Marvel: Who Has Replaced Captain America in the Comics?
Over the years, there are many different iterations and alterations to comic book characters, especially characters that have been around as long as Captain America.
But with lots of new Marvel shows about to premiere on Disney+, namely the highly anticipated The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series and Marvel’s What If…?, we’re about to see different stories surrounding the starred-and-striped shield.
Who are some of the most iconic characters who have taken up the role of Captain America? Let’s find out.
Steve Rogers is the most well known Captain America. His story begins in New York, where a young scrawny boy decides to fight against the Axis powers in World War II. He was too physically weak to be a soldier, but when he volunteered (or was selected, depending on the origin story) to be the first soldier to use the Super Soldier Serum, everything changed for him. Dr. Erskine’s Serum made him truly super, giving him superhuman strength, agility, endurance, durability, and more.
In one way or another, again depending on which origin story, Steve Rogers gets frozen in ice for an indeterminate amount of time. He somehow survives this complete cryogenesis and emerges in the future the same young and powerful Captain America. With a moral compass stronger than true north itself, he was the perfect fit to eventually lead the newly-formed Avengers, and the hero this world needed.
Bucky Barnes was Steve Rogers’ best friend and companion in World War II. He went with him everywhere and eventually became his sidekick. He originally didn’t have super powers and he didn’t have any super serum; he was just Captain America’s happy-go-lucky sidekick. But that wouldn’t last for long. He was kidnapped and turned into a Soviet spy, and enhanced with a cybernetic arm. He became the Winter Soldier.
After Steve Rogers was supposedly assassinated, Bucky was specifically given the shield. There was no one Steve Rogers trusted more to take on the role of Captain America. And yet, all throughout his time with the shield, Bucky Barnes doubted himself.
He remembered his time as a brainwashed Winter Soldier, and never thought that he’d be good enough. Ultimately, no matter how much good he did, he never felt he did good enough. And it turns out Captain America wasn’t dead after all, so he didn’t have to hold the star-spangled shield for long.
In the comics, when Steve Rogers’ Super Soldier Serum loses its strength and loses its effect, the once powerful and spry Captain America begins to wither and age at a rapid pace. He makes it clear that there’s only one person fit to fill his bright red shoes: Sam Wilson, AKA, The Falcon.
Steve Rogers’ Captain America fought for the larger problems of the nation, often going internationally to put the hurt on HYDRA, Red Skull, and Nazi scum. But with Sam Wilson wearing the stars and stripes and wielding the iconic shield, Captain America had the perspective to tackle different sorts of problems.
He didn’t become a street level hero, but saw through the systems that caused street level crime and fought his way through those. He did everything he could to be the best Captain America he could be, and he succeeded in an era that needed the shield as much as ever.
Danielle Cage is the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. As she ages, she gains the powers of both her mother and father, making her both invulnerable and super strong in unprecedented ways. She is perhaps even stronger than the original Captain America. And even though she didn’t have his original shield, she didn’t need any special material to make it ricochet off walls. She had the strength.
Her future-flung adventures left her dealing with Ultron, Golden Skull, and all sorts of strange difficulties with time travel. It’s unclear exactly when she’s from and exactly when she becomes Captain America, but perhaps Dani’s adventures with the shield will be explored more in future comics.
What her story does reveal is that you can always choose to be a hero, even if the title wasn’t made for you. You can rise and become a leader.
In one alternate reality, both Steve Rogers and the Super Soldier Serum creator Dr. Erskine sadly passed away. Super genius Howard Stark refused to let their legacy die, and only thought that one person was good enough for the job: Peggy Carter.
Peggy was just as brave and just as willing to fight for the good of the world, against all odds and at any cost. When she finally took on the role of Captain America, no one could have expected how incredible of hero she could be (even as a Brit wearing the stars and stripes!).
This alternate Peggy Carter-as-Cap first appeared in Marvel’s Puzzle Quest mobile game, but made her leap to comics in the Exiles series, and will next appear in Marvel’s What If…? Animated Anthology on Disney+. We can’t wait to see her in action!
Dr. Erskine’s original Super Soldier Serum was extremely top secret and difficult to replicate. Almost immediately after the serum worked on Steve Rogers and turned him into Captain America, Erskine died, and with it, the secret to the chemical formula. So the United States did everything in their power to replicate it. And when you’re testing chemical compound after chemical compound, you need bodies.
Isaiah Bradley was just one of the test subjects, and one of the only ones to survive. He was a test that happened to go right, but when he assumed the mantle of Captain America, the mantle he was quite literally made for and the role he was forced into, he was arrested for stealing the costume. He left behind a legacy of heroism though, and his grandson, Eli Bradley, would become the hero Patriot on the Young Avengers team.
To learn more about Isaiah Bradley’s time with the shield, you can read Truth: Red, White, and Black from Marvel Comics.
Not only will we be seeing both Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson using Captain America’s shield in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but we’ll see Peggy Carter take on the mantle in Marvel’s What If…? series. So, while Steve Rogers may have passed the mantle at the end of Avengers: Endgame, the adventures of Captain America are far from over!
Who is your favorite Captain America? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!