Since World War II, Captain America, also known as Steve Rogers, has been a living legend in both the Marvel Universe and the hearts of many comic books fans the world over. He has instilled a sense of patriotism and diligence for doing the right thing. Over the past few months, that sense of duty was put into question with the events of Marvel Comics' Civil War series. Now, with the events of Civil War ended and Cap's side losing, the speculations of many fans finally come to a gut-wrenching realization. Captain America is dead and with him, the years of instilling patriotism and important freedom he fought for.
Cap's journey into becoming a comic icon began in the 1940s, as an architect who wanted to serve his country against the evil of the world at the time, Adolf Hitler. In fact, several of Cap's early issues took a lighthearted approach to what Cap was and how he attacked several German encampments. Alas, as the war neared its end, so did the necessity of Cap. On his last mission, along with his sidekick Bucky Barnes, Steve watched as his friend was slain and then, through an intense sense of patriotism, made the ultimate sacrifice to prevent the Red Skull from firing a devastating missile at America. After that, Cap was forgotten until the 1960's.
During his hiatus, Marvel went through a restructuring and gave birth to noteworthy characters such as Spider-man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, and the Avengers. It would be the Avengers that brought Captain America back to spotlight of the comic industry. Found in a block of ice, Steve Rogers returned a man misplaced in time, but this did not stop the compelling stories of his never-ending quest to preserve the freedom he fought so diligently to protect.
Over 40 years of serving this dream, we have watched the character grow from the playful soldier of the World War II era, to the hardcore defender of freedom he is. This point was driven home with the mini-series Civil War. After a devastating accident with countless casualties, the American government passed a law demanding superheroes reveal their identities to the government and become licensed agents of the government. It was never a point in Steve's mind that registration should not be done, nor was it that superheroes should not be held accountable for the destruction caused. Quite the contrary, in the title Young Avengers, Steve was vehemently opposed to kids in the book becoming heroes without training. The right of freedom of choice was being stripped before his eyes and he knew that it would only be a matter of time before the government was telling them who the bad guys were and were not. He believed in the opposition of the bill so much that he took a stand, with a small group of others, thus resulting in the heroes of the Marvel Universe fighting against one another.
The war was long and took its toll on Steve as he grew engulfed in the war itself. Some would say that he lost sight of what he was fighting for and, through this loss of vision, caused him to throw down his shield and surrender. Even in the end, he refused to allow the mantle of Captain America to be disgraced and turned himself in as Steve Rogers, not Captain America. And the war was over as quickly as it started. Steve Rogers would be tried for treason and, if found guilty, would be executed. At least that is what was supposed to happen.
In Captain America #25, Steve is on his way, from his cell that he had resided in for weeks, to court. The issue opens with a recollection of his role in the events of World War II, and the issue delves deeper into the relationships Steve has had over the past years with his supporting cast. In fact, his supporting cast is in the crowd ready to execute a plan derived from Nick Fury, former commander of S.H.I.E.L.D., to set Steve Rogers free. The next thing to happen is what has set the comic community on its ear. A sniper, later revealed as Crossbones, a thug of the Red Skull, aims at one of the guards escorting Steve. Cap knocks the guard out of the way thus being shot three times and falling to the ground. The horror is relayed perfectly as he falls reminiscent to the American Flag.
The main message of the Marvel Universe has always been that no matter how bad things get, people will always believe in Captain America. Now, with the legend fallen, how will the Marvel Universe deal with their one hero they all could depend on, gone? Marvel has revealed that the events of Captain America #25 will be felt further in coming issues. This Wednesday, Civil War: Confessions will deal directly with the aftermath of #25. It has been revealed that the issue will deal with different heroes coming to terms with, not only Steve Rogers' death, but the end of the war as well. Most notably, Iron Man, also known as Tony Stark, whom, as far as some fans are concerned, has a long way to go before obtaining the title of hero again, will be spotlighted in the issue.
Equally important repercussions of Cap's death will be dealt with in a limited series of one shots called Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America. Each issue will deal with the five stages of grief- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Each issue will highlight one character or group of characters from the Marvel Universe. Denial will focus on Wolverine, Anger on the New Avengers, Bargaining on Captain America, Depression on Spider-man, and Acceptance will be Iron Man. So be sure to check these out for the full story of the fallen icon and see how this vital character and his death will shape the futures of so many heroes.
Captain American died in a way that was handled so beautifully, that the tension and anger fans felt over the end of Civil War could be forgiven. Everyone held their tongues for a moment of silence for the memorable hero. A legend has fallen defending freedom and now is the time for healing. Rest in peace Steve Rogers, you have earned it.
CCC Freelance Writer