Ultimate Marvel Handbook #200

Welcome to the Marvel Handbook. I‘m Jim Trabold. Today I‘m hoping to do a special Captain America issue. I‘m going to not do that many long speeches or anything but we‘re going to do a have a respectful tribute to a Fallen Hero. Daron care to have any words?

Yeah. First, sorry about the lack of the column last week. I was sick as a dog all last week, and couldn’t bring myself to sit in front of the computer for a very long period. Secondly, I planned on having this bad boy up this weekend, but my internet was up and down all weekend??? Anyway, sorry about all that. We’re here now, I hope you enjoy the all Cap issue of the column.

I know you don‘t think he‘s dead. I‘m hoping he‘s not dead. I mean I love Cap. He‘s my second favorite Marvel hero of all time. When I read the issue I did almost cry at the end. It was a very good issue. I don‘t think enough read it just heard about it. I suggest anyone who can go get it.

Wuss! And no, he’s not dead!

Alright sorry let‘s do this.

I’d be sorry too…

Daron himself added this

Cap’s “Demise.”

Jeff called me the other day to talk about the “apparent” death of Cap. I told him right then and there that I knew Cap wasn’t dead, and that it was probably some ploy to get him to go into hiding so he could either return as a new hero…Ronin possibly? Or to return as Cap at a later date.

Jeff agreed, and added to the theory of who actually died. Let me just say this. Cap is dead, but it’s not the Cap you’re thinking of. Jeff and I are both pretty sure that the recently returned from the dead Captain Marvel most likely took Captain America’s place (knowing that he was supposed to be dead anyway). Which would allow the real Cap. A. to go into hiding and return as I described above.

What do you all think about that?

Hmmm complication is Captain America and Captain Marvel are somewhat different looking. I know they both blonde hair but their faces aren‘t exactly the same. I think if it‘s not Cap (which for some reason I believe it might be more now) it was an LMD. That‘s right a life model decoy. They can pull that off easy

The LMD is a definite possibility, and that probably is the easier answer. My response to the Captain Marvel thing is this…

Knowing how powerful Genis was at the end of his story, I’m thinking his dad is probably just as powerful and could easily alter his DNA and appearance to be identical to that of Steve Rogers.

That’s my thought anyway…

Shay emails

Hey guy’s

Hey Shay

Just throwing in my two cents worth, As I haven’t read the issue yet I hope that Marvel take this opportunity and leave Cap dead. I know this is strange as I have only got back into reading his mag since the Winter soldier started, before that I only read Cap infrequently but I think this is Marvel’s chance to create an Icon in the mold of Che Guevara. I thought this was the track they should have taken with Magneto

Well I can say Brubaker is one of the better writers of Cap. I think since he took over the book and brought in Winter Soldier more and more fans have picked up this series. I think he‘s got a lot in store for this series now with Steve gone even. I think he might be gone for at least 5 months. I‘m hoping for longer. Not forever of course but a long time

when he was killed off over in X-men, but steve rogers could be used as an inspirational ideal for heroes to follow ( imagine bracelets with what would Cap do? on them)

I‘d love Marvel to do a lot with this one. A big funeral issue of Cap or something with all the heroes and some old timers there. You know like a double sized special. I think Marvel has a perfect way of using this. Now just keep him gone long enough. I know I‘m not happy Cap is dead but I say keep him dead at least 1 year

As much as I don’t want to see Steve dead, I’d like to see both Marvel and DC start leaving their “dead” characters dead. It’s obvious most people don’t really care too much about death in comics since we all know everyone comes back. I’d love to see them start taking death seriously. (Anyone else find the irony in that statement?)

Imagine the pressure his successor as Captain America would be under? Imagine the amount of Groups that would try and stake a claim to the title Captain America?

I can see it now.

So far we know Iron Man is looking for a new Cap. It‘s part of the story in Fallen Son. He‘s going to find the next Cap.

Punisher is going to try to claim the mask.

Winter Soldier could very well try to take up the mantle

So I can see a few people try and replace Cap.

I think it could lead to some great stories and If they leave Steve Rogers dead ( which they won’t) it could make the marvel universe a much more uncertain place if No-one is safe.

They might for a time but he‘ll be back. Almost everyone comes back

Adam emails

Hi Jim ,

Hey Adam

Great column this week.

Thanks Adam

On Cap’s ‘death’. I’m really with Daron on this one. I like Cap, sure he’s not my favorite super hero ever but he has a place in the Marvel U and I do enjoy Brubaker’s current run. That said his death is as meaningless as a dozen other comic characters in recent years. We know he’ll be back, and whilst his absence for the moment creates possibilities it’s about as fun for fans as a Spider Divorce.

Quite true. With as many heroes die and come back I can agree that it’s mostly got the fans up in arms or just questioning things. As we know Brubaker would not do this without plans for how to bring him back too.

What really upsets me the most is the seeming need for shock factor writing these days. I miss the times when great comic stories were crafted without death, babies, divorce, etc, etc. Why did Civil War need to end/Initiative begin with a death? Does every big Marvel event need deaths now? Does every big Marvel event have to result in ‘long term implications’? I can see it now, World War Hulk and everyone wants a death already…

No one really died in House of M. Heck Hawkeye came back. Not all the events really have ended in death either. Spider-Man the Other necessarily didn’t end with death. Lasting ramifications is a good thing to. It’s a good thing for change and all around good story telling. Without change things get boring and dull.

And no, I don’t believe he’s dead for a second. Ronin or not he’ll be back. Oh and if Ronin kills Strange I want to be the first to complain about another needless death, and the first to suggest Baron Mordo has ninja magic now and has become Ronin!

I don‘t think that sword in Strange‘s chest can kill him personally. We‘re talking the likely most powerful Earth hero known. (note Earth hero) because his magic is unpredictable.

…you can place Dr. Strange in peril but it never really seems like much because at any moment he can cast a spell of crimson bands or what have you and he’s out. There are no rules to his universe and from a storytelling perspective that’s problematic. When you look at imaginary situations, worlds like the world of Toy Story or even Roger Rabbit have rules of their universe clearly defined. Heck in Roger Rabbit it’s very clear how to kill a ‘toon, so the viewer gets the feeling that the characters can be placed in peril and have their backs placed against the wall. This is exactly what I’m looking for in regards to our magic characters. Rules that govern them. How do you kill Doctor Strange? How do you hurt him?

The short version of my answer to why Marvel has to have these “big events” is that it seems like everything they’ve done since House of M has been a reaction to what DC has been doing with Crisis and so on. The sad thing is, DC’s “events” were planed out and well done, while Marvel’s have definitely felt like they have been just throwing something together to compete…

Back in Black. I am a huge Spidey fan, and like many he is my favourite comic character ever. Now as cool as the black costume always was it makes zero sense to me for him to be wearing it. I mean the reason he gave it up in the first place was MJ didn’t want to see it anymore after Venom terrorized her. The last freakin’ time he put it on Ann Weying threw herself from a window because of the Venom association. Does Aunt May’s ‘life in the balance’ really throw this out the window? This is just another stupid Marvel idea and hacks me off. If Spidey wants to go all broody and dark I’m cool with that but I’d rather see something new. I know the Iron Spider outfit irritated some fans but I kinda liked it, the change is always fun. Why not just have a new black style costume. There was one awesome design kicking about from the Ben Reily run (can’t find it now) that would have been perfect.

And no, the movie tie in isn’t enough for me. 😉

I think it might be a combination. Spider-Man has an injured Aunt May and now Cap is dead. He‘s got to be in a bad brooding mood a bit over this. Now of course we all know the true reasoning for this: Spider-Man 3. Yep movies seem to do it all the time to comics. Change things up a bit to get the people who watch the films to buy the comics. Sandman is in the book for the same reasoning.

Sorry to spend this one moaning. Keep up the great work!

Hey it‘s all good. You know why? That‘s why we‘re here. Opinions and questions.

Indeed. Feel free to write in and rant anytime!

Joe emails

Obviously everybody is talking about the Death of Cap and the identity
of Ronin. Well he’s not dead and he is Ronin. Why? Because nobody stays
dead in comics, Cap is more popular now than ever, they have a movie slated, in a Bendis book they stated Cap isnt dead and Ronin is in a Bendis book. And thats the sort of crap Bendis pulls because he has a firm hold on Marvel’s cream stick. And in universe it makes sense, Cap feels he is a masterless samurai since he no longer feels the support of his country and drops the mantle, runs with the apparent death angle and joins with the team of Avengers that he formed who oppose the registration. And guys like Wolverine who’s powers would be able to deduce it won’t because Bendis is a crap writer who forgets peoples powers or ignores them. Sort of like when he met the team he didn’t recognize their scents even though he knew them all previously so he popped his claws on SpiderWoman who was his friend and supporting character in his book for a long time.

Actually let‘s take this from Civil War Initiative to this weeks books. More revelations:

Civil War Initiative # 1: Iron Man flys over New York while gathering information. He watched a feed on the Collective who meets Reed and Sasquatch. Sasquatch shoes him how he killed Alpha Flight and throws him a uniform to join Omega Flight. Elsewhere: Hurricane II is running from the Thunderbolts who use their combined abilities to take him down and captive. Later: Iron Man meets with Ms Marvel who tells him about her talking to Spider-Woman who at the time fought Grey Gargoyle. During the conversation Ms Marvel tells her Cap is alive in SHIELD custody. Iron Man didn’t approve of this move. Afterwards Tony goes home and speaks to Jarvis as they talk of starting another Avengers group.

New Avengers #28: The New Avengers just escaped the Hand and discuss where to go next. Spider-Woman takes them to Samurai’s place where him and Wolverine start to argue. We go to a flash back with Cage getting milk and stopped a crook before a cop shows up. He shoots Cage getting no where with that he calls SHIELD who have the place surrounded. Cage escapes on one of their vehicles though to Strange’s place. Wolvie and Cage argue as Spider-Woman arrives to reveal Cap is alive accourding to Ms Marvel and Wolvie thinks it’s a trap. Strange investigates to find Hill talking over Cap who’s strapped down. The New Avengers go and Wolvie smells Cap knowing it’s not him. The Mighty Avengers arrive with an army of SHIELD agents. Back in the present Samurai attacks Wolverine as the Hand arrive before a breaks out.

Meaning it was a trap what Ms Marvel said. Now this don’t mean Cap can’t be Ronin or alive

Sorry got off subject, think Bendis sucks.

I‘m leaving this one alone. I actually like Bendis work. I think he‘s doing a good job with all the titles he‘s handling at the moment

I have to agree, Bendis’ stock has dropped dangerously low…

Plus Cap has survived a lot worse than the shots he took, the sniper shot was in the upper shoulder near the neck which isn’t necessarily a sure kill like a clean neck shot would be. The gun shots Sharon unloaded were all in the belly which are very rarely fatal because they take a LONG time to die from. (See Resevoir Dogs for an example.) He soldier serum would combat the shots because everybody has some form of healing factor now and they got him to the hospital pretty quickly. So yeah thats my response to the Cap dying angle, ummm..thoughts?

Well I think he could‘ve survived. I mean he was bleeding bad but I know he could‘ve survived. I don‘t think he‘d die that quickly for sure. I think there‘s some stuff in store here. We‘ll find out more in Cap 26 with the autopsy for sure.

Sorry guess i didnt have a question. Here’s one, anybody notice how Civil War Frontline was far better than Civil War but was relatively under the radar?

It‘s cool with or without the question. But on your question I think Frontline was a good title. I‘m glad they are doing a series for World War Hulk. I think it was a great read and quite well plotted out.

Yeah, I was actually talking to my shop owner abut that very thing. All I have to say to that is this: That is what happens when you get a good writer instead of a shock jock…

Matt emails

Hey Jim,

I’ve been reading y’all’s great articles for the past several months, but don’t know if I’ve seen this idea spring forth. Or fifth, or sixth. With all the hype concerning Cap’s demise, it made me think of it.

You know how the major award shows do a bit honoring the players who have passed away the previous year? Have you done anything like that for comics for 2006?
Just a list of those heroes or major players who have died.

Not yet but we could. It‘s sort of why I‘m doing this to. Allowing readers to have their say on Cap‘s death

Thanks for keeping Marvel in line!

Thanks for reading

That’s what we do. Too bad Marvel doesn’t come and ask us some questions themselves 🙂

Cory emails

Cory here! A million apologies, but I got MAD sick in the middle of the week, but I’m back, so here goes everything:

Hey Cory it‘s cool. Why I said take your time. Thanks for the email

Seems I wasn’t the only one eh?

1. Cap Top 10:
1- C.A. standing up to Thanos, while the others fell
2- Cap still fighting during Avengers:Disassembled, with a dislocated shoulder
3- Cap’s defiance in Civil War #1 against Maria Hill & S.H.I.E.L.D
4- Cap saving the life of the cop from the bullet in C.A. #25
5- Steve Rogers, the skinny art student, volunteering as a test subject
6- Cap revealing his identity to the public
7- Cap vs. Batman pt.1 & pt.2
8- Cap leading the JLA and Avengers
9- The impact he left on ALL other heroes in both Universes (Spidey’s admiration, Wolverine & The Punisher’s respect, etc.)
10- Cap surrendering in C.W. #7

Very good list. Some I didn‘t mention.

2. What really PISSES me off about Cap’s death isn’t the how, but the why. All Cap wanted to do was protect the freedoms of all people and keep liberty alive. But as soon as he became too dedicated to that, the American ppl turned on him. Cap has NO POWERS, he is a human (elevated to the pinnacle of perfection), so he is the average American person. If not for him: Maybe the Nazi’s win, Red Skull’s plan’s work, or Earth is destroyed/conquered by who knows who. So I do believe the people he represented for over 80 yrs “owe him” an apology or a respectable send-off. As Marvel’s first icon, he deserves more that what he got! I hope that am not the only person who feels this way?

I totally agree with you in many ways Cory. I mean Cap went down in a fight which the public turned on him at the end of Civil War. He surrendered because of it. But did they change their respects. At that courthouse they still didn‘t fully respect Cap. He should‘ve went out even more as a hero. He took that shot as a hero in the shoulder.

3. Daron, hmmm, Cap as Ronin aint too impossible. Since he seemed a lil “lost” wielding that katana in New Avengers #27, and he is a martial arts master. Will his death also bring out Nick Fury from hiding? I do believe that Winter Soldier will take up the mantle of Cap, as America always needs a C.A., but I smell a “hidden agenda” between C.A., N.F., & W.S.

I can say whoever the official Cap is. Iron Man will appoint him for the government. That‘s not exactly great news but we know a few will battle for the mantle

I’m just going to say this, I’d be more surprised if Ronin wasn’t Cap than if he was.

4. I got my C.A. #25, but C.W.: The Confession was sold out, and details on this issue?

Civil War Confession #1: Iron Man arrives at the Hellicarrire and sits down and starts discussing why he saw Civil war coming. About how he sees SHIELD and when he fought Doom in King Arthur’s time. About the war was coming and he saw it. About telling the Illuminati and Fury handing him the files on the SHRA. How he commited to his side and winning. But he didn’t want what happened. As we see Cap’s lifeless body.

Two days before Cap arrived on Rykers and a guard speaks to him before Tony arrived. Cap ask why and Tony he begged Cap to stop. Cap say Tony can’t control his powers and Tony denies is and ask why Cap lost then. Cap says he didn’t and Iron Man threw everything away and starts giving him a speech asking if it was worth it. Iron Man calls him a sore loser in the end

5. I hear rumors of Iron Man, making or creating a new Cap, this true or just speculation? He should relax after the “Clor” clone.

I think appointing and creating are different. I think it’s not going to be a clone but someone who he finds to take up the mantle

6. (Black) Goliath, Happy Hogan, now Cap. How much guilt can Tony Stark possibly bear on his shoulders just to say he actually was “victorious”?

Well I can see it now. Tony is going to go back to drinking. There‘s a lot of pressure on him and he‘s still got a lot guilt he should be feeling with the loss of many lives in this war

7. Has anyone actually noticed the difference between the Mighty & the New Avengers? Mighty: Strength-based powerhouses (Iron Man, Wonder Man, Ms. Marvel, Sentry, and Ares. While New: Combat-based scrappers (Wolverine, Luke Cage, Ronin, Echo, Iron Fist, Spidey).

I noticed. Also if you note the New group they are more street level type characters. The likes of the type that Cap was defending for the most part with the Civil War. I know it is still most of the Secret Avengers on the group but I think you understand my point

8. Why would Ms. Marvel tell Jessica Drew that Cap is alive in SHIELD custody & why did IM disapprove of this? Hmmmmm. Nick in hiding, Hawkeye hiding, Wanda somewhere, Quicksilver someplace, Thor still “out”, Cap possibly alive also…hell sounds like a possible 3rd Avengers team could be lurking? Black Knight, Sersi, Crystal…who knows. Where’s Vision gonna end up also? Sounds logical because “Cap’s Kooky Quartet” (as they were sometimes jokingly called), are all M.I.A.

Heh. I know there‘s more then 1 Avengers team already. Mighty, New, Young (which Vision will be on) With a few other titles like Avengers Initiative and Avengers Classic (let alone Avengers Marvel Adventures) there‘s a lot of Avenging going on

A bit too much Avengering I say…

9- What was gonna be N.F.’s plan to break Cap out of prison? Since Cap & N.F. are like Marvel’s top tactician and strategy experts, I’m starting to think that this WAS the original plan. Any average person would try the full frontal assault or expect it, so why not try the ultimate unexpected? Daron, maybe you have something there.

Hmmmm this was Nick‘s plan? Let Crossbones shoot Cap? Crossbones who‘s working for Red Skull. Then Sharon under Faustus mind control to give the killing blow?

10. In She-Hulk 16, did your recap say that She-Hulk offered Wolverine ***?? Was this another She-Hulk sexual advance? boy she does get around.

Yep it was. She wanted to sleep with Wolverine. After all he is the best at what he does. For shame she is a married woman.

Thanks for the extension. Till next week, take care & thanks as always. Make mine Marvel & See ya in 7. ~Cory out.

No problem Cor. I think Daron will understand. I‘ll see you next week.

Indeed. Lates Cor.

Albert emails

Okay let’s start with Cap’s not dead. Cause it’s Marvel where even an 80 year old woman with no superpowers like Aunt May can come back from the dead. And cause he was in Shield custody and whenever Shield is involved they’re never really dead. Heck look at the supporting characters in Cap’s book for the last two years. Nick Fury died a bunch of times; including a big high profile assassination by the Punisher. And it’s an always an LMD. Sharon Carter was burned to death in front of Cap and then one day she just showed up and was like uh yea Shield needed me to go undercover in Aisa for 20 years. Bucky was blown up in 1945 and yet here he is just five years older running around alive in Cap’s book.

Aunt May might be dead soon again.

But putting that aside I’m actually interested in the arc especially with the Fallen Son stories because Cap is the defining hero of the Marvel Universe. Whenever it hits the fan and Thanos, the Beyonder, Korvac etc are about destroy all creation it’s Cap that all the other heroes ask to save the day. The Avengers include the most powerful heros Marvel has – – Thor, Iron Man, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel, Quasar, etc.- – and yet it’s Cap they turn to for guidance and inspiration. And in a universe where most of the heroes are either born with the born powers ala the X-Men or recieved them by accident ala Spidey, Hulk, FF, Daredevil etc. It’s Cap who stands alone as the one hero who volunteered to risk his life to recieve powers so he could fight injustice based on watching a newsreel of the world in jeopardy.

So with that in mind and giving the Handbook’s propensity for lists here’s a list of the top 10 defining Cap stories that i’ve read.

10 – Cap vs Flagsmasher (Cap 316, 320-322) – Flagsmasher is an interesting foil for Cap because like Cap he’s an idealist. He’s fighting for world peace. In his mind what prevents world peace is the existence of Nation-States which create artificial barriers between people. Of course he’s a villain so he leads a terrorist group (Ultimatum) in an effort to bring down all world governments. In his first appearance in 316 we see the dichotomy between the two, and get a nice Cap moment where he defends Flagsmashers right to speak his viewpoint but of course not to take the UN hostage. In the return story Ultimatum takes a plane full of civillians hostage and Cap tries to free them. He loses his shield in battle and the terrorists begin firing into the crowd killing innocent people and Cap has to fire on a single terrorist and kills him. In the next issue we see an entire issue of how Cap regrets taking a life even if it was the only way to save dozens of lives. It seems a lot of people misunderstand Cap’s willingness to kill. Yes he is a soldier who fought in World War II. But above all other heroes Cap believes life is sacred and where there’s life there’s hope. This arc puts that in perspective.

9 – Operation Galactic Storm Epilogue – (Cap 402 I believe) – Galactic Storm is one of the better crossovers Marvel did. It ran through all the Avenger related books of the time (Avengers, West Coast Avengers, Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Quasar and Wonderman) for like 18 issues as Earth is caught in the middle of a Kree – Shiar War. At the end of the story, the Supreme Intelligence betrays his own people and allows a galaxy destroying bomb to be denotated killing billions of Kree in the hopes that the radiation will mutate the surviving Kree with superpowers just as it did to many 60’s Marvel characters. Iron Man then leads a subset of Avengers to kill the Supreme Intelligence out of vengence against Cap wishes. In this Epilogue issue Cap decides to resign from the Avengers over Iron Man’s actions. Given recent story events in Civil War, there’s a interesting scene in this issue where Iron Man meets with Cap at a bar and tries to make peace with him; admitting that he admires Cap more than any man he’s ever met in his life including his own father.

8 – Thor 390 – This was after the first Cap-Iron Man blowout. Thor’s been away from Earth and returns to find both Cap and Iron Man are outlaws in the eyes of governement (due to Cap resigning from duty and Tony’s Iron Wars story arc) and have been battling each other. He’s not sure whose side to take until Set’s warriors attack them and Thor is seperated from his hammer and Cap proves to be one of the few mortals worthy to lift the hammer.

7 – Avengers vs Kang (Avengers vol 3 issue 50 and the like 8 issues or so before it) – So Kang decides to finally live up to his Conqourer name and brings a big army from the future to invade the Earth from orbit. And the Avengers fight him and they lose. And the Kang starts nuking American cities from space until the world signs documents of surrender to him and agrees to send their heroes like Wonderman and Scarlet Witch to concentration camps. But lo and behold there’s Cap. And soon he’s leading a group of like six heroes in a single ship attack on Kang’s fleet. And when Kang infuses himself with cosmic energy and becomes like 150 feet tall, Cap turns the process on himself and singlehadedly defeats Kang in one on one combat and frees the entire planet.

6 – Cap for President (Cap 250) – Fed up with dirty politics as usual an independent party nominates Cap for President and we get an entire issue of Cap pondering the offer and the good he could do in office versus the good he can do as a living symbol the whole country can rally behind regardless of political beliefs. A great introspective issue of Cap and what he beleives in.

5 – Cap’s Last Day (Cap 420) – The super soldier serum turned toxic and began slowly killing Cap for about a year and none of his Avengers science friends could find a way to reverse the process. In this issue Cap learns he has 24 hours to live and it’s all about how he spends it. Ultimately Cap choices to go to a prison and visit some of the villains he’s captured because while’s he thwarted a lot of evil; he’s never inspired any of his foes to turn their lives around and reform. This Cap is as Marvel’s ultimate optimist in seeing the good in people.

4 – Cap vs The Red Skull “final battle” (Cap 300 and again like few issues before it) – A Cap list needs a Red Skull story and this is the best one ever told. Skull is old cause he lived in World War II and is dieing. So he decides he wants to die in battle against Cap and he learns Cap’s identity and then kidnaps everyone in Cap’s life. Partners like Falcon and Nomad, his girlfriend Bernie Ross, even the little old lady he rents his apartment from. And then he kills them all in front of Cap so that Cap will kill him. Plus he poisons Cap with an aging serum so Cap will die unless he gets the antidote. Well of course Cap defeats Skull and gets the antidote but he refuses to kill him even when he thinks everyone he’s ever met has been killed by the Skull. Because while Cap will occassionally kill to save a life; he cannot be motivated to kill out of vengence. Skull then takes his own life and we learn the death of the entire supporting cast was a ruse but still a very solid Cap story and Skull actually stayed dead for 50 issues which is an enternity given Marvel’s usual lack of restraint in raising the dead.

3 – Avengers vs Nebula Queen of Everything (Avengers 318) – I may rank this story a little high because Nebula is my favorite villain ever. But it is Cap’s best story as leader of the Avengers imo. In the story arc immediatley preceding this Avengers 314-315, Nebula tricks an elderly scientist on Earth into activating a new power source and it destroys the entire universe except for one room in Avengers mansion where Sersi’s molecular powers kept it intact with only herself, Thor, Cap, Spidey and Jarvis inside. Nebula survived the process herself. They battle. The heroes win. The universe is restored. Nebula teleports away. Now the Avengers round up their best and most powerful members and go after her; but the whole first story was a big ruse. See Nebula had stolen a cosmic artifact from the Stranger that collects energy from the destruction and birth of the universe and having just engineered another such event she absorbs all that energy into herself and becomes a cosmic godlike being. Issue 318 is the big final battle and the Avengers are getting defeated; members are falling and the team is in a constant state of retreat. Even Thor begins to lose his cool at the hoplessness of the situation. And then Cap steps in with one of his while there’s life there’s hope speeches, puts together a teamwork strategy and finds a way to win.
2 – Secret Wars #12 – Really the whole Secret Wars arc is great stuff period and especially for Cap fans. It’s in the first issue of this series the heroes vote on who will lead them and Cap is the universal choice over Reed, Professor X, Wasp (who was the current Avengers leader), and others; a position he would hold among the heroes in every future cosmic crossover that Marvel has published in the 20 years since. But it’s issue 12 where Cap really stands out. Dr. Doom has defeated the Beyonder and absorbed his power and the combined heroes of the Marvel unvierse take the battle to him. Doom creates a monstrous army to stand against them and only Cap gets through to face Doom one on one. Doom admits in this issue that of all the heroes including Reed Richards there is none more capable or that he was more concerned with facing than Cap. Doom uses his cosmic powers to kill Cap over and over but because the Beyonder’s power is based on wish fullfillment, Cap’s sheer willpower to win uses the energy of the killing blasts to reconstitute his body every time until he singlehandedly takes down Doom long enough for the Beyonder to reclaim his power.

1 – Cap No More (Cap 327 to 350) – This is the defining story on whether Cap is the man Steve Rogers or if he is the costume and the shield. In Cap 327 Cap meets a new right wing hero Super Patriot (John Walker) who believes Cap’s tactics are out of date. Super Patriot is in Spidey’s level strengthwise and they fight to a draw. The next issue Cap meets D-Man; a friend of the Thing’s who recieved his powers from the same source as Super Patriot. Cap is a given a chance to enhance his powers but turns it down and in the next four issues they take down the Power Broker and learn governement authorized experiments were being performed on soldiers with the process even though it can cause unstability and drug addiction. Cap goes to Washington to confront the government about the experiments; but once there the Commission on Superhuman Activities insist Cap work for them claiming the government designed his costume and shield, and gave him his powers when he enlisted in the military back in the 1940s. After spending a day thinking about it Cap surrenders his costume and shield as government property but refuses to serve believing that having established himself as a symbol to the American people he cannot now just become another covert government agent answerable to beauracrats. The Commission then hires Super Patriot to be Captain America and even hires Taskmaster to train him to use the shield with the same skill level as Rogers. Rogers meanwhile goes underground so as not to drag the Avengers down with him but his former partners (Falcon, Nomad and DMan) find him and convinvce him to remain a hero under a new name, costume and identity. For several issues we alternate between the two Caps and their missions until one of of Walker’s foes reveals his secret identity on national tv and then an issue later a domestic terrorist group called the Watchdogs executen Walker’s parents. Walker loses his mind and goes on a violent killing spree against all he sees responsible for his parents death. This finally motivates Cap to step in and take Walker down lest he disgrace the Captain America name for all time. And in issue 350 we see Rogers forced to battle a far physically stronger man who now has all his training and skills as well as his costume and shield. It’s an epic story among the absolute very best Marvel has ever published.

And so there you have it. The defining stories of what makes Cap Marvel’s greatest hero despite physically being the least powerful of all their A-listers.

And hey just for fun a quick honorable mention to this list while it’s a not a great character moment like these others. Hulk 406 is a great story for Cap fans as Gary Frank draws the best Cap I’ve ever seen and you get to see Cap go one on one with the Hulk in hand to hand combat and do rather well for himself against Marvel’s strongest hero.

Very good email Al. I really just wanted to sit back with this one and read it. No need to comment when you made some wonderful points. I hope you email again.

I have to agree. Wonderful email, thanks for the great read!

Final words

I’d like to take my time here with this one. I really liked Cap. I think he’ll be back. I think we all know that. But with Cap he was a classic hero. He’s been one of those characters you knew where he stood. He’s had his troubles with the government more times then 1 in fact but he was Cap. Even when Steve wasn’t in the uniform he still was Cap. In my eyes he was a patriot and hero.

He’s one of those characters you can relate to at times or just all around respect. I mean Steve as Nomad was a classic story. Steve as the Captain when John Walker took over was another classic. He stood up for what was right. Just like in Civil War. I know I was on Cap’s side and neutral at the same time. I was with Cap because I know when Cap takes a side he’s normally right. Now the Marvel universe has lost a great hero. In one of the better issues. Cap 25 as you read it is very moving and pays a lot of tribute to Cap.

He’s one of the few heroes to fight in WW II. One of the first Marvel/Timely heroes even. Steve Rogers was born sometime between 1917 and 1925, and grew up a frail youth in a poor family during the Great Depression. His father died when he was a child, and his mother died later when he was in his late teens. Horrified by newsreel footage of the Nazis in Europe, Rogers was inspired to try to enlist in the Army. However, because of his frailty and sickness, he was rejected. Overhearing the boy’s earnest plea to be accepted, General Chester Phillips of the U.S. Army offered Rogers the opportunity to take part in a top secret experiment called Operation: Rebirth. Rogers agreed and was taken to a secret laboratory in Washington, D.C. where he was introduced to Dr. Abraham Erskine (code named: Prof. Reinstein), the creator to the Super-Soldier formula.

After weeks of tests, Rogers was at last administered the Super-Soldier serum. Given part of the compound intravenously and another part orally, Rogers was then bombarded by “vita-rays,” a special combination of exotic (in 1941) wavelengths of radiation designed to accelerate and stabilize the serum’s effect on his body. Steve Rogers emerged from the vita-ray chamber with a body as perfect as a body can be and still be human. A Nazi spy who observed the experiment murdered Dr. Erskine mere minutes after its conclusion. Erskine died without fully committing the Super-Soldier formula to paper, leaving Steve Rogers the sole beneficiary of his genius.

Roger was then put through an intensive physical and tactical training program,teaching him gymnastics, hand-to-hand combat and military strategy. Three months later, he was given his first assignment, to stop the Nazi agent called the Red Skull.

Then, during the final days of the war, he was trying to stop a bomb-loaded drone-plane launched by Nazi technician Baron Heinrich Zemo when the plane exploded, killing his partner Bucky; and throwing him unhurt into icy Arctic waters. The Super-Soldier formula prevented crystallization of Captain America’s bodily fluid, allowing him to enter a state of suspended animation.

As we know the Avengers discovered Rogers’ body in the North Atlantic, his costume under his soldier’s uniform and still carrying his shield. Rogers had been preserved in a block of ice since 1945, which melted after the block was thrown back into the ocean by an enraged Sub-Mariner. When Rogers revived, he related his last, failed mission in the closing days of the war. Rogers accepted membership in the Avengers, and although he soon adjusted to modern times well enough to eventually assume leadership of the team, he was plagued by guilt for not being able to prevent Bucky’s death.

The rest is comic book history. Cap has been with us Marvel fans for a long time. Even the replacements like William Naslund, Jeffrey Mace, Sam Wilson, John Walker, and a few others non lived up to the Cap name like Steve. I know our hero will return with glory one day but till then I salute Captain America, Steve Rogers.

Top 10 Cap moments of all time

1. Captain America Comics #1. Without this book there is no Captain America for us to enjoy. Steve Rogers

2. Cap No More: As the results of manipulation from an agent of the Red Skull, the U.S. Government Commission on Superhuman Activity exerted their influence, and attempted to make Captain America their own operative. Steve refused, and they demanded that he return the shield and uniform under their contention that the identity is government property.

3. Nomad: After Captain America and the Falcon brought down the plans of the Secret Empire, Cap discovered that the conspiracy had reached to the top of the White House, and that “a high government official” was behind the entire plot. When confronted with his crimes, the government official committed suicide. The government covered the suicide with a different scandal, replacing the retired President with an actor. Steve became disenchanted with his role as Captain America, and became Nomad, Man Without A Country.

4. Man Without A Country: Steve is soon revived by his old enemy, the Red Skull, and is surprised to find that Sharon Carter is still alive. The three of them thwart a plan of Hitler’s from beyond the grave (and the Cosmic Cube), but in co-operating with the Red Skull in assaulting a U.S. Army base, he falls unders suspicion; when plans which only he and the President know about are leaked to Moldavia, Steve is summoned to the President of the United States, who revokes his costume and citizenship, exiling him.

5. Avengers #4: Early after his own return from a period of amnesia, Namor fought the Avengers, and was defeated. Sulking and rampaging in the ice of the North Atlantic, he came upon a group of natives worshipping a figure caught in a block of ice and hurled the ice-block into the ocean, where the warm currents of the Gulf stream began to melt it.
The Avengers (who were searching for Namor after his attacks), recovered the reviving figure from inside the ice, and Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, returned.

6. Fighting Chance: Captain America noticed some increasing periods of weakness and stiffness, and goes for an examination, with startling results – the Super-Soldier formula which created him started degrading; Steve Rogers’ body started failing. While Hank Pym searches for a cure, Captain America starts making plans for his mission to survive him.

7. After the 911 terrorist tragedy he again takes up the mantle of Captain America, and reveals his identity to the world.

8. Captain America: Brubaker run: Heartbroken and despondant, Captain America continues the fight against those who would harm the innocent both here and abroad – but its a rougher, less gentle Captain America, one with no patience or forbearance with terrorist masterminds and their minions.

9. Tales of Suspense # 92: Classic Stan and Jack here. I’m lucky I’ve read this one in trade. It involved AIM trying to kill Nick Fury and Cap stopping it from happening

10. Scourge of the Underworld: Captain America #318-#320. Cap faces a man who kills villains. It was actually a story that lasted for awhile in Cap and went into other titles

Top 5 best Marvel titles of the week

1. CIVIL WAR: THE CONFESSION: From the Eisner Award winning team that brought you the start of CIVIL WAR with the NEW AVENGERS ILLUMINATI SPECIAL comes this heart-wrenching finale that cannot be missed. Two of the Marvel heroes most affected by the shocking conclusion of the war get together one last time. What is said between them will set the course of the Marvel Universe for years to come. This is the confession. Alex Maleev unveils another new fantastic art style especially for this very emotional and shocking issue.

2. MOON KNIGHT #8: “MIDNIGHT SUN: PART TWO: THE DEAD DON’T STAY”
CASUALTIES OF WAR TIE-IN!
Only three months back on the job, and they’re crawling out of the woodwork. The gangsters and hoods with old axes to grind — them you expected, but not this guy: Someone who knows you, someone who wants your undivided attention and is willing to do anything to get it. And certainly not the fugitive Captain America, who shows up at your doorstep, wanting a word. Maybe he thinks he can harness all your excess energy into something useful…something that can aid him in his grudge match with Tony Stark in the CIVIL WAR tearing through the Marvel U? Maybe this war is worth winning at any cost? And you get to thinking..

3. PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #5: The Bushwacker has taken a hostage in the heart of Times Square. With every TV camera in the world rolling, it’s New York City’s biggest nightmare, and it’s coming down live. As G.W. Bridge watches the worst day of his life uncoil in real time, a lone beat cop is the only thing that’s keeping Bushwacker in check… and when Bushwacker demands to see Frank Castle… well, that’s when things get really interesting. The ending of this issue will punch you in the face and laugh at your tears. By Matt Fraction (CASANOVA, THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST) and Young Guns Reloaded artist Ariel Olivetti (THE LAST AVENGERS STORY).

4. GHOST RIDER #9: Ghost Rider, a militant, gun-toting sheriff and a possessed-by-Lucifer Jack O’Lantern. Mix them all up, shake…and stand back. It’s bad vs. evil vs. crazy in a free-for-all that will leave the town of Sleepy Hollow forever changed–if it leaves it standing at all.

5. THUNDERBOLTS #112: After a disastrous capture mission, the Thunderbolts have troubled down-time, dealing with the split between the public projection of them as heroes and the reality of their incarceration. Meanwhile, Norman Osborn is studying a list of potential new targets, and the stress seems to be getting to him. Featuring a variant cover by Young Guns Reloaded artist Pasqual Ferry!

Civil War Synopsis

Punisher War Journal #5: We start with a man becoming a cop after 911 and flash to him now finded Bushwacker going wild in the streets. The cop tries to face him alone until GW Bridge shows up and tries to deal with the situation as well. GW talks to the SHIELD agents there as well trying to get some back up as well. SHIELD would send capekillers in 24 hours. Bushwacker demands the Punisher as we see more on the cops past. Punisher finally shows up as GW actually shoots Bushwacker himself. Punisher walks away and turns back seeing a crowd formed watching a monitor with Cap’s death

Ghost Rider #9: We start with two young men walking and then attacked by a flying fire pumkin head and leaving one of them dead. Ghost Rider arrives and chains Jack and taking him for a ride and into a truck. Ghost Rider fights Jack in the streets as Jack escapes. We see a reporter try to talk to the Sherrif on tv but not getting anywhere. Later Ghost Rider’s bike is hit by the Sherrif’s car and into a wall. Elsewhere Jack is in a grave yard raising the dead.

Civil War Confession #1: Iron Man arrives at the Hellicarrire and sits down and starts discussing why he saw Civil war coming. About how he sees SHIELD and when he fought Doom in King Arthur’s time. About the war was coming and he saw it. About telling the Illuminati and Fury handing him the files on the SHRA. How he commited to his side and winning. But he didn’t want what happened. As we see Cap’s lifeless body.

Two days before Cap arrived on Rykers and a guard speaks to him before Tony arrived. Cap ask why and Tony he begged Cap to stop. Cap say Tony can’t control his powers and Tony denies is and ask why Cap lost then. Cap says he didn’t and Iron Man threw everything away and starts giving him a speech asking if it was worth it. Iron Man calls him a sore loser in the end

Moon Knight #8: We go to the past and Marc as a soldier and assasin killing a woman. Present: Cap is at Moon Knight’s place waiting for him and they talk. Cap tells him about the war and isn’t there to recuit Moon Knight. In fact he tells him to stay out of it. Later Moon Knight sees Morgret at the latest crime scene and they talk over what’s happened. Later we see Moon Knight take out a man who was attacking a woman. Afterwards Samuels comes to see Marc the next day.

The Initiative synopsis

Groups:

California: Champions
Canada: Omega Flight (Arachne, Beta Ray Bill, Guardian, Sasquatch, Talisman, U.S.Agent)
Colorado: Thunderbolts: (Bullseye, Green Goblin, Moonstone, Songbird, Swordsman, Radioactive Man, Venom, Penance
Illinois: Spaceknights
Iowa: Force Works
New York: The Mighty Avengers (Ares, Black Widow, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Sentry, Wasp, Wonder Man)
Texas: Rangers: (Firebird, Phantom Rider, Red Wolf, Shooting Star, Texas Twister, Armadillo, Yellowjacket)
Washington: Earth Force (Earth Lord, Skyhawk, Wind Warrior)

Underground:
New Avengers (Doctor Strange, Ronin, Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Echo, Wolverine)

Civil War Confession #1: Iron Man arrives at the Hellicarrire and sits down and starts discussing why he saw Civil war coming. About how he sees SHIELD and when he fought Doom in King Arthur’s time. About the war was coming and he saw it. About telling the Illuminati and Fury handing him the files on the SHRA. How he commited to his side and winning. But he didn’t want what happened. As we see Cap’s lifeless body.

Two days before Cap arrived on Rykers and a guard speaks to him before Tony arrived. Cap ask why and Tony he begged Cap to stop. Cap say Tony can’t control his powers and Tony denies is and ask why Cap lost then. Cap says he didn’t and Iron Man threw everything away and starts giving him a speech asking if it was worth it. Iron Man calls him a sore loser in the end

Thunderbolts #112: Norman meets with the Thunderbolts about their missions, After the meeting Radioactive Man speaks with Norman about the Songbird/Moonstone leadership thing. Afterwards Norman gets news on the next missions. We see an SF NET commercial with Stan on a back up Thunderbolts team. We then see Norman speak with Scropion and Bullseye as well. We see Sepulcre wake up in a bed with a man and then think over what to do next. American Eagle also thinks about what he will do next. Elsewhere Steel Spidet takes out a bunch of crooks and Norman is informed and starts laughing insanely mentioning Spider-Man

New Avengers #28: The New Avengers just escaped the Hand and discuss where to go next. Spider-Woman takes them to Samurai’s place where him and Wolverine start to argue. We go to a flash back with Cage getting milk and stopped a crook before a cop shows up. He shoots Cage getting no where with that he calls SHIELD who have the place surrounded. Cage escapes on one of their vehicles though to Strange’s place. Wolvie and Cage argue as Spider-Woman arrives to reveal Cap is alive accourding to Ms Marvel and Wolvie thinks it’s a trap. Strange investigates to find Hill talking over Cap who’s strapped down. The New Avengers go and Wolvie smells Cap knowing it’s not him. The Mighty Avengers arrive with an army of SHIELD agents. Back in the present Samurai attacks Wolverine as the Hand arrive before a breaks out.

That’s it from here. What did you think Daron?

Good stuff. It was a nice send off for Cap (even if he’s not really dead). Sorry again for the lateness, everyone.

I think it was a great all around issue. A lot of respect for the legend Captain America. Back to normal next week but if anyone else wants to send in their respects I’d love to add it next time.

1. Digital comics Comics you can read online

2. Marvel is in the process of adding new bios and added a ton of new ones. Check them out here

3. As always your opinions on anything in the article or out on the shelves is welcome. After all you never know what type of response you will get.

4. Keep those emails coming and make sure to label them Marvel Handbook. The more emails the better the article is.

5. Personally I would love a full Cap issue next issue. Not sure we can do it but here’s the goal. I would like questions, comments and more on Cap (we can have more then just Cap and anything related to Cap) but a big Cap tribute issue of the Handbook for our 200th article.

Ummmm, Jim…I don’t even know what to say to this. Didn’t we just do the big Cap tribute for the 200th issue? Of course if everyone wants to continue talking about Cap next week that is perfectly fine.

Have a great week everyone, and see you in a few.

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