Superhero Characters: Captain America (Steve Rogers)
Captain America is the alter ego of Steven Grant "Steve" Rogers, born on July 4th 1920 in the lower east side of Manhattan, New York City. He was born to Irish immigrants Sarah & Joseph Rogers, both of whom had died by the time he became a teenager.
By 1940 he was a scrawny student, specializing as a comic book writer and artist. He had attempted to join the Armed Forces but was classified as 4-F and rejected due to his physically frail body. he is then put forward as a test subject for the super soldier in project: Rebirth, by General Chester Philips, where he is given a serum.
The serum is a success and Rogers is endowed with strength, stamina, intelligence and ability. He poses as a clumsy infantry private at Camp Lehigh in Virginia where he forms a friendship with James Buchannan "Bucky" Barnes.
Bucky learns of Rogers secret identity as the government superhero designed to combat Red Skull as a counter-intelligence agent, and he becomes Captain Americas sidekick.
As Captain America, Rogers wears a blue costume made from a fire retardant material with a lightweight bulletproof 'duralumin' armor layer beneath. This is emblazoned with an American flag motif. He carries a vibranium-steel alloy shield which is used for both defense and as a weapon.
As a result of the serum he is in peak physical condition, he is a master of martial arts, agility and a marksman. He also has a custom motorcycle modified in the SHIELD laboratories.
The Character Captain America first appeared in 'Captain America Comics #1' (March 1941) and it was quite rare for any new character to gain a self-named title.
Even though it would be a further nine months until America entered the second world war, he was depicted on the cover of the comic fighting Adolf Hitler. Also appearing in this comic was Bucky his companion and Red Skull, his arch enemy.
Captain America soon became Marvels best selling character and this first issue sold nearly one million copies.
As pictured in the cover of the first comic , Captain America is equipped with a triangular, badge-shaped shield made from a bulletproof alloy. However after complaints by rival comic-book publisher MLJ** that the design was too similar to that of its own patriotic hero The Shield, Timely Comics replaced the triangular shield with a circular disc shaped one.
**MLJ Comics was named after its three creators first initials: Morris Coyne, Louis Silberkleit and John Goldwater....It is now known as Archie comic Publications.
Shield fight from 'Captain America' the movie
Captain America has no superhuman powers as such, however through the Super-Soldier Serum and "Vita-Ray" treatment, he has been transformed. He now possesses enhanced strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, durability and healing, all of which are at the peak of his natural human potential. Rogers' body regularly replenishes the super-soldier serum so that it does not wear off.
He has the ability to bench press 1200lbs (545kg) and run a mile in 73 seconds which equates to 49 mph. All of these enhancements were the reason why Captain America was able to survive in suspended animation for decades.
His battle experience and training make him an excellent field commander and tactician. He is a master of martial arts having blended kickboxing, judo, gymnastics and boxing into his own unique style. He is an expert in combat strategy, survival, acrobatics, military strategy, piloting, and demolitions.
He carries an almost indestructible shield of a vibranium-steel alloy construction, which through years of practice has become an offensive weapon of formidable force, not just a means of defence. He is able to aim and throw the circular disc shield with incredible accuracy, attacking several enemies in succession and ricocheting the shield off walls and obstacles in a boomerang-like return for him to catch and reuse.
Captain America's uniform is made of a fire-retardant material, and he wears a lightweight, bulletproof Duralumin scale armour beneath his uniform for added protection. Although he had his own motorcycle during the war, when he returned as an Avenger he was given a new one modified by the SHIELD weapons laboratory.
Captain America is one of the few mortal beings who has been deemed worthy enough to wield Mjolnir, aka Thor's hammer.
Upon entering the Super-soldier project, he was given a serum by the scientist Abraham Erskine (aka Dr Josef Reinstein) and this combined with the Vita-ray exposure transformed him into captain America, the enhanced super soldier.
Erskine wondered about creating an entire army of super soldiers but had refused to write down the contents of the serum in its entirety. As a result of this when Erskine was killed by the Nazi spy Heinz Kruger, the secret of the serum was lost. Kruger was later killed by Rogers.
Rogers was posted to Camp Lehigh in Virginia where he met another young private by the name of James Buchannan Barnes (Bucky) It was whilst stationed at the camp that Bucky learned of Rogers dual identity and agreed to keep his secret as long as he could become Captain Americas sidekick, Rogers agreed.
It was during their adventures that Rogers was presented with a new shield by President Roosevelt, it was constructed of a new vibranium-steel alloy, a unique material that was never duplicated, the closest being Adamantium. Throughout WWII, Captain America & Bucky battled the Nazi menace both on their own and as members of a superhero team called the Invaders. Other members included Namor, Toro, Union Jack, Spitfire, Miss America, Human Torch and Whizzer.
As well as the Third Reich, Rogers & Bucky also fought several criminal menaces on American soil, which included a variety of costumed villains such as the Hangman, Fang, Black Talon, Wax Man and many others.
It was in April 1945, nearing the end of World War II, that Captain America and Bucky tried to stop Baron Zemo from destroying an experimental drone plane. Zemo had launched the plane with a bomb on board and Rogers & Barnes were in pursuit. The pair reached the plane just prior to take off and boarded it. Once it was airborne Rogers was trying to control the aircraft whilst Bucky tried to defuse the bomb, it exploded in mid-air.
Rogers was hurled into the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. Both are presumed dead, though it is later revealed that neither one died, Rogers being retrieved from the ice many years later and Bucky returning as the Winter Soldier.
After the loss of Captain America the US government decided to appoint another one to take over the mantle of this superhero and over the years there were several Captain Americas such as William Naslund, Jeffery Mace and William Burnside, none of which had any of Rogers enhancements, although Burnside inject a flawed copy of the serum which resulted in the US government having to put him into cryogenic storage indefinitely.
Many years later.....It was Namor the Sub-mariner that found Rogers body encased in a block of ice and being worshipped by an Innuit tribe. He threw the ice into the ocean. This was found in the North Atlantic by the Avengers who determined that he had been preserved in the block of ice since 1945, surviving because of his enhancements from Project: Rebirth. Rogers recovers and accepts membership into the Avengers.
Rogers is reunited with Nick Fury, his old war comrade, who is similarly well preserved through the 'Infinity Formula' (aka The Forever Compound...this is a serum produced by the Brotherhood of the Shield, and is a diluted form of the Elixir of Immortality developed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1652.) Rogers undertakes missions for Fury and meets Agent Sharon Carter with whom he develops a relationship, unfortunately she is later believed to have been killed while under the mind control of Dr Faustus.
Rogers later meets and trains Sam Wilson, who becomes the superhero the Falcon, who is the first African-American superhero in mainstream comic books.
Rogers eventually became disillusioned with the US government and uncertain of his Captain America identity so gave it up, taking on the persona of the Nomad. Others adopted the Captain America role during this time, albeit unsuccessfully. Rogers later resumes the role after considering that it should be a symbol of American ideals and not a symbol of its government.
Rogers avoids an explosion in a methamphetamine lab, however the drug triggers a chemical reaction in the Super-Soldier serum in his system. To combat the reaction, Rogers has the serum removed from his body, but it is discovered that it had mutated into a virus. Due to this altered biochemistry, Rogers' body begins to deteriorate, and for a time he must wear an exoskeleton and is eventually placed again in suspended animation. During this time, he is given a transfusion of blood from the Red Skull which cures his condition and stabilizes the Super-Soldier virus in his system. Captain America returns to the Avengers.
After the disbandment of the Avengers, Rogers resumed working for SHIELD and continued his on/off relationship with Agent Carter (aka Agent 13). It wasn't long until Rogers discovered that Bucky was still alive and had been rescued by the Soviets after the explosion on the aircraft many years previously. Rogers also became aware that Bucky was now the Winter Soldier.
During the Civil war storyline, Rogers opposes the mandatory federal registration of super powered beings and leads the underground anti-registration movement. Although he later surrenders and orders his forces to stand down. It is on the steps of the federal courthouse that captain America is shot in an assassination designed by Red Skull and executed by Crossbones (sniper) and at close range by Agent Sharon Carter whilst under the hypnotic suggestion of Dr Faustus. It was later revealed that Rogers hadn't died and that the gun Carter used had caused him to phase in and out of time.
The Superhero community is stunned and Captain America is seemingly laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. However Iron Man had taken Rogers body back to the Arctic where Namor had sworn to guard him. Stark received a letter from Rogers requesting that Bucky be appointed as the next Captain America, a position which Bucky accepted.
The Skull returns Rogers to the present and Rogers asks Bucky to continue on as Captain America. Rogers receives a pardon from the President for his role in the anti-registration actions and becomes the 10th executive Director of SHIELD. He re-establishes the Superhero team known as the Avengers, which is spearheaded by Iron Man, Thor and Bucky as captain America. Shortly after this Rogers becomes leader of the Secret Avengers, a Black-ops superhero team.
It is during the 'Fear Itself' storyline that Rogers once more wears the Captain America uniform after the apparent death of Bucky at the hands of Sin (in the form of Skadi...Herald of the Serpent).
When the Avengers are fighting Skadi, it is than that the Serpent (named Cul Borson aka Asgardian God of fear) joins the battle and breaks Captain Americas shield with his bare hands. The avengers teams come together in one final battle against the Serpent. Rogers uses Thors hammer to fight Skadi until Thor has killed the Serpent.
After the battle Iron man presents Rogers with his re-forged shield, now stronger for its uru-infused enhancements despite the scar it bears. Unknown to the team, with the exception of Rogers, Fury and Black Widow, Bucky survived the fight with Skadi and has resumed his identity as Winter Soldier.
It is during a later battle with the Iron nail, that the Super-Soldier Serum within Rogers body was neutralized, which caused him to age rapidly into a 90 year old man, his chronological age. Then following the attack on New York from Arnim Zola, Rogers decided to appoint Sam Wilson (aka Falcon) as his successor and Rogers took on the role of mission co-ordinator, organizing the Avengers' plans of attack from the mansion.