Captain America is one of the longest lasting heroes in comics. While the majority of the time Steve Rogers has inhabited the role, there have been others to step into his shoes. Not just in main Marvel continuity either, ias t appears that Captain America is a constant within the Marvel multiverse.
For the most part, each individual fights against adversity, challenges those around them to do better, and tries to lead by example. After all, if Superman is the Big Good of the DC Universe, then Captain America is the Big Good of the Marvel Universe (We’re not really counting HYDRA Cap here). These men and women who don the red, white, and blue continually try to uphold the dream of America: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For the most part, they succeed even when the world tries to keep them down.
While fans have three main Captains to debate over who is best, there are others who wonder who will pick up the shield next. There are a lot of worthy heroes in Marvel Comics, but we can’t pick all of them. Here are 10 People Who Were Captain America (And 5 Who Should Be).
15. Was Captain America: Scott Summers
Currently, in comics, Scott Summers is known as the man who killed Charles Xavier. Even his younger self loathes him. The multiverse, however, is a fascinating thing. In one universe (Earth-81122), an experiment to cure The Thing’s condition by Reed Richards causes Steve Rogers, Jean Grey, and Scott to have their powers taken away. Without the serum, Steve ages rapidly and dies. (What is it with the whole rapid aging thing?).
Scott, now without his eye beams, decides to take up the shield.
During this time, Scott leads the X-Men as Captain America where they fight against an insane Sue Storm. They also try to go back in time to kill Reed Richards, but Phoenix double-crossed them. From there, Scott and Rogue die in a fight with Sentinels.
14. Was Captain America: Peggy Carter
That’s right! Legendary Marvel badass and queen of all things fabulous, Peggy Carter will appear as Captain America.
The first version of the character as Cap appeared in Marvel’s Puzzle Quest as part of the 75th anniversary for the character of Steve Rogers.
Now she’s appearing for real in comic form to the delighted screams heard around the internet.
She’ll be appearing in the new Exiles series for Marvel. This team travels through the various alternate universes of the Marvel Comics. The series itself, penned by Black Bolt’s Saladin Ahmed, will begin in May 2018. Peggy Carter’s Cap will appear in the third issue where the Exiles help her take down Red Skull once and for all. Also, hopefully, audiences will learn how her hair and make-up is so flawless while in battle. If the answer is “because she’s Peggy Carter”, then so be it.
13. Should Be Captain America: Clint Barton
This almost happened in comics. While Tony ultimately went to Bucky to handle the shield, he also went to Clint, mainly because Clint could actually throw the shield accurately enough to rival Steve Rogers. Clint said no, ultimately, because he didn’t think he could follow in Steve’s footsteps. We think Clint is kind of selling himself short.
Sure, sometimes he is a hot mess of a human being, but in the spirit of Captain America, however, he tries to do what’s right even when it’s not easy.
Sometimes, he doesn’t even do it then (like killing Bruce Banner in Civil War II). Still even when the world pretty much hated him, he got up and tried to helped people the best he could. That’s definitely something that Steve had to go through in his tenure as Cap.
12. Was Captain America: Steven Rogers (1776)
Apparently, Steve Rogers had an ancestor with the same name as him that fought in the America Revolution and used a circular metal shield. That’s a fun information nugget. Technically, the very, very first Captain America, this Steven Rogers also wore the red, white, and blue. Captain America was a nickname and not his real rank with the US Continental Army. He was very effective in his role, dueling a man trying to warn the British Army of George Washington’s approach at a critical juncture and winning. Also like, his descendant Steve, he had a prophetic dream about him that helped him save the day too. Comics man.
Technically, this guy’s existence is in conflict to the history of Steve Rogers as fans know it.
11. Was Captain America: Danielle Cage
Please, like the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones would be anything less than an utter badass. While the actual Danielle Cage in the main Marvel continuity is a little baby, this version of Danielle comes from an alternate universe future (Earth-15061). Apparently, she has both sets of her parents’ powers along with a shield and expertise in hand to hand combat.
As she reminds people: she doesn’t throw the shield; she is the shield.
Danielle led a team of fellow Avengers into the past of Earth-616 to stop Billy Kaplan from falling under control of an evil wizard Moridun. Before that, she helped defeat Ultron, who wanted to enslave the human race. She also the Golden Skull and an army of robot pirates. Sweet. Christmas.
10. Should Be Captain America: Luke Cage
Like daughter, like father? The only name Luke Cage has been known by is Power Man. What can be said about Luke Cage? He’s a kind-hearted, loving family man with bulletproof skin and super strength. He’s led two different Avengers teams and an incarnation of the Thunderbolts. He’s a business man, a best friend, and all around solid guy. He’s not afraid to throw down though. In comics, he got Doctor Doom to pay him the two hundred dollars he owed him (and got Doom’s respect).
What would make him a good Captain? It comes down to that personality of his.
He’s a man who cannot be moved or mowed down and he’ll always try to do what is right and to help those in his community. That’s what all the Captain Americas have done: what is right (for whatever definition of the term) and what’s good for those around them.
9. Was Captain America: Isaiah Bradley
The first African-American Captain America, Isaiah Bradley was amongst a number of forcibly recruited black soldiers to recreate the super soldier serum (it was modelled after the Tuskegee Syphilis Study). Isaiah was one of a handful of survivors that (apparently) positively benefited from the serum. The government then sent this small contingent of survivors to Europe where, eventually, Isaiah remained as the sole survivor.
Stealing a shield and spare costume meant for Steve Rogers, Isaiah destroyed the Nazi’s efforts to create their own super soldiers and assassinated their lead scientist.
He is captured, brought before Hitler, and almost experimented upon him before being rescued. Then the U.S. governments threw him into Leavenworth from 1943 to 1960. It gets worse for poor Isaiah, as the serum eats at his mind, giving him severe brain damage and regressing him to a childlike state. His grandson Elijah became the superhero Patriot and joined the Young Avengers.
8. Was Captain America: William Naslund
Also known as the Spirit of ’76, he was honestly kind of a Cap rip-off to begin with. He copied Cap’s moves and also threw a discus like shield. Naslund was the first person after Steve Rogers “died” to take on the role at the request of President Truman. During his tenure as Cap, Naslund helped Namor and the Red Guardian stop a Nazi attack on the Postdam conference. He also prevented a criminal from stealing the atomic bomb.
Unfortunately, Naslund passed away in the line of duty as Captain America.
He was crushed by android Adam II while trying to warn the All-Winners Squad against an attack on JFK. Naslund was succeeded by Jeffrey Mace in the Captain America role. Mace would die from cancer at an old age, so at least that Cap had a happier end.
7. Should Be Captain America: Melinda May
Melinda May is one of the increasingly common characters that have screen origins before appearing in comics. She does, however, appear in comics, so she counts for the list. The MCU is full of amazing talented individuals. At the top of the list of ordinary but extraordinary humans is Melinda May.
During her television tenure, May has faced down rogue Inhumans, HYDRA, and aliens while triumphing with her team each time.
Captain America usually is a person that has faced adversity and triumphed each time. Each time, the various the people who filled his shoes have done the same, much like Melinda has. With each fight, Melinda does her best to help the people around her (when she’s not being replaced by a life model decoy). In the comics, she has taken down evil doctors, travelled to the Dark Dimension, and helped recover Heimdall’s sword. Being Captain America would be a piece of cake.
6. Was Captain America: William Burnside
What would this list be without an evil Captain America? Burnside was the third person after Steve Rogers to take the role. Obsessed with Steve from a young age, Burnside uncovered the identity of Captain America along with how to make the super soldier serum in Nazi files. Burnside brought these findings to the FBI after this discovery and he leveraged the serum in order to become Captain America. Dude even got surgery to look more like Steve Rogers, before he also took the serum.
Without Vita-Rays to stabilize the serum, Burnside dove headfirst into insanity. Eventually, the government placed him in suspended animation.
Burnside was actually supposed to kill Bucky Barnes during his Captain America days. He escaped, however, and became a vigilante. He was the kind of vigilante where bystanders do not matter. When Steve was revived, he tracked Burnside down and faked the man’s death. He was sent somewhere to repair his serum damaged mind.
5. Was Captain America: Samantha Wilson
Time to go to another universe! On Earth-65, best-known as Spider-Gwen’s Earth, the original Captain America was Samantha Wilson. During the 1940’s, Samantha underwent Project Rebirth when Nazi saboteurs heavily injured Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and Isaiah Bradley. Samantha disappeared while fighting Armin Zola and the country mourned her. In actuality, she was stuck in an alternate dimension where time moved differently from her own reality. When she broke free, 75 years had passed.
Technically, it looks like Sam Wilson has the distinction of appearing on the list twice.
First as the main Marvel universe Sam and now as the gender-flipped Samantha, which is pretty awesome. Also Samantha is one of the few people who doesn’t buy into the bad reputation that Spider-Gwen has in her universe. That’s nice because Gwen goes through about as much drama as Peter Parker, so she needs all the allies she can get.
4. Should Be Captain America: Carol Danvers
Carol Danvers is one of the preeminent BAMF’s of Marvel Comics. Currently, Carol Danvers answers to Captain Marvel and stands as a legend in her own right in the comics. The best encapsulation of why Carol would make an excellent Captain America comes from a speech she gave protecting the peaceful Tofra settlers from having their land taken. She said, “They are a peaceful people, but I am a woman of war. If you move against them, you move against me. I am willing to die here today, for this cause. I have made my choice… Now you make yours.”
Captain America should, in the paraphrased words of Steve Rogers, plant themselves by the river of truth when the world is against them and declare “no you move”.
In that moment, protecting those peaceful people, Carol had planted herself and would die to make sure they have a better life. She was fighting for the “dream” that Captain America should represent, according to Steve.
3. Was Captain America: Bucky Barnes
After Steve Rogers’ death following the Civil War (the first one in the comics), S.H.I.E.L.D. executive director Tony Stark approached Bucky. Apparently, Steve had asked him two things before his death, which were that he look after Bucky and that the mantle of Captain America continue.
In exchange for telepaths wiping out any triggers in his head and complete autonomy (despite the laws), Bucky agrees to don the suit and does well in the role.
In fact, during Captain America Corps, when U.S. Agent starts giving him trouble, he tries to devise a plan. Three other Captain Americas (one of which is Steve Rogers) all defer to Bucky on the matter. Bucky may have taken up the mantle and made it into his own for his friend, but the stamp of approval is nice to see all the same.
2. Was Captain America: Sam Wilson
When Marvel NOW! started in like 2012 (it was yet another relaunch), Steve Rogers was aged into an old man due to something with the serum. While putting together a new Avengers team, Steve asked his best friend and longtime partner Sam Wilson to step in and take-up the shield. Sam did and did a lot good in the role. Much like Bucky, Sam had to make the role his own, including getting involved in politics.
Steve Rogers stayed out of the political fray, but Sam was not going to put his beliefs aside while holding the shield.
With it, Sam’s Captain America was less mythologized and more genuine. It was something great to see and it is a shame that Sam stepped down in the role. Maybe Anthony Mackie would like the hold the shield?
1. Should Be Captain America: Kamala Khan
The comparisons between Kamala and Steve are very interesting. Both are children of immigrants and first-generation Americans. Both lived at a time where it wasn’t easy to be them (Muslim and Irish respectively). Both have very strong moral and ethical views. The desire to do good in the world drives both of them. Kamala Khan is an exceptional young woman who puts great joy into her work as Ms. Marvel. She tries to be someone who will help others if they asked her.
Kamala boils down her philosophy in a simple statement: “Good is not a thing you are, it’s a thing you do.”
She makes a conscious decision every day to be a force for good in the world and that’s what Captain America should be. If anyone should become Cap, then it really should be Kamala Khan.
Who do you think should become Captain America next?
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