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 millennium brought Captain America another new love in his life, yet also a dark reminder of his past. As the years of 2000 and 2001 progressed, Steve Rogers would learn more of the man who came before him in the Super-Soldier program, clash once again with the scientific criminals of A.I.M., and run headlong into another face-off with his deadliest enemy.
A new Hate-Monger arrived on the scene in CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 as our hero and the Falcon tried to rescue Nick Fury in Idaho. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #26, the villain meant to start a war by launching missiles laden with deadly anthrax—with Falc tied to one—but Cap and Fury swooped in and saved the day in CAPTAIN AMERICA #27.
Cap raced off to the far-off Savage Land in CAPTAIN AMERICA #28 and met Ka-Zar and Shanna the She-Devil’s son Matthew as a mystery enemy plotted his schemes. As revealed in CAPTAIN AMERICA #29, those plans involved mutating denizens of the Savage Land. Meanwhile A.I.M. planned to resurrect a man long thought dead. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #30 Cap’s foe stood revealed as Count Nefaria, former opponent of the Avengers, and the hero moved in to rescue Ka-Zar and Shanna in CAPTAIN AMERICA #31, as well as come to an understanding with his old flame Sharon Carter, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Agent 13.
After a flashback to a World War II adventure with Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos in CAPTAIN AMERICA #32, Steve Rogers learned of A.I.M.’s resurrected agent, now called Protocide, in CAPTAIN AMERICA #33. The powerful, insane Protocide went after the USAgent first, impaling the former Captain America on his own shield in CAPTAIN AMERICA #34. Cap discovered that his new foe once stood in line to become the first super-soldier, but a faulty serum put him into the deep freeze. Both tried to nab the so-called Omega Compound in CAPTAIN AMERICA #35, with Protocide coming out on top after savagely beating Cap.
Rogers licked his wounds and helped stem the tide of an alien invasion in CAPTAIN AMERICA #36, then actually teamed with Protocide in CAPTAIN AMERICA #38 against the long reach of HYDRA. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #39, A.I.M. managed to manipulate Protocide against Cap once again, but in the end the man seemed to sacrifice his own life to save our hero from a fiery death. At that same time, Cap couldn’t believe his eyes when A.I.M.’s leader unmasked as David Ferrari, the brother of Steve Rogers’ girlfriend, Connie. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #40, Cap wrestled with the thorny problem of a woman who loved him as Steve, but hated him as the Sentinel of Liberty.
Cap went on a quest to ferret out Batroc the Leaper in CAPTAIN AMERICA #41, with a little help from S.H.I.E.L.D., but ended up flying to exotic Khamistan in CAPTAIN AMERICA #42 to discover a brainwashed Nick Fury and find himself captured by David Ferrari. Tied to a nuclear missile in CAPTAIN AMERICA #43, our hero’s rescue came at the hands of Fury, but hell hath no fury like Connie Ferrari scorned. What to do for Cap? Reveal his secret identity to her, of course. Did Connie appreciate the gesture? Apparently not, for in CAPTAIN AMERICA #44, she broke it off with Steve and left him high and dry.
Steve found little time to reflect on his personal loss, for the Red Skull rose again in Louisiana in CAPTAIN AMERICA #45, fomenting hate and anger in the South. Cap helped S.H.I.E.L.D. find their missing helicarrier in CAPTAIN AMERICA #46, downed in the Gulf of Mexico and accessible with the help of Namor the Sub-Mariner in CAPTAIN AMERICA #47. At that same time, the Red Skull captured Nick Fury and revealed his new partner, the Hate-Monger, now an entity created by the Cosmic Cube and the Nazi’s own tangible hate.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #48
Cap and Fury won, as shown in CAPTAIN AMERICA #48, and managed to make it on time to a long-delayed memorial service for Bucky Barnes, the hero’s partner from his early days in World War II.