Captain America

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Early Life

Steve Rogers was born July 4, 1920, to poor Irish immigrant parents, Sarah and Joseph Rogers. Rogers grew up a frail youth during the Great Depression in America. Little else is known about Rogers’ early life other than the fact that a strong sense of duty, honor, and humility was instilled in him; perhaps due to his Irish Catholic upbringing. Rogers’ father died when he was a child and his mother died from pneumonia later, when he was in his late teens.

Becoming America’s Super-Soldier

Horrified by newsreel footage of Nazis ransacking Europe and atrocities in Asia that the Empire of Japan committed in China and Korea, Rogers tried to enlist in the Army but was rejected as 4-F because of his frailty and sickness. Overhearing the boy’s earnest plea to fight for his country, General Chester Phillips, of the US Army, offered Rogers the opportunity to take part in a top-secret performance-enhancing experiment called Operation Rebirth.

Rogers agreed and was taken to a secret laboratory in Washington, D.C., where he was introduced to Doctor Abraham Erskine (code named Professor Joseph Reinstein), the creator of the Super-Soldier Serum.

After weeks of tests, Rogers was at last administered the Super-Soldier Serum. Given part of the compound intravenously and another part orally, Rogers was then bombarded by vita-rays, a special combination of exotic (in 1941) wavelengths of radiation designed to accelerate and stabilize the serum’s effect on his body. Steve Rogers emerged from the vita-ray chamber with a perfect human body. A Nazi spy, who observed the experiment, murdered Dr. Erskine mere minutes after its conclusion. Dr. Erskine died without fully committing the Super-Soldier formula to paper, leaving Rogers the sole beneficiary of his genius.

Rogers was then put through an intensive physical and tactical training program that taught him gymnastics, hand-to-hand combat from Colonel Rex Applegate and William Essart Fairbairn, and military strategy. Three months later, he was given his first assignment: to stop the Nazi agent called the Red Skull. To help him become a symbolic counterpart to the Red Skull, Rogers was given the red, white, and blue costume of Captain America.[26]Rogers was also given the cover identity of a clumsy infantry private at Camp Lehigh.

After successfully becoming Captain America, Rogers was later submitted to an experimental mind-conditioning program that conditioned his mind to accept false information in the chance he was captured by the enemy and forced to reveal classified information. As part of the conditioning, Rogers believed his real name to be Grant Rogers, that he had a brother, and that due to his parents being diplomats, he had a casual upper class appointment to the Army and Captain America position. It would not be until far later in life that Rogers would recall the conditioning and his true history.

Rogers was originally issued a traditionally “kite” shaped shield made of mundane steel, as well as a sidearm. Cap’s original helmet served as a mask and was separate from the rest of his costume. This proved a problem as in one early outing it was nearly knocked from his face via the hard wing emblems, almost revealing his identity to an attending newspaper reporter with a camera. Adding a protective neck-plating hood to his costume, rather than his separate mask, solved this problem and afforded Rogers more protection. President F.D. Roosevelt later presented Rogers with his now-legendary disc-shaped shield. Discovering that its excellent aerodynamic properties made it an effective offensive weapon, Rogers abandoned his sidearm.

World War II Service

During the war, “Cap” served as both a symbol of freedom and America’s most effective special operative. In addition to working with his young sidekick Bucky, Cap regularly fought alongside other Allied super-powered heroes such as Namor the Sub-Mariner and the android Human Torch, who were the recognized core of the World War II super-team known as the Invaders – a name suggested by English premier Winston Churchill.[29] Rogers sometimes came into contact with a Canadian paratrooper named Jim Howlett, the man who would come to be known as Wolverine.

Rogers faced fascist Germans and imperialist Japanese. Among his foes and adventures were battles with George Maxon, who was an impostor Red Skull, the White Death, the Legion of Unholy Beggars, the Dragon of Death, the Reaper, the Black Toad, the Black Talon, Stryker, Doctor Crime, Mock Mikado, Master Man and the Super-Axis, Togaro, Prophet of Hate, Agent Axis, the Shark, the Hyena, N2 and Mister Sinister, Dr. Togu, Doctor Destiny, Snapper, Jack the Ripper and Terdu, Dormammu, HYDRA, the Hand, the Grandmaster, the Ringmaster, Baron Zemo, Colonel Von Wagner, Fang (who later died in Hiroshima and thus became one with the Everwraith), and the Butterfly. He also prevented the murder of President F.D. Roosevelt by a group called the Defenders, the Battle of the Bulge, D-Day, stopping saboteurs (early March 1941), meeting Wakandans, saving President Roosevelt from a deranged Namor, meeting Nikola Tesla, saving a Manhattan Project scientist from Red Skull with the help of the Howling Commandos, stopping (with Howling Commando support) the Red Skull’s plot to deploy a centuries-old automaton designed by a time-traveling Doctor Doom, facing the Red Skull in a hover device, scuffling with fellow Allies the Crusaders, fighting alongside the French Resistance and Peggy Carter (an American who had fallen in love with Captain America), almost accidentally slaying a war orphan, saving Michael Kramer from the Red Skull. In April 1945, Rogers stormed the Red Skull’s bunker, with Red Guardian, Patriot, and Spirit of ’76, in his last WWII battle with Red Skull.

For a time, World War II Bucky fought alongside a time-displaced modern-era Captain America until the Avengersrecovered their colleague to the present day.

Suspended Animation

During the final days of the war, presumably on or before April 18, 1945, Captain America and Bucky were trying to stop a bomb-loaded drone-plane, launched by Baron Zemo, when the plane exploded, apparently killing his partner Bucky and throwing Rogers into icy Arctic waters of the English Channel. The Super-Soldier Formula prevented crystallization of Rogers’ bodily fluid, allowing him to enter a state of suspended animation. Although Rogers and Bucky had seemingly perished, the war still raged on and U.S. presidents and the government picked different volunteers, such as William Naslund, Jeffrey Mace, and another Steve Rogers, over the years, to keep the morale alive, and even after World War II ended.

The Avengers

Decades later, Rogers’ wartime comrade, the Sub-Mariner, stumbled across his still-frozen form, which was being worshiped by a far-flung Inuit tribe. Enraged, the Sub-Mariner threw the ice block into the ocean. While opposing Namor, the newly formed Avengers happened upon Rogers’ thawing body and soon revived the legendary hero.

Rogers joined their ranks as the first recruit, since their formation, and was given retroactive “founding member” status in place of Hulk. With his superhuman abilities, extensive training, combat experience, combined with his impressive physique, confidence, and will, Rogers was an excellent addition to the team. As a born leader, Rogers would come to be seen as the heart and soul of the team and his commands, while in the field, were often followed regardless of who might have been team leader at the time. Rogers would teach teamwork, tactics, and hand-to-hand combat to many Avengers over the coming years.

Seeing that Avengers associate Rick Jones bore a resemblance to Bucky, Cap took him into tutelage, trying to recover from the great trauma of losing his wartime partner. After a time, Jones even convinced Rogers to let him wear Bucky’s old costume and initiate a partnership, although Cap strongly opposed Rick joining the Avengers as a full member. The early adventures Cap had with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes included a run-in with his wartime foe Baron Heinrich Zemo. Zemo organized the first incarnation of the Masters of Evil, a group of super-villains who each bore a grudge against a particular Avenger. After several skirmishes between the two groups, Zemo kidnapped Rick and Zemo was accidentally killed in a rock slide, caused by his own weaponry as he battled Cap.

At this point, the remaining founding Avengers (Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man and the Wasp) decided to take a leave of absence from the stress of super-crime-fighting. Captain America was thus left to lead a new team comprised of Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. “Cap’s Kooky Quartet” was at first regarded as less able than the previous lineup, but soon proved their worth by overcoming several threats including a resurgent Kang[39] as well as Doctor Doom. While the hotheaded Quicksilver and Hawkeye were at first headstrong loose cannons, Rogers’ leadership was able to mold them into valuable team members.

When Cap took his first leave of absence from the team, it was the Black Panther who stepped in to take his place on the roster. Though when Cap discovered that one of T’Challa’s motives was to “spy” on the Avengers (as part of his duties as King of Wakanda was to observe foreigners), relations between the two became strained and stayed that way for some time. Eventually, they restored the bonds of alliance and friendship, symbolized by Rogers giving T’Challa the enhanced copy of his World War II triangular shield he had used while his round one was broken.

Meanwhile, Cap’s old nemesis, the Red Skull, was brought out of suspended animation by the subversive organization THEM. The Skull feigned cooperation with THEM (actually the ruling council of HYDRA led by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker) long enough to steal the Cosmic Cube from subsidiary organization AIM. This led to the first postwar clash between the two great symbols of World War II. The Skull later impersonated Rogers and drove Rick away, while wielding the Cosmic Cube.

Rogers often crossed paths with another World War II veteran as well, this one an ally: Sergeant Nick Fury, of the Howling Commandos, whom he had met during the war, was now Colonel Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Captain America teamed with Fury many times after emerging from suspended animation and their relationship warmed and cooled over the years, depending on various circumstances. They often worked together towards the same goal(s) and the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. maintained a close working relationship, even sometimes sharing a common computer database. Rogers worked with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Agent 13 (Sharon Carter), sister to Peggy. Rogers would come to share a deep romantic relationship with Sharon, eventually admitting his love for her.

In another plot by the Skull, a Cosmic Cube-empowered man named Sam Wilson attacked Rogers. Steve was able to break Wilson of the Skull’s control and the two teamed together to defeat Cap’s archenemy. Wilson became The Falcon and Steve’s most reliable best friend. Cap and the Falcon would share an active partnership for a long time. Wilson actively succeeded Rogers as Captain America, when Rogers was badly injured and was encouraged to continue on in the role by Rogers himself. Despite the encouragement, Wilson returned the role upon Rogers’ recovery.

One of Rogers’ and Wilson’s most noted battles was against one of Rogers’ earlier successors, Steve Rogers, and Jack Monroe, calling himself Bucky. Rogers was shaken at the fact that he could have shared his excessively conservative successor’s fate, if not for the technical dedication of Dr. Erskine and his Vita Ray process.

Following a battle with Viper, Rogers’ Super-Soldier Serum reacted with the venom in his darts, temporarily granting him superhuman strength.

Continued…

Marvel Wiki: Captain America

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