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Avengers Fridays

Earth's Mightiest Costumes: Captain America

One of Marvel's most iconic costumes and the history of its evolution

"And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born-to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand!"

As the Heroic Age dawns on the Marvel Universe and we prepare for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, each Friday Marvel.com will present a different column focusing on the one and only Avengers. From line-ups to costumes to villains to classic stories and beyond, we've got you covered on the history of Marvel's most prolific team of heroes!

So let the call go out: Avengers Assemble!

By TJ Dietsch

Even though Captain America's red, which and blue togs make him instantly recognizable wherever he goes, sometimes even Steve Rogers needs to change things up by altering his gear. From making changes to the iconic shield to taking on a completely new identity, Cap has gone through his fair share of costume changes. 

Original Costume
The Original

Designed by the crack team of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in 1941's CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1, this is the costume fans have grown to know and love over the years as the most recognizable version of the character. That doesn't mean the accessories can't change though. Cap started out with a pointy shield, but that didn't last for long.

The Classic

Soon enough the triangular got replaced by the more familiar circular one, though the color scheme has changed here and there. As longtime fans know, the current shield consists of a Vibranium-steel alloy that makes it bounce around when thrown by a super soldier.


While only sported by Steve Rogers for four issues in 1974-CAPTAIN AMERICA #180-184-the Nomad identity still made quite an impact, as it's been picked up by other heroes, including Rikki Barnes at present. Rogers created the identity after losing faith in the U.S. government when he discovered a major politician also ran a terrorist organization called the Secret Empire. Rogers had problems with the new costume, especially the cape, which he actually tripped over!

The Captain
The Captain

After about 10 years, Steve Rogers became disillusioned with the government once again and resigned the identity of Captain America, creating The Captain. Sporting a black, red and white-themed costume instead of the traditional patriotic duds, Rogers struck out on his own once more, this time keeping the new identity for nearly two years. In an effort to replace his favorite weapon, The Captain approached his longtime friend and teammate Iron Man for help in getting a new shield, which Tony Stark provided, improving on the original model by infusing it with Vibranium.


Rogers eventually returned to his classic costume, but got into some trouble later down the line when a virus attacked the Super Soldier Serum in his blood. As his body began to deteriorate, Rogers once again turned to Iron Man for help. Soon enough, the aging shield slinger sported an armor much like Stark's for a time.

Heroes Reborn
Heroes Reborn

One of the many heroes who seemingly died fighting Onslaught, Captain America ended up with his fellow Avengers and the Fantastic Four in the pocket Heroes Reborn universe created by Franklin Richards. His costume there retained most elements from the original, only changing the "A" on Cap's mask to a stylized eagle, but even that didn't last long. 

Ultimate Captain America
Ultimate Captain America

Like the Heroes Reborn version of Captain America, the Ultimate one doesn't differ much in appearance from his classic counterpart. Missing the white mask wings while adding a few other small alterations, this Cap differs more in attitude than anything else. His World War II era costume reflects the armor and helmets of the time.

Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

After Steve Rogers got shot on the steps of the federal courthouse, the Captain America shield and costume needed a new bearer and wearer. Iron Man tested a number of potential candidates, including Hawkeye, but in the end, Bucky Barnes decided to wield the shield, going with a darker look and pronounced gun holsters.

Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers

The events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: REBORN brought Steve Rogers back to the land of the living after being trapped in a time warp for some time. That doesn't mean he's picking up the Cap identity immediately, though. Appreciating the work that Bucky has put into the position, Rogers now wears a modified S.H.I.E.L.D. body suit and fights the good fight under his real name. What the future holds for Rogers and the Avengers remains to be seen in the Heroic Age.


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Need to update this with Sam Wilson