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Who is Captain America? A look at the World’s First Avenger

 

Hi Kids! Leviathen here with some more comic book goodness for you. This time, I’d like to tell you folks about one of my favorite Marvel superheroes, Captain America.

Steve Rogers was a frail fine arts student from the Lower East Side of  New York City in 1941. After seeing a newsreel about the turmoils of the time in Europe under an expansionist Third Reich, Rogers decided to enlist in the US Army. Unfortunately, he was deemed “physically unfit for service”.  It was at this moment that Gen. Chester Phillips (played by Tommy Lee Jones) offered him a chance to serve his country in Operation: Rebirth.

The program, designed and ran by Dr. Abraham Eskrine,  was meant to create physically superior soldiers by administering  oral and intravenous doses of a serum to a subject, and then bombarding the subject with “Vita-ray” radiation. The result was almost immediate. Dr. Eskrine proclaimed the experiment a success and declared Rogers the first of a new breed of man, a “nearly perfect human being.” It was at this moment that a Nazi spy revealed himself and blew Eskrine away. Well Eskrine dies, but because he kept the crucial portions of the Super Soldier Serum to himself, the process has never been able to be duplicated.  To make the most of their lone super soldier, they re-envision him as a counter-intelligence agent and a superhero for the use of propaganda.

Captain America stands 6’3 and weighs 240 lbs. (280 in the Ultimate Marvel universe). All of his physical attributes have been augmented to the absolute maximum human potential. He is as strong, fast, and agile as a human can physically be. He is immune to all terrestrial diseases and is impervious to the effects of alcohol, drugs, and most poisons. Also his body naturally replenishes the super-soldier serum in his blood stream. When his adrenaline is pumping, his body becomes saturated in the serum, allowing him at times to perform seemingly superhuman feats, such as lifting 1100 lbs above his head, or running a mile in a little over a minute. He is also a master in combat tactics, so much so that fellow heroes faithfully follow his command in battle.

In the early years of WWII, Cap carried a triangular shield and carried a sidearm in battle. Later, he was given his iconic discus shield by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The shield is made from a unique steel/vibranium alloy that makes it virtually indestructible, but light enough to throw accurately in combat. the vibratory properties of the shield allows it to stay level in flight, and ricochet off of walls (and people) with little loss in velocity. It proved so effective, that Captain America would forgo the use of a firearm the rest of the war. He immediately began to incorporate the use of the shield into his unique fighting style.

Captain America, in canon, is considered the best hand-to-hand combatant in the Marvel universe. Using a fusion of western boxing, kickboxing, judo and acrobatics, he has defeated dozens of armed enemy soldiers without sustaining more than superficial injuries. I’ve loved how some artists have portrayed him in combat, depicting him as a blur of red, white, and blue amongst a group of heroes. I think Peter Parker describes him best in Amazing Spiderman #534 when he had this to say about the Cap:

“I’ve seen him fight dozens of times, tried to study his moves. But until this moment, I never realized there are no moves. It’s all just ONE move. From start to finish. Smooth, quick. A ballet. Fast and deadly. And powerful.”

 

What I have always loved about Cap is that in the Marvel Universe as a whole, he is very under powered. What good could the perfect human do against a 50 toner, who is adamant about rearranging your face? But through superior skill, strategy, and sheer will to fight, he has bested many super-powered villains in single combat, when by all rights he should have otherwise been destroyed.

Chris Evans as The Cap

As I said in my last “Who Is?” article about the Thor movie coming out this May, when I heard about a Captain America movie in the works, I could not think of anyone who could play him. This of course came from a fanboy’s perfectionist view, in that anyone who wasn’t a 6’3 240 lb athletic phenom, would not earn my stamp of approval.  When I heard that Chris Evans was cast as Steve Rogers, I was skeptical at best. While I like him as an actor and though he is a fit guy, I didn’t believe he had the time to get a physique to meet my inexplicably high standards.

Then the trailer dropped during the Superbowl, along with my jaw. Chris Evans got [email protected]#$ing JACKED for this role. More so than I expected in the time he had to get it done.  And to be honest, this was my only worry about the film. I think Hugo Weaving is a fantastic choice for the Red Skull, the head of Hitler’s terrorist organization and Cap’s main villain. Stanley Tucci as Dr. Eskrine is gold, although I’m sad that he will only be in a little piece of the film.

I’m interested in seeing how the story for Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers’ friend and sidekick, pans out. Sebastian Stan, the actor playing Bucky, is apparently signed on with Marvel Entertainment to do at least 5 more films. I assume this means that Bucky will become the Winter Soldier at some point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It would almost have to be the case, since the Avengers flick takes place in modern times, and Bucky would not be alive at that time unless he was the Winter Soldier. But even assuming they make a sequel for both the Cap and Avengers flicks, that still leaves 2 more films to be made.

I heard a Nick Fury film was in the works, so he could have an appearance in that, but what else does that leave? Is there a Winter Soldier film on the horizon? Only time will tell. Captain America: The First Avenger comes out in 3D on July 22. You’ve been wondering wear you can get a super shield of your own…

 

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Tags : awesomeCaptain Americacomicsfanboysmoviessuperhero
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.