Published January 23, 2019

‘Captain America’: 5 Times Cap Couldn’t Be Cap

Captain America is the greatest… even at taking on other identities.

Captain America has always been a man of great principle. Strong, committed, unwilling to bend in the face of shifting political winds. Sometimes that has meant Steve Rogers had to leave the identity of Cap behind. To represent the American Dream, some might say, he had to give up on representing America.

At other times, he has been forced out of the identity by others who wish to make him something he will never be or because they have papered him with trumped-up charges. Rogers finds himself in that position in CAPTAIN AMERICA #8, on sale Wednesday, February 20, as he has been declared “Captain of Nothing” and facing damning allegations.

To help him—and ourselves—keep the faith, has assembled a list of the times Steve Rogers had to shed the mantle of Cap to get things done and did spectacularly.


Steve Rogers as Nomad

Rogers had just discovered that the Secret Empire successfully infiltrated the government so thoroughly that they controlled the presidency. Yes, Cap had managed to intercede and bring an end to the puppet masters, but it shook his faith in the federal government and who couldn’t understand that?

However, Steve Rogers has heroism encoded in his DNA so even when he turned in his shield, he could not simply stop helping people. The solution? A bold blue costume with yellow buttons, a plunging disco collar, and, briefly, a cape. Also a new moniker: Nomad!

The cape had to be discarded almost immediately—Rogers tripped on it—and the identity last only slightly longer—four issues. However, it made Steve’s commitment to doing the right thing even if he couldn’t stomach the stars and stripes anymore crystal clear.

The Captain

The Captain

Years later, it would be the government abandoning Rogers over their disappointment in him. They wanted him to become more of an actively political Captain America, one that represented and further their agenda. Rogers, however, refused. In response, they stripped him of the mantle, passing it along to John Walker, formerly Super Patriot, eventually USAgent.

Rogers, meanwhile, became the Captain and took his act on the road. Dressed in a black and red variation on his classic garb—the costume is now the one you associate with USAgent—he gathered together several allies and decided to get out on the open road.

In the end, Walker became a liability after his identity became public, his family targeted and killed by a militia group, and his decision to deal with them viciously. Rogers rode back into town to set his replacement straight, reassumed the identity and returned glory to the uniform.

Man without a Country

Man without a country

In the mid-‘90s Captain America died. The super soldier serum had been a short-term plan, not meant to continue on in the bloodstream of a man who had been alive since the beginning of the century. As a result, it had essentially turned to poison and killed the man it made musclebound. However, Cap, like hope, seems unkillable. Resurrected thanks to a Red Skull blood transfusion, Rogers returned to the living, as excellent as ever.

Alas, celebrations proved short-lived as Cap found himself accused of being a traitor. Seeing the injustice of it but feeling his hands tied, the president allowed Rogers to run to foreign soil in a dark blue onesie and with a brand-new energy shield. Not even bothering with a new identity, he and Sharon Carter set to finding out who framed him and re-establishing his bona fides as an unimpeachable patriot. Along the way, to make matters more complicated, he discovers a truly heinous plot against the U.S. he must also stop.

Super Soldier, Secret Avenger

Steve Rogers Secret Avenger

After Civil War, Captain America had been shot and killed while escorted to the courthouse. The mantle had been passed on to Bucky Barnes—the once and future Winter Soldier—while unbeknownst to everyone, Rogers fought his way back to the living through the timestream.

Upon his return, however, he decided to let Bucky keep on representing America. Instead, Rogers took on a more casual blue and white costume, assumed leadership of the Secret Avengers, and became a more behind-the-scenes player.

When Barnes’ past (mind-controlled) misdeeds came to light, however, Rogers quickly reassumed the role, helping his oldest friend fake his death and become the Winter Soldier once more.

Everyone Deserves to Retire

Old Man Rogers

After finding his way back from Dimension Z, Rogers had one last nasty surprise to discover. After more than 80 years of not aging, he became about 80 years old overnight. Clearly unable to continue to be Captain America, he called upon his friend and former partner Falcon to take over. Rogers settled into being an advisor of sorts. Even in forced retirement, the man simply could not stop being a hero.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #8, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates with art by Adam Kubert and a cover by Alex Ross, goes on sale Wednesday, February 20. Pre-order your copy today, either online or at your local comic shop!


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