Warning: SPOILERS for War of The Realms Strikeforce: Land of Giants
Captain America has fought many enemies over his career, but it's the punch delivered straight to Adolf Hitler's face that is remembered above all others. And now, Steve Rogers has explained his iconic bout of violence in the best way possible.
For those who don't know, the iconic artwork on the cover of Captain America Comics #1 (1941) became famous even in its own day, putting Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in the crosshairs of Nazi sympathizers in the United States. Showing a new superhero wearing the stars and stripes, knocking Hitler across the mouth sent a message that still echoes to this day. But if the moment seems a little 'brutal' compared to the softer, more peaceful Captain America of modern Marvel comics... he just explained his violent outburst.
The subtle moment of fan service arrives in the pages of War of The Realms Strikeforce: The Land of Giants. As Earth's heroes split up to face multiple threats--Captain Marvel's War Avengers on one front, Ant-Man's giant Avengers on another--it falls to Captain America to find Thor. But to do it, he'll need to head into Jotunheim, land of the Frost Giants. Leading the strongest fighters in search of their friend, the heroes discover an armless Thor in a bloody Berserker Rage. Which inspires them to share their own experience with the battle madness...
Fans don't need to be told that Wolverine has lost himself to bloodlust, since it's one of the main reasons he's so beloved. And Luke Cage is allowed to let his mind be overtaken by his might once or twice. But it's Captain America who recalls his closest encounter with 'Berserker Rage,' which led to the now iconic punch planted square in Hitler's face. Fans are free to wonder whether Tom Taylor and Jorge Molina are framing that punch as uncharacteristic of Cap, or speaking to how much he really wanted to punch Hitler when he finally got the chance (and allowed himself to indulge in the satisfaction). We're going with the latter.
Since the moment was actually only on the cover of Cap's debut--he spent most of his time fighting his villain Red Skull, as opposed to Hitler himself--this admission from Cap can be appreciated for making the scene canon (as other writers have done in the past). It also shows how Steve's wholesome nature has become known to comic and movie fans alike, since the line would feel pitch perfect coming out of Chris Evans's mouth (even though his version of Cap never met Hitler, either).
Oh, and don't worry about the god of thunder. Thor has upgraded his arm to a whole new level, raising the stakes and spectacle in the War of The Realms event. But this moment of Steve Rogers nostalgia will be hard to top.
War of The Realms Strikeforce: The Land of Giants is available now at your local comic book store, and direct from Marvel Comics.