Captain America is one of Marvel's pillars of decency. The shield-wielding super soldier embodies what it means to be a role model, to stand up against tyranny, and to do so while sticking to his moral code-- he was after all, created as a political response to the horrors of WWII. Even in modern iterations, he's maintained a persona as the world's strongest (and most capable) Boy Scout.
That being said, Cap doesn't hesitate to get his hands dirty when the situation calls for it. For all his upstanding adventures, there have been times when the man born Steve Rogers needed to take a life and done so without hesitation- including people (fictional or not) on the right side of the law. We've assembled the most notable of these kills, and the corresponding comic universe in which they happened.
Here are 15 People That Captain America Has Killed.
15 Red Ghost (Earth-616)
Mostly known for his battles with the Fantastic Four, the Red Ghost (born Ivan Kragoff) was a Russian scientist who studied the relationship between cosmic rays and the human body. He longed to recreate the conditions that gave the Fantastic Four their powers, and in the process, gave himself the ability to become intangible at will, while his gorilla test subjects also received powers of varying forms (strength, magnetism, shape-shifting).
Red Ghost came to a particularly brutal end in Captain America: Steve Rogers #4 (2016). While working on something called "Project Onicef," Ghost was intruded upon by a Cap who's been brainwashed into becoming an agent of Hydra. The Russian scientist attempted to use his super apes as protection, but Cap offed them and Red Ghost in record time. He also severed Ghost's arm and leg beforehand, proving that when Captain America goes full Nazi, it's not a pretty sight.
14 The Avengers (Earth-1298)
Earth-1298, also known as the Mutant X-verse, is where Havok swapped psyches with an alternate version of himself, and landed in a different reality. Here, the Marvel heroes we know and love are twisted to reflect a cynical, psychotic take that debuted in 1998's Mutant X #1. This Captain America is an unnamed mutant who assumes the identity after Steve Rogers is killed in a sentinel attack, and joins up with a rogue mutant team called the Six.
The Six attempt to cross over to the Canadian border, but they find opposition in the form of the Avengers and after engaging in a lengthy battle, are defeated. The only member left standing is an enraged Captain America, who, in Mutant X #31 (2001), grows to freakish levels of strength and proceeds to murder the remaining members of the Avengers team-- including Deathlok, Typhoid Mary, and a blinded Hawkeye. Insert eyesight pun here.
13 Vampire Nerd Hulk (Earth-1610)
Nerd Hulk was the creation of Tony Stark’s older brother Gregory. He took Bruce Banner’s stem cells, isolating both the Hulk’s brute strength and Banner’s cunning intellect, and made what was thought to be the perfect fighting machine. This turned out to be a detriment, however, as the rage that made the Hulk such a threat was compromised by Banner’s empathy, and subsequently made him easier to defeat (i.e. Ultimate Comics Avengers #4).
Things went downhill for Nerd Hulk after that, as he was beaten by the Red Skull, rejected from joining the Ultimates, and turned into a vampire during an outbreak in New York City. He eventually became the leader of the vampire cult, but this only drew the attention of the Avengers, who were forced to overthrow their former ally. Captain America wound up delivering the final blow-- a decapitation via Perun’s hammer, while Nerd Hulk burned alive from the sunlight (Ultimate Avengers #6). Poor guy never had a chance.
12 Nathan Summers (Earth-93074)
Nathan Summers, the child of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, led a troubled existence. On Earth-93074, he lived in the Savage Land with his parents until Apocalypse began searching for them. Scott and Jean then gave the child over to Sauron, who raised him to eventually join up with Wolverine and the Defenders. Nathan shared Jean’s propensity for telekinesis and telepathy, and his parent’s death weighed heavily on him, as he constantly looked to get back at Apocalypse out of vengeance.
The Defenders eventually attacked Apocalypse’s fortress, though in a twisted turn of events, were sent to the Dark Dimension to battle Dormammu. Nathan then goes rogue, stealing the Eye of Agamoto, killing Apocalypse, and trying to open a portal into the past so that he could change his painful history. Captain America stops the process by using Thor’s hammer to fire a shot of lightning through him, but the damage goes on to affect alternate universes down the line. Not his cleanest or most concise kill, by any means.
11 Baron Zemo (Earth-58163)
Earth-58163 offers a politically corrupt look at superheroes in society. Here, Magneto is appointed as the leader of the world’s mutants, and laws are made to prohibit the experimentation on mutant stem cells, embryos, and so forth. As a result, the world becomes a divided, xenophobic society, where Magneto is a political tyrant and humans are looked upon as the inferior race-- with the exception of Spider-Man and Captain America.
In this universe, Cap is an old man who returned from WWII, married Peggy Carter, and served time as an Air Force pilot. Captain America Vol. 5 #10 (2005) intercuts between his time during the war and his current day struggle under Magneto’s corrupt society. In the latter segments, we see Cap and Bucky fighting Baron Heinrich Zemo, and defusing a drone aircraft that was intended to kill them. Instead, Cap reroutes the aircraft coordinates, and diverts it to Zemo’s fortress, where he is killed on impact. There are additional appearances from Red Skull and Master Man in the issue, but we concede that Baron Zemo’s death is the coldest.
10 Black Widow (Earth-1298)
Black Widow’s relationship with Captain America has always been a complex one. At various times over the years, they have been enemies, lovers, and friends, all with an ambiguity that readers were left to fill in their own minds. It's a bond so prominent it has even made its way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially in the films Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016).
In Earth-1298, Widow, born Natalia Romanova, is part of the Avengers team that faces off against a psychotic Captain America. Its confirmed in an earlier issue that this Widow did in fact had a romantic past with Steve Rogers, only to be faced with a man who has assumed his identity and used it to harness obscene amounts of power. Widow, along with Iron Giant Man and Hawkeye, are ruthlessly murdered as a result. Their death is avenged only by Havok, who goes off the deep end and kills Captain America soon after.
9 Machinesmith (Earth-616)
Machinesmith, born Samuel Saxon, came into the supervillain business via Doctor Doom. As a child he discovered one of Doom’s robots abandoned in a subway tunnel, and spent months taking it apart, analyzing it, and mastering it until he could create his own robots from scratch. As an adult, he tried his hand at crime through the guise of Mister Fear, though a deadly encounter with Daredevil left him, well… dead. Fortunately for him, Saxon’s consciousness was downloaded into his robots, who preserved his existence and allowed him to continue illegal activity under a new alias: Machinesmith.
Then, he bumped into Captain America. The tech whiz attempted to get the best of him by draining his strength in Steve Rogers: Super Soldier Vol. 1 #2 (2010), but due to Cap’s maneuvering abilities, was able to avoid certain death and regain his power. Machinesmith didn’t last long after that, as Captain America joined forces with Beast to block off all wireless signals and prevent Saxon from transferring his consciousness to another body.
8 Beast (Earth-2149)
Largely similar to Earth-616, Earth-2149 added one key event to the Marvel canon: a zombie apocalypse. Brought about by the infection of superhero Sentry, the zombie contagion first spread to all surviving Avengers, who decimated New York City in savage, cannibalistic fashion. Other teams got in on the chaos as well, as Beast (aka Hank McCoy) and Mr. Fantastic traveled to Xavier Institute, where they reprogrammed Cerebro to search for more uninfected humans to eat.
Marvel Zombies #3 (2006) is a particularly gruesome issue in the five-part miniseries. It opens with the Silver Surfer fending off the zombified superheroes, only to get his head bitten off by the Hulk and his remaining body gobbled down by the likes of Ant-Man, Wolverine, and Luke Cage. Beast attempts to condemn their collective greed, claiming they should share the uninfected remains, but instead gets incinerated by Captain America on the spot. All are shocked, and the Captain (credited here as Colonel), shrugs it off. Not exactly the role model we’re used to seeing.
7 Baron Blood (Earth-3931)
Those craving more combinations of horror and superhero lore, look no further. Earth-3931 is a universe where the Avengers have all become vampires, and missions mainly consist of sucking blood and stealing ancient totems. That’s at least what happens in Exiles #31 (2003), as Baron Blood battles Captain America and comes out on top, turning him, and the rest of the team into undead bloodsuckers. Not one to be outdone for long, however, Cap turns the tables on Baron Blood and murders him, becoming the Vampire King. Even in blood-sucking form, Cap ascends to being team leader.
The aftermath of these events find the Avengers and the Exiles throwing down in battle. Hawkeye bites Sunfire before he gets staked through the heart, as does Polaris, and Mimic cuts Captain America’s head clean off with his claws. Unfortunately for the Exiles, he gets up, reattaches his head, and proves that killing Captain America isn’t nearly as easy as getting killed by him.
6 Red Skull (Earth-9997)
Captain America’s archenemy has always been the Red Skull. He is the antithesis to everything that Cap stands for, both in stature and in ideology. In Earth-9997, this symbiotic relationship is taken a step further when Cap is captured by the Nazis and told that he was purposely chosen to be the one who received the super soldier serum. Steve Rogers’ blonde hair and blue eyes made him the perfect symbol for Hitler’s Aryan race of perfection, and Skull responded to this plan by releasing Cap, referring to him as Hitler’s “one true son,” and killing anyone he felt to be unworthy or impure of his presence.
This ideological struggle reached a breaking point in the Earth X series, as Skull tracked down and murdered Cap’s former girlfriend Bernie Rosenthal. He deemed Rosenthal to be a bother to the hero’s Nazi destiny, and the resulting fight unlocks a ferocity that causes Cap to decapitate the Red Skull with his shield. Captain America immediately realizes the error of acting out of vengeance, and steps down as leader of the Avengers.
5 Ali Baba (Earth-616)
Ali Baba was a Nazi agent during WWII, and he ran several operations in Turkey and the Middle East. He did so in relative comfort, until a chance run in with an American soldier drew the attention of Captain America and Bucky, who traveled overseas to investigate. While there, they learned that Ali Baba planned to attack the American military base and use its radios to cause a false panic in the city. Given that no one messes with the U.S.A. on Cap’s watch, he followed Ali Baba to his hideout and planned his attack.
As it turns out, that attack included getting caught, jeopardizing Turkish citizens, and tracking Baba and his smugglers to a narrow cavern. Did he take the high road and take the man into custody? Not even close. Captain America and Bucky decided to start an avalanche in the cavern, and the resulting fallout caused Baba’s smuggled explosives to go off and kill him instantly. The whole thing plays out in Captain America Comics #32 (1943), making it one of Cap’s earliest-- and most straightforward-- killings.
4 Mystique (Earth-11326)
More anti-mutant sentiment on Earth-11326, this time in the form of violent protests. Magneto ally Mystique attempted to live a quiet life nevertheless, with her wife Irene Adler and their adoptive daughter Ann-Marie, before she was arrested for testing X-Gene positive. She was then paraded as a posterchild for the lowly mutantkind in X-Men: Legacy #245 ((2011). She eventually escaped custody but was unable to unite with her family, and took solace in Magneto’s makeshift home for mutant refugees: Fortress X.
This tragic account reached a climax in Age of X Universe #2 (2011), where Fortress X was invaded by the Avengers under government orders. Mystique (born Raven Darkholme) ends up defending the mutant children with her life, as she is tragically taken down by Captain America. It is in the purity of this sacrifice, however, that Cap realizes the error of his ways, and orders the rest of the Avengers to go rogue and defend Fortress X against the powers that be.
3 Norman Osborn (Earth-10021)
In case you haven’t noticed, Captain America’s choice murder weapon is his shield, and he uses it yet again on Norman Osborn in the two-part comic What If? Secret Invasion (2009). Here, on Earth-10021, humans failed to defeat the Skrulls from invading, and now live in a state of tentative co-existence. Humans are being converted into Skrulls, and those that oppose this peace, namely the Avengers Alliance for Freedom, are labeled terrorists by the government.
Once the Alliance hijacks a TV station to proclaim that Earth is really under occupation, tech whiz Norman Osborn is ordered to crush their efforts and invade Wakanda, where Cap, Black Panther, and the rest of the outlaws are hiding. After a wildly convoluted plot plays out that has Osborn pretending to be Iron Man (!), he reveals that he is the one who masterminded the whole threat, and Captain America is so enraged by the news that he puts that shield of his to good use.
2 Harry S. Truman (Earth-616)
Yes, that Harry S. Truman. The 33rd President has a surprisingly rich history with Captain America, dating back to when he authorized William Nasland to take over the shield as The Spirit of ‘76. He also gave the green light to Fred Davis, who impersonated Bucky Barnes when he was thought to be dead in Marvel Premiere #30 (1976). But the weirdest, and most detrimental of Truman’s trifles with Cap came in Deadpool Vol. 3 #1 (2012), when rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Necromancer began literally resurrecting dead presidents.
Truman joins the likes of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and many other commander-in-chief zombies who lay waste to everything in their path. The Avengers commission Deadpool to take them out, and the resulting issue is a typically zany adventure for the Merc with a Mouth and his unique murdering skills. Captain America’s appearance is brief, but by taking out Truman in one fell swoop, it's definitely a memorable one. It doesn’t get more patriotic than that.
1 Iron Man (Earth-11326)
On Earth-11326, Iron Man aka Tony Stark was infected with a virus that slowly fused his body to his suit. Unable to separate himself, he was becoming more and more dominated by his machinery, to the point where he could no longer control his actions. The witty billionaire even made light of his debilitation, calling himself the “Steel Corpse” in Age of X Universe #1 (2011).
This issue became more evident as time went on. In Age of X Universe #3, the Avengers were ordered to raid Fortress X, only to call things off when they realized they were in the wrong. Stark, however, involuntarily began trying to kill mutant children despite his desire to not do so. Realizing the only thing he could do, Stark told Captain America to protect the children and to kill him so that the suit would keep from attacking. Tragically, Cap followed Stark’s request, and killed him with a single shot to the back of the head.