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.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #7 saw Steve Rogers relocating his living quarters to a new neighborhood in Brooklyn, but also looking down the barrel of a new mission for S.H.I.E.L.D., one he didn’t care to pursue. Regardless, Cap jumped into the fray, only to witness the seeming murder of his friend, Inali Redpath, at the hands of Barricade, a rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Cap discovered Redpath lived on, though, in CAPTAIN AMERICA #8, yet also became his latest adversary, a man who wanted what he did yet in a vastly different fashion. Redpath killed Barricade after a stand-off with a school bus held hostage, and declared himself against S.H.I.E.L.D. in CAPTAIN AMERICA #9. Drugged and hallucinating in CAPTAIN AMERICA #10, our hero fell into the hands of Hana, an Atlantean woman who rescued him from an increasingly deranged Redpath.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #11, Redpath merged with the Sioux thunder god, a dire situation that called for the intervention of Thor, Cap’s teammate in the Avengers and handy with a bit of thunder himself.
A mysterious film surfaced in CAPTAIN AMERICA #12, casting a new light on Cap’s time frozen in the Arctic. The hero began to ponder the question of his own government’s purported involvement in his suspended animation in CAPTAIN AMERICA #13, a supposed punishment for his opposition to the atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan. After defeating a team of Lemurian assassins, Cap and Hana sought out the elderly General Phillips in CAPTAIN AMERICA #14, seeking answers from the man who chose Steve Rogers for the Super-Soldier experiment. Sadly, killers sent by the Interrogator silenced Phillips forever in CAPTAIN AMERICA #15, and the villain himself later killed Hana.
Happily, Hana’s death proved to be an illusion in CAPTAIN AMERICA #16, and Cap defeated the Interrogator soon after, then learning that the plot to confuse him sprung from the mind of U.S. Secretary of Defense Dell Rusk. Rusk turned out to be none other than the Red Skull in AVENGERS #68, and took his lumps from the two heroes he hated the most, Black Panther and Falcon, in AVENGERS #70.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #17 to a drastically different world than that he entered the day the Avengers found him in the ocean years before. This world recognized Nazi Germany as the victor in World War II, and the Red Skull as its supreme leader. Escaping from the Skull, Cap met the alternate reality’s Reed Richards and family in CAPTAIN AMERICA #18, while his foe demanded the secret of time travel from Doctor Doom.
The year ended with Cap joining a band of resistance fighters in CAPTAIN AMERICA #19, rescuing Peter Parker from the Nazis, and trying valiantly to rally the people of the strange world he didn’t make against their oppressors.