Captain America is as iconic as Wonderbread. His shield is as iconic as the character. He’s American as jazz and comic books. He is the conscience of the Marvel Universe, and he can kick butt.
I’ve never been a fan of the “darker” super heroes. I’ve never liked the Punisher types who would consider killing the criminal bringing them to justice. However, a hero who struggles with doing the right thing in tough situations, a hero who inspires other heroes, a hero who will give his all to protect the weak and save the world, that’s the hero for me. Captain America is that hero.
Captain America had his start as the equivalent of war propaganda. A scrawny polio afflicted kid with a heart to serve his country was injected with a super secret super soldier serum. The serum’s formula was known to only one man who was killed by a spy right after administering the serum to young Steve Rogers. Thus it was that there would only be one super soldier…Captain America. Throughout World War II, Cap fought alongside the soldiers in the trenches and his sidekick Bucky Barnes, fighting the forces of the Axis powers and thrilling comic readers everywhere. As the war came to an end, though, there seemed to be no place for Captain America in the world of comics. But leave it to the duo of good ole’ Stan Lee and Jack “The King” Kirby to bring Cap back in a big way and turn him into a classic Marvel character complete with the internal struggle that the very human super heroes of the Marvel U all seem to possess.
In Avengers #4, readers were treated to the return of Captain America. We found out that a bomb that he jumped on to stop, when it exploded, killed his sidekick, and landed cap in icy arctic waters where he was frozen and thanks to the serum running through his veins was able to be revived. His return to the world after being thought dead for twenty plus years affected everyone. Cap most of all. Everyone he knew and loved had either grown old or died.
Dealing with this new time, and new ways of life, Cap did the one thing he knew how to do, he stepped up, he led, he became super again.
That’s Captain America, and that’s why he’s one of my top ten favorites.
Captain America stands for more than just the United States. He stands for doing the right thing. He stands for being the hero. In a day and age where so many people have become disenfranchised with America and the American dream, Captain America still believes that whether or not this is this greatest country in the world, we can still choose to be the greatest people in the world. He believes in people, he believes in his team, and he believes in doing what’s right no matter the cost.
Aside from the super soldier serum, Captain America has no super powers. The serum gives cap enhanced strength and reflexes, but other than that it’s almost simply an inoculation. He’s not bullet proof. He doesn’t have super speed or super strength. He does have a keen, resourceful mind, a resilient spirit, and the heart of the greatest generation. He puts himself in harms way and has found himself in situations of cosmic proportions. Every time he comes out the hero.
Then, there was Marvel’s Civil War. Cap took the side of the non-registered heroes. While there was a lot of debate over Marvel’s big crossover event, one thing was agreed on pretty much across the board. Cap came down on the side of the angels. Why? Why would people not see Tony Stark’s side of things? Why were the lawbreaking unregistered heroes the good guys in that whole fiasco? Well, there were some pretty shady things done by Tony Stark, Reed Richards and their side, but I also have to believe that Cap making the huge decision to turn his back on his country and go underground to keep doing what he does caused a lot of people to look and say, “These must be the good guys.” Why? Because Captain America does the right thing. Period.
A leader, a hero, and a man committed to doing the right thing. These attributes along with the resourcefulness of MacGuyver give Captain America the number 6 spot in my top ten countdown. What do you think? Is he worthy?