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 new decade brought heartbreak and hassles for Captain America, including trouble with his girl, super villains, and the return of the one person Cap thought he’d never see again.
The sly and selfish Dr. Cragg plotted his revenge against our hero in CAPTAIN AMERICA #121 for past injustices by creating the Man-Brute through a special chemical. Cap defeated the crazed criminal when the man’s own son intervened and drove his father off. Then, in CAPTAIN AMERICA #122, the dreaded Scorpion set his sights on Steve Rogers while Sharon Carter ran afoul of a spy ring she aimed to bust up.
The lovely but larcenous Suprema tried to become the biggest crime boss of them all by taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. with her witchcraft in CAPTAIN AMERICA #123, but our hero proved her incredible powers to be merely a fancy hypnotic device and beat the woman at her own game. When the criminal scientist cabal called A.I.M. and its leader M.O.D.O.K. created a cyborg out of one of their own operatives in CAPTAIN AMERICA #124, it fell to Cap to set things right; meanwhile, things fell apart between him and Sharon over a matter of distrust.
Burying his troubles in a hurried flight to Vietnam in CAPTAIN AMERICA #125, the Sentinel of Liberty rescued a missing diplomat in that war-torn country but discovered the Mandarin lurked behind the scenes. Back in the United States, he searched Harlem for his new friend the Falcon in CAPTAIN AMERICA #126, but instead dug up a sinister plot to frame Sam Wilson by the Diamondheads gang. A.I.M. attempted another attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. in CAPTAIN AMERICA #127 and inadvertently set the famous spy organization on Cap’s trail as a possible betrayer. Nick Fury tested his old friend by confronting him with the Tony Stark-built X-4 robot but only succeeded in driving a deeper wedge of mistrust between him and Rogers.
Cap acquired a motorcycle in CAPTAIN AMERICA #128 and stumbled into a small town beset by a biker gang calling themselves the Satan’s Angels. After that, the Star-Spangled Avenger battled the Red Skull again when the villain sought the death of a visiting King Hassab in CAPTAIN AMERICA #129 and tried to kick-start another world war.
A mysterious antagonist known as the Hood crawled out of the woodwork in CAPTAIN AMERICA #130 to foster a riot on the campus of a Midwest university using Batroc’s Brigade—Batroc, Whirlwind, and the Porcupine. Captain America swooped in to stop them, but later unmasked the Hood as his old enemy Baron Strucker in CAPTAIN AMERICA #131. Strucker used an amnesiac young man from San Francisco to pose as Cap’s late partner Bucky Barnes, only to have the teenager revealed as a robot built by Dr. Doom and M.O.D.O.K.
Cap ended his year with a bang in CAPTAIN AMERICA #132 by confronting the Bucky robot and watching in disbelief as M.O.D.O.K. destroyed his creation for disobeying his orders to kill our hero.