Monday, May 08, 2017

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

Featured Fights:
- vs BLACK PANTHER: Tales of Suspense #98 (Feb 1968)
- vs BATROC & MR. HYDE: Captain America #251 (Nov 1980)
- vs MR. HYDE: Captain America #252 (Dec 1980)
- vs WOLVERINE: Captain America #405 (Aug 1992)
- vs DOPPELGANGER: Captain America #408 (Oct 1992)
- vs PUNISHER: What If...? #51 (Jul 1993)
- vs BATMAN: Marvel versus DC #3 (Apr 1996)
- vs NAZIS: Captain America #1 (Nov 1996)
- vs THOR & LOKI: Avengers #1 (Nov 1996)
- vs HULK: Avengers #4 (Feb 1997)
- vs BARON ZEMO & MODOK: Captain America #6 (Apr 1997)
- vs DESTROYER: Thor #1 (Jul 1998)
- vs EXILES: Exiles #31 (Oct 2003)
- vs INVADERS: New Invaders #0 (Aug 2004)
- vs SINISTER TWELVE: Marvel Knights: Spider-man #11 (Apr 2005)
- vs CROSSBONES: Captain America #4 (Apr 2005)
- vs RED SKULL & NAZIS: Captain America #5 (May 2005)
- vs SILVER SURFER: Marvel Zombies #3 (Apr 2006)
- vs GALACTUS: Marvel Zombies #5 (Jun 2006)
- vs SHIELD: Civil War #1 (Jul 2006)
- vs AVENGERS: Civil War #3 (Sep 2006)
- vs BARON ZEMO: Thunderbolts #105 (Oct 2006)
- vs ATLANTIS: Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #9 (Mar 2007)
- vs MASTER MAN: Reborn #2 (Oct 2009)

Captain America is a Hydra agent and he always has been. I can't say the premise of Marvel's Secret Empire has me particularly interested, but this week's Free Comic Book Day special demands attention for putting Thor's hammer Mjolnir in the hands of a treasonous Steve Rogers!

A wildfire of critical opinion seems to already be flickering around Secret Empire, grafting political unease in the United States onto the fictional scenario. Consternation over what it means to paint Captain America as a pseudo-Nazi seems to overlook the common trope of an alternate or altered reality, and the obvious temporary nature of stories like these.

Suggesting Hydra Cap is worthy of lifting Thor's hammer offers a much needed wrinkle to what I would otherwise consider a very uninteresting premise. I find it difficult to share any of the passion that's come from fans fiercely for - or against. At this point, it feels as if it's a warn out scenario. Just another Marvel event in the vain of House of M, Fear ItselfAge of Ultron and other disappointments.

More over, it compounds the problem of Marvel's icons being largely unavailable over significant amounts of time. Last month I talked about the obvious strain of trading the mainstays for a new generation of replacements. Captain America comes with the added frustration of the last decade spending so much time without offering the iconic, good old fashioned Cap fans know and love.

2007's Captain America #25 took Steve Rogers off the board for two years when he was assassinated after surrendering at the end of Civil War. He made his obligatory return in 2009's Captain America: Reborn, only to be quickly repositioned as the new Director of SHIELD, and again when his super-soldier serum induced youth was stripped. It looked like another triumphant restart was launched for the character's 75th anniversary -- but here we are again anticipating more time wasted.

It's been a long time since Marvel's big events have had real gravitas, or an interesting hook. This one didn't seem to have much more than the usual clich├ęs to offer, but maybe they have something up their sleeve. I certainly hope so. Marvel are calling it their last big event for a while, and I think we'll all be grateful. They keep selling the death, corruption, and weakness of their own characters, when the most interesting pitch might actually just be telling good, old fashioned, run of the mill stories.

I'm not ready to invest in the story just yet, but I'll be interested to see what lies beneath the otherwise tired and obvious concept. If a Hydra super-soldier is worthy of lifting Mjolnir, there clearly must be more to the story! That's what makes Captain America our Hero of the Week!

If, like me, you're a little tired of all the shenanigans, and just want to enjoy Captain America kicking bad guys (especially Nazis) in the face - fear not! You can check out some of Cap's best featured fights at the top of this post, or dive into the Secret Archive to read about even more true blue exploits! A heroic figure of inspiration is something I'm sure everybody could use!

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