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.
James Barnes, the former Bucky, found that to be true in 2008 and 2009 as he stepped into the role and pressed forward with honoring the legacy of the fallen Steve Rogers, but evil forces did their best to keep him down.
The Falcon and the Black Widow searched for Dr. Faustus, the man who manipulated Sharon Carter into killing Steve Rogers, in CAPTAIN AMERICA #32, while the Winter Soldier escaped the clutches of the Red Skull. Bucky faced off against Iron Man in CAPTAIN AMERICA #33 and informed him that the Skull’s consciousness rested in the body of Russian madman Lukin. Ultimately, Tony Stark convinced Bucky to take up the shield and mantle of Captain America.
As the new Cap, Bucky took the fight to A.I.M., with a little help from Black Widow, in CAPTAIN AMERICA #34, and Faustus activated his sleeper agents within S.H.I.E.L.D. Falcon and the Widow continued the search for Sharon Carter in CAPTAIN AMERICA #35, but she remained a captive of the Red Skull and his lackey Arnim Zola, who zeroed in on Sharon’s pregnancy. Cap stopped the Serpent Squad from tearing up the White House and dealt with an angry, Faustus-controlled mob in CAPTAIN AMERICA #36, while in the Skull’s secret base Sharon discovered a body in a tank that resembled the late Steve Rogers.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #37. The Avengers’ bowman Hawkeye expressed his disdain over the new Cap and Sharon discovered the man in the tank to be the 1950’s Captain America, who long ago underwent plastic surgery to resemble Steve. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #38, Sharon planned to kill the 1950’s Cap, while her friends failed once again to uncover her location. Awakening, Steve Rogers II agreed to help Senator Wright’s campaign in CAPTAIN AMERICA #39.
Bucky clashed with the 1950’s Cap in CAPTAIN AMERICA #40, fighting to break Faustus’ unnatural hold upon the man’s mind, but Rogers II’s anger over Barnes’ murder of the second Bucky fed his energy to fight on. Back at the secret base, the Red Skull’s daughter Sin stabbed Sharon Carter during an escape attempt, forcing a miscarriage of her unborn child. Back in Washington, Cap and Falcon tracked the 1950’s Cap in hopes of trailing him to the Skull’s lair, and Dr. Faustus decided to betray his partner to S.H.I.E.L.D.
In CAPTAIN AMERICA #42, Sharon finally escaped her imprisonment, Cap beat Sin in battle, Sharon killed Lukin, and the Red Skull’s consciousness wound up in a robotic body built by Arnim Zola. The year ended with Barnes agonizing over his past sins as the Winter Soldier in CAPTAIN AMERICA #43.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #44 with Cap and Batroc the Leaper after a mystery shipment desired by an equally-mysterious Chinese gentleman. The Man with No Face, a Chinese attempt to create a super-soldier, attacked Bucky in CAPTAIN AMERICA #45 to keep him from grabbing the shipment, which contained the artificial body of the original Human Torch. Cap vowed to recover the remains of his old Invaders ally and allow him a proper burial.
Realizing his opponent to be Professor Zhang Chin, whom he’d fought in the past, Cap accepted the aid of Namor the Sub-Mariner in CAPTAIN AMERICA #46, while the Black Widow provide the intel on Chin’s whereabouts. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #47, Bucky and Namor discovered Chin’s plan to create a virus from the Torch’s body, something the Sub-Mariner successfully resisted in CAPTAIN AMERICA #48. The Black Widow freed Cap from Chin’s clutches, the Professor died during the ensuing struggle, and Namor defeated the Man with No Face.
Taking some much-needed time-off in CAPTAIN AMERICA #49, Sharon Carter remained haunted by the death of Steve Rogers at her hands. Bucky Barnes took a trip down memory lane in CAPTAIN AMERICA #50, remembering birthdays of his past and wrestling with his role.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #600, while the nation’s super heroes still fought over the Registration Act, Steve Rogers lived on in the active memories of Sharon, Bucky, the 1950’s Cap, the Falcon, and the Red Skull. Barnes in particular flashed back to a World War II mission in CAPTAIN AMERICA #601 wherein he and Steve clashed with vampires preying on valiant soldiers.