By Jim Beard
Over seven decades ago, history occurred with the debut of Captain America in 1941. 70 years later, Steve Rogers and his star-spangled alter ego have grown to iconic status, remaining a mainstay of the Marvel Universe while also expanding into the realms of television, film and more.
On April 4, 2014, the Sentinel of Liberty returns to the big screen in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" from Marvel Studios. As the countdown to Chris Evans picking up the shield once more heats up, we present the definitive comics history of Cap, from his debut to the modern day.
Guest-stars galore joined the Sentinel of Liberty in 1982, a year that not only saw the usual challenges for Captain America, but also the revelation of his secret identity to someone very close to him.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man came crawling along to kick off the new year in CAPTAIN AMERICA #265. The wall-crawler aided Cap in a struggle against a cyborg called SULTAN and his flying island. The case wrapped up in CAPTAIN AMERICA #266, when SULTAN met his defeat and his plan for nuclear destruction aborted by Cap, Spidey, and Nick Fury.
After watching in shock as his old friend Hank Pym wound up in jail in AVENGERS #217, our hero faced off against the new menace of Everyman in CAPTAIN AMERICA #267 and a tense showdown on Liberty Island. Bernie Rosenthal, Steve Rogers’ girlfriend, professed her love for her beau in CAPTAIN AMERICA #268, but he found himself unable to sort out his feelings. He did, though, receive a telepathic distress call that led him into battle alongside the Defenders against a man who threatened to bring about World War III.
With thoughts of taking his relationship with Bernie to a new level, Steve teamed up with the professional motorcycle stunt group called Team America in CAPTAIN AMERICA #269. Together, they foiled a plot by the Mad Thinker to replace Nobel Prize winners with android duplicates. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #270, Cap helped an old friend, Arnie Roth, to free his partner from a terrifying mind-link with a grotesque monster. Later, the Star-Spangled Avenger entered the ring in CAPTAIN AMERICA #271 to uncloak the mystery behind mystery wrestler “X.”
The Falcon flew into a rage in CAPTAIN AMERICA #272 when his nephew, Jim Wilson, ended up in the hospital with a gunshot wound. At the same time, Cap encountered the rat-faced Vermin, a man-like beast who controlled the creatures of the sewers.
Steve Rogers happily reunited with the retired Howling Commandos in CAPTAIN AMERICA #273, but the happiness flew out the window when the terrorist group HYDRA nabbed Commando “Happy Sam.” The Howlers and Cap tracked their friend to a North Dakota Air Force base, only to run afoul of their old foe, Baron Strucker. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #274, Strucker stood revealed as yet another robot stand-in, and our heroes mourned the death of their comrade, “Happy Sam.”
In CAPTAIN AMERICA #275, Steve witnessed the vandalizing of a local synagogue and juggled the tensions that arose from an upcoming Nazi rally. When Cap threw a bucket of cold water on a riot that broke out at the rally, Bernie realized that her boyfriend hid a secret: a career as a super hero.
When Arnie Roth disappeared, Cap followed a strange android to a hidden compound and there saw his worst nightmare come true: a team-up between old enemies Arnim Zola and Baron Zemo, with the vicious Vermin waiting in the wings.