Monday, January 25, 2016

Real Name: Steve Rogers
First Appearance: Captain America Comics #1 (March, 1941)
Fight Club Ranking: #7

Featured Fights:
- vs BATROC & MR. HYDE: Captain America #251 (Nov 1980)
- vs MR. HYDE: Captain America #252 (Dec 1980)
- vs IRON MAN: Captain America Annual #9 (1990)
- vs WOLVERINE: Captain America #405 (Aug 1992)
- vs DOPPELGANGER: Captain America #408 (Oct 1992)
- vs BANE: Marvel versus DC #2 (Mar 1996)
- vs BATMAN: Marvel versus DC #3 (Apr 1996)
- vs THOR & LOKI: Avengers #1 (Nov 1996)
- vs HULK: Avengers #4 (Feb 1997)
- vs AIM: Captain America #6 (Apr 1997)
- vs DESTROYER: Thor #1 (Jul 1998)
- vs INVADERS: New Invaders #0 (Aug 2004)
- vs CROSSBONES: Captain America #4 (Apr 2005)
- vs WOLVERINE: Wolverine #25 (Apr 2005)
- vs RED SKULL & NAZIS: Captain America #5 (May 2005)
- vs SHIELD: Civil War #1 (Jul 2006)
- vs AVENGERS: Civil War #3 (Sep 2006)
- vs MASTER MAN: Captain America: Reborn #2 (Oct 2009)
- vs PUNISHER: What If...? #51 (Jul 1993)

There were a lot of competing top stories in the last 7 days that could've influenced today's Hero of the Week. For a while there I thought DC were finally going to crack 2016, but instead its the movies taking the backseat -- scooped by an announcement for the long awaited comic book restoration of Marvel's Captain America! 75 years young and still punching bad guys in the face!
Not as much Nazi punching as their used to be, but that's more about Uncle Walt getting squeamish at the sight of all those swastikas, rather than Cap getting soft. (Probably still sore about the unions).

The "return" of Steve Rogers was announced during a 75th Anniversary Special on ABC.

It's not often you get major comics news from the television, so that's pretty cool! Then again, there is a major movie sequel right around the corner, which is inevitably sharing a lot of the attention. We touched briefly on Captain America: Civil War in the last HOTW [01/1/2016], but since my money's on short odds for movie Cap departing the role (and life) - the comics are on the more interesting end of the cyclical game of costume swapsies.

In comicsland, Sam Wilson has been the man in the red, white and blue since 2014. For a while there, Cap did get a nasty case of showing his age -- all a product of his super-soldier serum being neutralized by the bad guys. Rogers naturally hand-picked his best pal at arms to keep the flag waving and shield throwing, while he slipped into a less physically demanding role as Avengers director - protecting his now frail, aged body from harm.

The switcheroo caused a minor uproar at the time -- Bucky Barnes had only handed the star-spangled plan back a few years earlier, in 2011. There have been several Captain Americas over the decades and it makes sense that many worthy Americans could carry the tradition forward, but the role will always be iconic to Steve Rogers, and so many change-ups in such a short amount of time was very bush league on Marvel's part. Par for the course, sadly, as the branding identity of Marvel's pantheon becomes increasingly meaningless. When everyone is Uncanny, Amazing, Secret, New - no one is.

Rogers's return was inevitable - it was just a matter of when. The 75th Anniversary was either going to be another return, or another death. We got the better of the two. Falcon will still soar as the secondary Captain America, carrying the original's shield [pictured above]. That too will almost certainly return to normal soon enough, as it has many, many times before. 1989's showdown between Rogers and John Walker comes to mind as just one of the shadows Marvel is playing in.

When Walker was Cap [the first time], Steve Rogers became the black clad ['everyone was doing it'], nationless Captain. In 2016, his new look is similarly of the times. US Agent adopted Cap's eighties black costume when the identity crisis was settled. When the fashion of Cap '16 finally wears out its welcome, I don't imagine anyone will want to use it again. You might be able to sell a Hollywood exec on the supposed "reality" of it, but around these parts we know movie Cap looks like a dork every time. A poor choice of inspiration, unless you're planning an officially licensed line of novelty rubber stress toys.

I'm sure Cap will get his groove back soon enough. For now, lets just be glad the iconic original is alive and well for a big 75th Anniversary! I know I am!

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