origin Of Captain America!, in issue #109, taking into account all the various tweaks and alterations of Cap’s origin over the past years and conglomerating them all into one cohesive whole.
It was a brilliant piece of work by Lee and Kirby and it stands as a testament to their combined talents.
The issue things start off with a bang as Cap and his teenage sidekick Bucky face-off against a horde of Nazi and their new super weapon.
The scene shifts to modern day as readers see Cap recalling the adventure to Nick Fury the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.: the super secret spy agency.
In an attempt to regroup his life after the tragic death of Bucky and his subsequent suspended animation in a block of ice, only to be revived over 20 years later in a new and unknown future, cap recalls his origin.
As with all past ‘origin’ tales Cap started out as Steve Rogers: a scrawny young man who wants to help with the war effort in WWII but is too weak and frail to qualify for service.
An officer hears his pleas to serve and offers him a chance to make a difference.
Steve agrees and meets with Professor Reinstein, the world’s greatest physicist and the inventor of the Super Soldier serum and procedure.
Meanwhile a Nazi submarine is submerged off the shores of Long Island and launches a raft with a Nazi passenger assigned to stop Project Super Soldier.
Steve and Professor Reinstein are taken to a small shop, which hides the underground complex housing Project Super Soldier.
Once below Steve is subjected to bombardment of Vita-Rays after being injected with a secret serum.
After the Vita-Rays bombardment Steve emerges as a near-perfect human specimen: taller, stronger, faster and with more muscle.
As Steve and Reinstein stand in amazement at the procedure’s results the aforementioned clandestine Nazi spy shoots Reinstein. The secret of the Super Soldier serum is lost, as Reinstein was the only one who knew its formula
Outraged Steve attacks the spy, throwing him into an electrical panel and killing him.
Not long after that Steve dons the uniform of Captain America, reluctantly takes Bucky on as his partner when Bucky discovers his secret identity and they begin their crusade to stop the Nazi and Japanese and end the war.
Back in the present Nick consoles Cap and offers him sage advice: it’s time to leave the past behind and start living again.
What makes this issues so amazing is (according to rumors) is that Jack and Stan produced it at breakneck speed because Jim Steranko was a bit behind schedule and couldn’t deliver his first issue on time.
Regardless if the rumor was true or not, Captain America #109 stands as one of the most pivotal issues in Cap’s long and illustrious comic book saga.