Captain America Killed Off in Latest Comic

By Shamus
on Mar 7, 2007
Filed under:
Nerd Culture

Wow.

I’d give everyone a spoiler warning, but

  1. Nobody reads Captain America anyway.
  2. I’m not sure the contents of press releases can be considered “spoilers”, even when they do in fact spoil the surprise of the comic you’re not reading.

I hadn’t heard about this. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he’s no more dead than Superman is, who was “killed” years ago and still manages to appear in more books than Harry Potter. I’ve never gone in for the lesser Marvel heroes. I’m a huge Spider-Man fan, and I can take light doses of X-Man, but… Sub-Mariner? Dr. Strange? Hulk? Fantastic Four? Some of them just don’t scratch my particular itch, and some of them are downright tedious. Captain America was – pardon me, is, I refuse to talk about him in the past tense until he stops appearing in comic books – uninteresting to me. I assume a lot of other people feel the same way, which is why they’re killing him off. Nothing sells comic books more than killing off the main character.

It all sounds pretty political. He’s killed by a sniper on the steps of a courthouse in some conflict over the government requiring Superheroes to register their secret identities, which is part of the War on Terror. Geeze. What ever happened to punching Dr. Doom?

I feel like we should have some sort of memorial for the guy, but we’d better make it quick because I’m sure he’ll up up again any minute now. With that in mind, let’s look back on Captain America in Fury Unleashed!

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201225 comments. Neato.

From the Archives:

  1. Mike says:

    I don’t read Captain America but I’m willing to bet a new guy will grab the shield and resurrect the name within a year. And maybe we’ll also learn that the old hero was going to die of cancer soon anyway.

  2. nilus says:

    I am keeping up with Civil War and they already implied who his replacement is gonna be…..The Punisher.

  3. Deoxy says:

    You’re dead right about “he’ll be back”. Good luck getting the monument done while he’s still dead.

    The whole “having to register their secret identities” thing actually sounded like potential for good material. I heard about it… last year, maybe? Anyway, Peter Parker reveals his secret identity, which ought to cause some significant changes there.

    Of course, I don’t follow any of this anymore (I barely, BARELY followed any of it back when I DID follow it, and that was mostly by osmosis), so I don’t know what they’ve don with it since then…

    But yeah, there are WAY too many to follow.

    Off-topic (sort of): funniest super-hero thing EVER. Cartoon network did a little clip (using old Justice Friends footage, I think) called “Wonderwoman’s lasso of truth”, in which WW would lasso someone, and they would say something (usually something quite odd, IIRC). Aquaman: “Uh. Those aren’t always… bubbles.”

  4. Gothmog says:

    I, for one- am incredibly annoyed that they decided to publish this newsflash the day the comic that actually chronicles the assassination was available in stores. I read and was less than happy with the conclusion to the whole Civil War saga- but was still looking forward to the next step.
    So this morning, while doing my AM news surfing- I’m bombarded with the news of Caps demise. Bah.

    Well- I guess that’ll save me the cost of the comic. Small blessings. :P

    My mini review of Civil War: not worth your time. Big build-up, poor finish.
    However- my mini review of ‘The Ultimates’ a rebuilding of the original Avengers/Cap America, etc.: EXCELLENT. Great writing, great fun.

    The stragest thing is, that both the Ultimates and Civil War were written by the SAME guy, Mark Millar. Shows you just never know.

  5. David V.S. says:

    I have a graphic novel of very old Captain America comics. I enjoy re-reading it now and then. The stories are not very interesting as stories, but are fascinating as artifacts of a day when political propaganda was a staple of comic book content.

    Of course, it appears that a few decades ago anything was passable as comic book material. (Truly horrifying Superman story.)

  6. Hagan says:

    Captain America is not really a minor character. Im a DC freak (not a big Marvel fan at all) and for the longest time I hated both Superman in DC and Cap in Marvel as some kind of mixture of 1 part mom and apple pie/1 part jingoism, all left over from a bygone era. It was looking at the take that some of my favorite writers like Ennis (who hates superhero books) had on Superman and their respect for him as a character that really began to open my eyes up to how great a character he really is. Cap is very similar. Now hes been just done wrong in Civil War, but this issue 25 was very well done. Brubaker is a freaking amazing writer. Will it stick? No, of course it won’t. But its an interesting ride.

  7. Woerlan says:

    Anyone who’s stuck with the comics world for a decade or more knows what the next question is: When will they bring him back?

    Since he’s not a marquee character, they can keep the original Cap dead for some time, then bring him back later using an innumerable number of techniques (ex. time anomaly, illusion, clone, clone-was-the-one-killed, magic, divine power, cosmic power, infernal power, nanotech superscience, it-was-all-an-act, etc). Meantime, someone will fill the costume and the persona in his own unique style so that they can keep publishing comics and making dolls for little boys (aka. action figures).

    So I will NOT mourn for him. I will appreciate it if this particular death was part of an excellent story. If so, then he died well.

  8. hank says:

    If you hear about a storyline in the news at all, there’s a very good chance it’s not worth reading. When the ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ (1985) mediafest went down, it killed my interest in collecting… I figured if DC didn’t care about the characters enough to refrain from rototilling them to make a quick buck when sales were flagging, I wasn’t going to care about the characters either.

    Batman #428 (1988), ‘A Death in the Family #3’, made headlines for killing off Robin… people who had never bought a comic in their lives came in to the store talking about investment opportunities. Of course the news didn’t mention that not only was Robin not the Dick Grayson these people had known from the TV show, he wasn’t even the Jason Todd that replaced Grayson, thanks to ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ rebooting the whole DC universe and making half of the stories we’d read non-canonical. Robin’s practically a Redshirt.

    ‘The Death of Superman’ (1993) pulled the same stunt Captain America is pulling now – and three months later there was not one but *four* living Supermen. The better to kill off again at a later date, I suppose.

    Captain America’s death doesn’t interest me… but the fact that I heard about it from a headline rather than from a fan telling me how good it is tells me a lot. He’ll be back in some other form soon, making this a non-event. The good parts of mainstream comics (if they’re lucky enough to have good parts) occur in between these media events and crossovers… when media buzz starts building, I find it’s usually time to move on.

  9. Justin says:

    To me, I think Captain America stopped being relevant in 1945.

  10. The whole “having to register their secret identities” thing actually sounded like potential for good material.

    It was good material, twenty years ago. It was the Keene Act, in “Watchmen”.

  11. Bard says:

    Is that what it was? No wonder the original creator was pissed.

  12. empty_other says:

    What was the sentence again? “No comic book character stays dead, except for Uncle Ben and (doesnt remember the name)”.
    I have started reading Marvel comics myself lately. Leeching them of the net, because the only marvel comics i can find in shops here in norway is Spiderman :( . I actually found the Civil War storyline quite fun.

  13. cyberpi says:

    The sentence was “No one in comics stays dead, except Bucky, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben” (seee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_book_death). Actually only Uncle Ben is still dead: Jason Todd (second Robin) and Bucky (Captain America partner during WWII) have since returned.

    As for the death of Captain America, I down^H^H^H read it today and it is not that bad, somehow giving a more interesting end to the Civil War crossover than just him surrending (which he did, hence the trail).

  14. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    If you hate Captain America that means you hate America itself……Oh no wait it’s OK to hate Captain America, because he sucks.

  15. *** Dave says:

    And, actually, Uncle Ben (or an other-dimensional one-where-he-didn’t-get-gakked) has been wandering around (in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man), too.

    I’m disappointed in the whole press release thing, though I’d argue that Cap is an iconic hero of the Marvel stable (and I’m not sure that Hulk or Fantastic Four rank as “lesser” Marvel heroes). I was disappointed in Civil War, too, largely because the deck was polemically loaded as to which side we were supposed to sympathize with. I’m sure that Cap (the Steve Rogers version) will, in fact, be back — but it may be a couple of years.

  16. Hagan says:

    Yeah I don’t get how people are saying he is not a marquee character.

    Marquee characters:
    DC:
    Supes, Bats, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Robin, Justice League (the name not the team necessarily)

    Marvel:
    Spiderman, Hulk, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Wolverine, Punisher, X-Men (name as a whole), Avengers (name as a whole)

    On the name as a whole things I mean that people who don’t read comics will often know the name of the team, they might not know any members, but they know the name.

  17. Dan says:

    Anyway, Captain America may only be dead in the “Normal” (?) universe, as far as I know. the “Ultimate” Captain America (Whose current re-animated history tends to make some sense, from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s point of view) is still alive and kicking. However, I only read Trades, so I’m about 6 months behind.

    Bah, fundamentally comics would be more interesting if the old guard died off, got old and transferred the mantle to their children, protoge’s or whatever. Then the originals could be used as a type of elder council. I mean good grief. In 40 years of Spiderman, Peter Parker has aged about 6 or 7 years…maybe 10 if you stretch it, and depending on who’s writing. Granted they can’t age real time, because stories only happen once a month, but even so, only 10 years in 40???

    Sorry for the rant. I’ll stop now. You have to realize that none of that has ever stopped me from reading them. hehe.

    Cheers

  18. Scarlet Knight says:

    I have trouble figuring out how smart or dumb comic writers are. Are they so stupid as not to have learned from the Hal Jordon /Green Lantern fallout over killing icons? Go to any mall & you still see Captain America t-shirts. His comic may not sell, but Cap still makes money.
    Are they smart? Then this is probably a ruse, with SHEILD faking Cap’s death. He goes into hiding, someone else picks up the shield (eg whe he became Nomad), a crisis comes & TA TA! Captain America returns.
    Maybe someone in charge simly doesn’t like some WWII vet being an eternal hero and said, “Kill him & be done” It would al least give a reason for them putting out the rags that were Civil War. Now to deal with Reed Richards creating a murderous clone…

  19. Julia says:

    I heard a radio ad for the comic that gave the spoiler.

  20. Kevin D. says:

    I liked Civil War. It was heavily slanted in Cap’s favor, his side was obviously the one you were supposed to feel for, but I was rooting for Iron Man from day one. If Iron Man had lost I would have stopped reading Marvel altogether. I’m glad to see Marvel taking their setting in a different direction. I’m sure DC’s Infinite Crisis played no small role in that decision.

    As for Cap’s death – I know he’s coming back. Still, when people mock him as being nothing more than a relic of the past I can’t help but shake my head. Then, it’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? Clearly, Cap is in one place and the nation is in another. Most people are quick to blame Cap for not catching up. I’m wondering if perhaps we have moved too far. Not too many people are willing or able to stop, take a look at themselves, and ask, “Am I the one that is wrong?”

    I’m not a big Cap fan but I liked what he stood for. Being a student of World War 2 history I’m seeing patterns today that most people don’t seem to notice. Afterall, World War 2 was the problem of a bygone era, right? Clearly, the lessons and people produced in that era don’t have any value for today, right?

    Cap, in my mind, reminded us of the glories of our past. What is said about people who don’t learn from the past? Oh, right, I remember – They’re doomed to repeat it.

  21. David V.S. says:

    Actually, Captain America “died” before. Except he was only missing, frozen in an iceberg or something like that.

    By the way, Shamus, if you have not read Marvel 1602 I strongly recommend it, considering your likes and dislikes. It starts out seemingly a well-done story in which the main Marvel characters happen to have been born in Elizabethian England. Then, smoothly, with careful foreshadowing, and yet somehow pleasingly suddenly as well, it turns out that the fact that these superheroes were born in the wrong era is central to the plot.

    I won’t say more. And if you have not read it, please don’t read about it beforehand. The graphic novel is a treat to read, and one of the most re-readable I own.

  22. Cat Skyfire says:

    Captain America’s death didn’t exactly phase me. He’s been dead before, and come back. Now, if they’d killed of someone who hasn’t died before…like, say, Spider-Man, THAT’d be a big deal.

    I have a friend who works with a comic shop. He is furious at Marvel, and Joe Quesada (editor in chief) specifically. Retailers were given no clue what would happen. With Superman’s death, they had warning two months ahead, in time to order comics. With Cap, all they were told is “You want to have ’em, something big is coming up…someone dies.” Last time they did that, someone died, but it wasn’t something important (an alternative universe Human Torch doesn’t tend to bring tears to the eyes.)
    And since they can’t return over orders, they were just stuck. So they ordered 30. A few more, as a post Civil War aspect. 20 were orders for customers who get them held. So they had 10 to spare. And a hundred people call, wanting the death of Captain America issue. And they don’t have them. Sure, they’ll have the reprint…in two weeks. But by then, the brief interest will have passed. Those who would have bought, and maybe found comics interesting again…won’t be back.

  23. ubu roi says:

    What Dan said. DC’s Infinity Inc, briefly set on Earth-2, chronicled the sons and daughters of the JSA setting up their own superhero team, and it was one of the better efforts I’d seen in a while. The interplay between superpowered parents and offspring was fairly interesting, and it was one of the earliest comics to ditch the secret identity schtick. The single best issue was a “retrospective” involving WW’s daughter and a couple of the other kids taking the invisible plane for a joyride.

    Then came Crisis, and the best part of the comic went away.

    As for the whole Civil War and Captain America getting killed BS, it’s eye-rollingly stupid. I see it as more of the same old “conservatives in the government are authoritarians and bad” propaganda. Be serious — which side of the political aisle would demand that the government set up a program to register and control all these obvious right-wing vigilantes who routinely violate civil rights and never read Miranda warnings to the people the apprehend without sanction of the law?

  24. Telas says:

    Ubu shoots – he scores!

    Did anyone else see the first X-Men movie as an analogy of Second Amendment rights? Replace “mutant powers” with “guns”, and suddenly it’s the post-Columbine news cycle…

    If you can’t remember your history, perhaps you can remember “The Dark Knight Returns.”

    Batman: “We’ve always been criminals. We have to be criminals.”

    Superman: “They’ll kill us if they can, Bruce. Every year they grow smaller. Every year they hate us more. We must not remind them that giants walk the Earth.”

  25. Shamus says:

    I would agree with this take. A superhero – no matter how merciful – would HAVE to be treated like a crimial. Their power is a direct affront to the authority of the state. There is nothing a government hates more than to see power which it cannot itself wield.

  26. John Hendershot says:

    What is wrong with you people ? CAPTAIN AMERICA is the symbol of America. Why is everyone so eager to sell out our country ? What happened to the American people .

  27. AndrewNZachsDad says:

    Mr Hendershot: for the benefit of the reading public, would you be so kind as to use some sort of notifier to tell us when you are being sarcastic or ironic? May I suggest the emoticon :P ?
    If, in fact, you are being serious, here is your cluebat:

    – the Presidential Seal, with the eagle proudly emblazoned, is a symbol of America,
    – the Stars & Stripes is a symbol of America,
    – the Marines are a symbol of America (as are the Army, Air Force and Navy, but most everyone has one of each of those),
    – if you like, the Twin Towers (and the horrible events of 9/11) are a symbol of America,

    but Captain America is a fictional character created by comic book publishers intent on capitalizing on (that means “making money from”) the above symbols.

    Whether you enjoy the comics or not, they are printed in order to be sold. If the death of a major character sells more comics, then prepare to have your favourite fictional heroes bathed in their own blood.

    Oh, and while I’m on it, this sort of capitalism is most certainly a symbol of America. And I’m sure my children, who don’t have to stand in food lines for the hope of some moldy cheese are happy for that symbol.

    Contrary to the picture painted by the American Media, the American People are doing fine. With or without Captain America. Americans have proven themselves imminently capable of creating their own heroes.

    ‘Nuff Said.

  28. Shamus says:

    Note to “The_Man”, whose comments have been deleted:

    No, coming in here and insulting people in old threads is stupid.

    Use your head.

  29. Hawanja says:

    Don’t know about you guys, but Captain America was my favorite comic while I was in Jr. High School. Of course he’ll be back eventually, but they should “retire” him for a few years until the triumphant return.

  30. Hawanja says:

    And just a reply to this:

    “Be serious — which side of the political aisle would demand that the government set up a program to register and control all these obvious right-wing vigilantes who routinely violate civil rights and never read Miranda warnings to the people the apprehend without sanction of the law?”

    Your side, apparently.

  31. Deacon Blues says:

    Well, it looks like Cap really is dead. I think the coolest possibility, if he must be replaced, would be for Patriot to step up and put on the outfit. (Of course, the question then becomes, would the Falcon still agree to sidekick for him?)

    “Now, if they’d killed of someone who hasn’t died before…like, say, Spider-Man, THAT’d be a big deal.”

    “The Other”, a 12-part crossover amongst the three Spider-titles that was used to launch “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man”, did indeed have Spidey die. No clones, no fake bodies, no cross-universe crap. They did pull out some bullstuff about spiders metamorphosing, of which I had never heard before, but for a while there, he was *dead*. So it’s more a case of “been there, done that” for ol’ Spidey… :)

  32. True, but he is an American Icon. I got one of these Captain America t-shirts since I love old Cap

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