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.
The Red Skull possessed a new Cosmic Cube in CAPTAIN AMERICA #1, but lost it to a Russian named Lukin when an assassin’s bullet cut him down. Meanwhile, Cap experienced strange dreams of his days in World War II. In CAPTAIN AAMERICA AND THE FALCON #9, the U.S. government wanted to press charges against the increasingly-erratic Falcon, and Cap himself witnessed the birth of a new team of Earth’ Mightiest Heroes in NEW AVENGERS #1.
Cap learned of the Skull’s murder in CAPTAIN AMERICA #2, and threw down with Crossbones, now the field commander for a splinter A.I.M. group known as R.A.I.D. The Falcon’s conflict with our hero grew in CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON #10, and a quest for M.O.D.O.K. began while a restored Anti-Cap took center stage again through the machinations of Sam Wilson as a weapon against the Rivas drug cartel. Cap’s wartime flashbacks worsened in CAPTAIN AMERICA #3, but he flew to London to stop the city from utter destruction at the hands of his foe, Mother Night.
CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON #11, Cap realized the organic weapon didn’t recognize him. Meanwhile, the Falcon went AWOL. Lukin arrived in New York City with the half-powered Cosmic Cube in CAPTAIN AMERICA #4 while Cap battled Crossbones and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Agent 13 sought out Jack Monroe, aka Nomad. The Sentinel of Liberty then found himself between a rock and a hard place when the Hulk sought some smashing on M.O.D.O.K. in CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON #12.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #5 brought memories of Cap fighting alongside the Invaders during World War II, which also revealed that the young Bucky could be as lethal as any soldier—or worse. Our hero finally dissolved his association with the seemingly-unhinged Falcon in CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON #13, and the Anti-Cap went on a bloodthirsty rampage, forcing Falc to go after him in CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON #14, leading into the final showdown between Cap and the Anti-Cap.
In CAPTAIN AMERICA #6, Cap investigated the former castle of Baron Zemo, the original spot from where the drone plane that killed Bucky launched during the last days of the war. There, Lukin’s dark assassin almost shot the Star-Spangled Avenger until the Russian stilled his hand. CAPTAIN AMERICA #7 revealed the fate of Jack Monroe, gunned down by the mysterious Winter Soldier.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #8, a situation that also brought much anxiety and dread to the hero. Crossbones recovered Sin, the Red Skull’s daughter, in CAPTAIN AMERICA #9, and began to “unbrainwash” her back to the side of evil. Meanwhile, Cap almost captured Lukin, but Nick Fury intervened, citing political red tape behind his reasoning.
The insane Scarlet Witch’s hexes caused a radical shift of realities in CAPTAIN AMERICA #10, creating an alternate world wherein Steve Rogers joined the U.S. Air Force after World War II, became the first man to walk on the moon, and watched as that world crumbled under anti-mutant hysteria.
Cap and Fury read a secret file that turned up on the hero’s doorstep in CAPTAIN AMERICA #11, confirming his worst fears: Bucky survived the explosion of Zemo’s drone plane and operated in the present day as the Winter Soldier, a Russian assassin.
In grief and disbelief, Cap looked around for answers in CAPTAIN AMERICA #12, but found little that made sense to him.