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.
A year spent surrounded by beautiful women doesn't sound so bad, does it? Well, in 1991 Captain America found it quite the ordeal seeing as how most of them seemed hell-bent on killing him.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #381: either help her take down the villainous Serpent Society or she'd bring in the mercenary Paladin to do the job. Our hero saw the light and dove into the task, going fist-to-fang with the snaky group in CAPTAIN AMERICA #382.
Presiding over the induction of a new line-up for Earth's Mightiest Heroes in AVENGERS #329, Cap saw much potential in the young African-American champion called Rage. Then, in CAPTAIN AMERICA #383, he chased after the enigmatic Father Time, meeting famous American historical figures along the way only to discover it all a part of an elaborate present from a friend to celebrate 50 years as the Sentinel of Liberty.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #384 found Cap on the trail of the lost Demolition Man in the chilly Arctic and crossing paths with his old Invaders ally Jack Frost. The social activists known as the Watchdogs slipped their leashes in CAPTAIN AMERICA #385, a situation targeted by the USAgent, whose brutal tactics did not gel well with his counterpart's in CAPTAIN AMERICA #386.
Female super villains by the dozens heard the call to assemble on a cruise ship in CAPTAIN AMERICA #387, including the female version of M.O.D.O.K., the malevolent M.O.D.A.M. Paladin came to Cap's aid to investigate the mystery in CAPTAIN AMERICA #388, and the unlikely duo uncovered a sprawling scheme by the man-hating Superia in CAPTAIN AMERICA #389 to recruit an army to take over the world. Overwhelmed by sheer numbers and then captured, Superia revealed her intentions to transform the forced partners into women in CAPTAIN AMERICA #390.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #391, the heroes heard of the villainess' ultimate game: the sterilization of all women on Earth save for her own female army. The costumed criminals called Asp and Black Mamba freed Cap and Paladin and the Living Legend then clashed with Superia in CAPTAIN AMERICA #392. With a little help from the Avengers, Cap saved the day and ended the villain's narrow-minded vision of the future.
The Red Skull stood trial in a German courtroom in CAPTAIN AMERICA #393, but escaped with aid of Arnim Zola and the creature known as Doughboy. After hearing of Diamondback's desire to retire, Cap fought with his German counterpart, Hauptman Deutschland, who came to the States in search of the Skull. The rogue appeared to be killed by the criminal-hunter Scourge in CAPTAIN AMERICA #394, but it all stood as part of the Red Skull's larger machinations, which included freeing Viper from prison and wooing her to his side in CAPTAIN AMERICA #395. Meanwhile Cap and fellow Avenger Thor encountered Doughboy at Skull House.
The year ended with our hero accepting the resignation of Rage in AVENGERS #342, the young hero in which he'd placed much hope and admiration.