14 Ways Captain America Has Radically Changed Since His Introduction In The 1940’s

From being a scrawny little kid from Brooklyn to becoming the stalwart of freedom, justice, and truth, Captain America has come a long way since.

Used To Carry a Triangular Shield

When Captain America started his career, he carried a shield, his iconic weapon that has remained unchanged ever since. But in his first appearance, the shape of the shield was triangular. The shape was later changed to its circular counterpart in the second issue. The design struck a chord with the masses and has remained the same ever since.

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His Power Levels Have Changed Over The Years

Captain America has had an increase or decrease in his overall strength and speed based on the writer. Sometimes Captain America is powerful enough to take down Thanos by himself. There are times when he struggles against measly bank robbers and thieves. There are also times when Captain America no longer possessed the super soldier serum in his veins. He was just a regular man with albeit deadly close combat and tactical thinking abilities.

Increase In His Rogues Gallery Members

It would be very foolish of you to think Captain America only fights Nazis and Hydra. There are a plethora of Captain America foes. Another organization Captain America often deals with is The Serpent Society, a cultist organization. There are also other super villains like Nuke and Crossbones. Machinesmith, MODOK and Kingpin regularly clash with Captain America as well.

Earned The Respect of The Justice League

There is a reason why Captain America is such a beloved superhero. His sense of justice and his persistence to do the right thing is extremely strong. Captain America is incorruptible, immune to the forces of perversion. As a result of his powerful ideals and values, something incredible happened. Steve Rogers earned the respect of the Justice League. It was during the JLA/Avengers crossover event.

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Peggy Carter Was Not Always The Love of His Life

Blame the Marvel Cinematic Universe for popularizing the idea that Peggy was Cap’s one true love. But in reality, there were many women that came into Rogers’ lives. Bernie Rosenthal, Connie Ferrari, Betsy Ross,  Diamondback, and even Scarlet Witch have romanced the Super Soldier at times. Many of them even ended up marrying Captain America.

Formed And Led Other Superhero Teams

Captain America was not just one of the core members of the mainstream Avengers teams. He also formed and even led some of the many iterations of the Avengers. The New Avengers and the Secret Avengers were the brain children of Captain America. He has also joined up many Non-Avengers teams over the years like Secret Defenders and Invaders.

His Arctic Hibernation Only Became Canon In 1964

After the Second World War, Captain America needed a new purpose to stand behind and rally the masses. The threat of communism swept through the States. Captain America became a commie smashing, racist, anti-Semitic maniac. Marvel later realized their grave error in judgment. They later retconned Cap’s story. Marvel reveals the Captain America of Post World War two was an impostor. The real Captain America had remained frozen in ice when a WW2 mission against Hydra went awry. This story canonized Cap’s time in suspended animation only in the year 1964.

Started His Career With Fighting Hydra. Later Joined Hydra

Probably the biggest Captain America event (and the most controversial as well) in the comics was Captain America’s Hail Hydra moment. Hydra had used the Cosmic Cube to rewrite Captain America’s origin story. Steve Rogers was a Hydra Sleeper Agent in the rewritten reality. During the Secret Empire story arc, Captain America revealed he was working for Hydra all along. This was a huge change considering Rogers began his very career fighting the very thing he later joined.

Had Many Other Sidekicks Besides Bucky

Right after Bucky Barnes ‘died’ a tragic death, he was swiftly replaced with other characters. The first successor to Bucky was Betsy Ross. She became Marvel Comics’ first Golden Girl. Many other supporting Marvel characters have also been Captain America’s sidekick. Jack Flag, Free Spirit, and even the Hulk supporting character Rick Jones have become Cap’s sidekicks in the comics.

The Ever-Changing Origins Of The Super Soldier Serum

While its effects tend to be the same no matter what, the origin story of the serum has kept changing. It is sometimes shown as an intravenous injection. Other times it is shown to be taken orally. There was a time when the super soldier serum was shown to be actually a micro-organism. The theory back then was that the micro-organisms created a symbiotic relationship with its host. Maybe that’s how the writers  and artists at Marvel got inspired to come up with Venom.

The History Behind Captain America Grew Ever More Diverse

Representation is key now. It is divine justice for all the times mass media and comic book publications wronged minorities by giving the ‘White Savior’ superhero. Captain America represents America, and not just the white populace that literally makes up a mere 2.29 per cent of the entire global population. Many popular characters like Isaiah Bradley and his grandson Elijah Bradley have taken up the Captain America name and have lived up to its reputation.

Captain America No Longer a Man’s Job

When we think of Captain America, we almost immediately envision a man wearing the star spangled banner on his chest. Brandishing the iconic shield is no longer limited to men. Over the years, many women have also taken up the role. Danielle Cage – Luke Cage’s daughter, Misty Knight, and Peggy Carter have all taken up the role. Marvel has also recently introduced another black female Captain America by the name of Nichelle Wright.

The Values Captain America Represented Kept Changing

The mantle of Captain America has been passed on to a lot of folks. Steve Rogers was the first one but many more came after him. People like John Walker embodied an ideal of “America First”. He believed in an ends justifying the means approach. Other successors like William Burnside had a different approach. Burnside was unapologetically anti-communist, squashing any political ideologist that did not agree with his sentiments. He was also far-right and a racist.

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No Longer a Fanatic. He Stands For True Freedom

Since Captain America was created during World War Two, he represented the American War Effort in Europe. He fought Nazis and the Japanese army, thwarting their secret plans to take over America. Post WW2, the Red Scare of communism ran high. Captain America became a beacon of Anti-Communism. For decades, Captain America was a name synonymous with propaganda. That changed with the passage of time. Captain America would later grow as a character. His ideals and moral values sometimes forced him to defy the very nation and government he served. Captain America serves only justice, liberty, and truth – the three pillars of the free world.

Written by Bibhu Prasad Panda

With a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Marketing and Operations, Bibhu found a love for writing, working for many different websites. He joined FandomWire in July 2020 and worked his way to his current position of Content Strategist. Bibhu has been involved in operating and managing FandomWire's team of writers, diversifying into varied, exotic fields of pop culture.