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Headscratchers: Captain America
  • Cap's power level. He's repeatedly called the pinnacle of human potential, which is alright. It's preferable, even. Then they go and say he's just above it. Being slightly above human potential makes you superhuman. End of story.
    • Then there's the fact that by human potential, most writers often mean he's as fast as an olympic runner, as strong as an Olympic weight lifter, etc. Even if he stuck to human attainable levels in those fields, or slightly below them that still makes his superhuman as excellence in athletic field require significantly different body types.
    • Basically. He's as strong, fast, agile, and tough as a human can possibly be. Any given person can(with good genes and a hell of a lot of training) be as strong as him, as fast as him, as agile as him. What any given person can't be is all of those things at once, which Cap is.
      • Therefore, he exceeds the limits of what a human can do, therefore he's got super-powers.
      • Even then, Cap can't exactly fly or lift cars above his head and smash them on bad guys. He may be "super-human", but not to the extent of others like Superman or the Hulk. (Though, the Ultimate Universe's Cap is another story...)
    • So he's superhuman. So what? Why is this even an issue?
      • I forget who said it, but he described it as thus: You know that adrenaline surge that lets somebody lift a car off of a crying child, or temporarily run faster than an Olympic sprinter for a few seconds? In the case of Steve Rogers, that "surge" is active ALL THE TIME.
      • Then you get instances where he doesn't age (in some continuities), can hold his breath longer, can recover from deadly injury much faster than normal, and not get drunk.
      • He's able to survive being frozen for decades without injury, definitely a super-power even if it's a limited use power. But some people hate the suggestion that he's a superhuman because he's supposed to be 'the best human' physically and mentally but given the nature of what a superhuman is he's still a superhuman and so you get the conflict.
      • Cap's on that hazy, almost arbitrary line that separates "human" and "super-human" in the verse. He could be said to be either the absolute best of the Badass Normal crew, or the bare minimum for the super-powered set. It's actually part of his appeal since it means that he can fit into stories that characters more firmly set in one place or another cannot.
  • The designation of Captain America as the most experienced hero in the marvel universe...doesn't make any sense. He was active for maybe a couple of years during work war 2, was frozen, and was unfrozen decades later. While said unfreezing happened in the sixties, by Comic Book Time he was unfrozen what...fifteen years before whenever a given story is taking place? Which would technically given him two more years experience than most other heroes, and that's not taking into account people who aren't as affected by comic book time such as, and I hate myself for using him as an example, Wolverine, or Namor, who've been actively doing this heroing thing since the ealy 1900s.
    • Namor may not count as an example since he's not what many people would consider "heroic". I'll grant you that it seems a bit ridiculous to call Cap more experienced than Wolverine, who is canonically more than a century old at this point, but remember that for a long time Wolverine had no memory of his past. Can you really call someone "experienced" if they don't remember their experiences? And maybe it's just me but I don't think I've ever seen or heard anyone refer to Cap as "the most experienced hero in the Marvel universe". Still, I can imagine why people would see him that way even if it isn't technically true. After all, he served in World War II, one of the bloodiest wars in human history. How many Marvel heroes active today can say that?
    • Cap's experience comes from the time Korvac kidnapped him and took him to the future. He let Cap go, and gave him a fair chance to formulate a rebellion against Korvac's rulership. When Korvac defeated him, he would send Cap back to the point in time he first arrived to try again, but he would remember everything from his previous attempts. This kept on for over 100 years in Cap's personal timeframe, though he did not age. In addition to his pre- and post-freezing experience, he has an additional full century of trying again and again to oust Korvac from power. So, he's been an active superhero for around 120 years.
  • Why not try to recreate the formula by using Captain America's blood?
    • Because that's just not how science works.
      • Oh it isn't well how does it work and why would people in comic book land care about how science works?
      • Not the original troper to answer but anyway. Basically IIRC a lot of times people have asked the same thing as the original question did, they usually get an answer to the effect that it quite simply can't and doesn't work to try to make others with the same powers without them having some serious defectives or being completely insane (Omega Red can be seen as a prime example)indeed it is implied or otherwise outright stated in the past that it wasn't the serum that made Captain America, it was Steve Rogers. As such it was his determination and desire to fight for the ideals of freedom that enabled him to stop being either crazy or defective. This can be the answer to the question as people who are getting paid just aren't going to have the same drive for something as they don't genuinely desire it and by forcing criminals in, who knows what the scientists are expecting.
      • Couldn't the government still find a couple of people like Steve Rogers anyways?
      • (I'm the troper who answered the long paragraph) No they can't, because Steve Rogers is just known for having the determination to fight on really, that's his whole schtik. Plus the citizens in the Marvel Universe are generally known as idiots. And the last thing is that due to making so many of the aforementioned crazy/defective versions the governments might just have given up. It's like creating one sentinent nucleur weapon, then when you try to create another it either explodes as soon as it activates or tries to kill everything in it's path, you'd just say lets leave it be and explore other things.
      • That or, ya know, he's just got some really rare gene which is necessary to make the serum work properly.
      • Steve Rogers is so determined to fight that every cell in his body fights against the laws of physics in order to make the serum work.
      • It's actually less crazy than everyone is making it out to be. The problem isn't with the Super Soldier Serum itself. Ironically, the government was able to successfully replicate the Super Soldier Serum fairly easily, they just think they've failed. The Super Soldier Serum causes mental instability (as seen with 1950s Cap) and other problems unless it is stabilized with Doctor Erskine's "Vita Rays." Everyone was so focused on the chemical side of the project they missed, essentially, the part necessary to stabilize the serum in the body.
      • According to the villains of the mini Steve Rogers: Super Soldier it's a combination of factors: you have to choose a subject with a personal story like Steve Rogers', use the exact Erskine formula and stabilize it with the vita rays, and omitting one passage otherwise will result in the subject either dieing (incomplete formula) or go mad (incomplete or defective formula, lack of vita rays, not being like Steve Rogers). We still have to see if they're right, but the same mini had goons who had been supersoldiered getting an heart attack right after being defeated by the original.
    • In the Ultimate Avengers animated movie, Bruce Banner(who's working on recreating the formula) speculates that part of what made it work with Cap was that the specific serum used on Rogers was, either by coincidence or design, perfectly compatible with Steve's specific body chemistry. Expanding on this hypothesis, he uses a different formula for each of his own test subjects. Granted he doesn't have much in the way of success, but the theory does hold some water.
  • What would the Super Soldier formula do to a mutant?
    • It would probably do pretty much the same thing that it does to everybody who isn't Cap: they'd either die or go crazy.
  • Has Cap ever fought The Punisher?
    • Dozens of times, though he recently beat up on Punisher during Civil War Upon learning that Punisher murdered some villains supporting the Anti-Registration resistance forces.
  • Is Cap an actual Captain (US Army rank O-3)?
    • I believe so, yes.
    • I can't speak for the comics cannon, but the movie handles this with genius: Steve was first actually made a Captain for propaganda purposes. Then when he actually goes and leads the operation to save the prisoners in the film's second act, he earns the rank and keeps it.
      • When he served as the Commander of S.H.I.E.L.D., wasn't he a Captain?
    • A case of Depending on the Writer, he's often depicted as a buck private, or a Corporal in Brubaker stories, but Robert Morales had Cap referred to as Captain Rogers in his run on the title, as does Brian Michael Bendis.
    • In the US armed forces, personnel who are "missing in action" (which Cap's legal status would have been during his frozen period) still have their cases submitted to promotion boards when they have sufficient time-in-grade to be eligible. In practice, promotion for personnel who are MIA or POW is essentially automatic. So if real-world US Army regs are actually applied to his case then he has to be a minimum of a lieutenant colonel (the rank at which time-in-grade stops being a factor for promotion eligibility), and might possibly be anything up to a major general (the last rank to which promotion is possible by US army promotion boards; 3 stars and up requires the consent of Congress). As an aside, they'd also owe him 60+ years of back pay and allowances.
      • In addition, if we're getting into US army regs there is also that Cap is apparently still on active duty, despite being well past mandatory retirement age. There is only one category of people for whom that regulation is waived; flag officers. Which would strongly imply he's at minimum a brigadier general.
  • What, exactly, are the properties of Cap's shield? If it absorbs all kinetic energy, then how can anyone pick it up? Wouldn't the force put into lifting it just be absorbed? If it only absorbs the energy of high-speed impacts, then how can it ricochet?
    • If the shield absorbs energy, then putting some non-energy-absorbing metal framing on the rims should allow it to ricochet without disrupting those unique energy dampening qualities.
  • About the Red Skull: why Red? Here in Europe the colour red is associated with Socialism and Communism (and, in Italy, with Garibaldi's volunteers, who wore Red Shirts but kicked everyone else's asses). And to make it worse, he wears a black uniform: black and red are the colours of Anarchism. You'd expect Hitler and his protege to know all this...
    • Because his skull is red. Not exactly something he has control over.
      • That's the problem: in the comics it was originally just an ugly mask given to him by Hitler himself.
      • You want to know why a comic book written in America doesn't conform to color interpretations in Europe. Gee, I can't imagine why.

        Plus, Captain America's characters were largely established during WWII—well before "red communism" really became a thing, as I understand it.

        But more basically? Red is the color of blood and black is the color of death. Simple as that.
      • So it's just carelessness... Johann Schmidt is German, Hitler is Austrian, they would have known what those colours meant.
      • Actually, nevermind what I just said. Have a quick look at the Nazi flag. Yup, no way would Hitler ever want to use the colors red and black.
      • Got it: like Cap uses the colors of the US flag, Red Skull uses the colors of the Nazi one.
  • If the Red Skull is so evil and such a Bad Boss, how does he keep getting henchmen and money? Wouldn't his jerkass habits scare away any potential henchmen if they didn't have a problem with how evil he is?
    • It would be a similar explanation people use for The Joker - no one in their right mind would choose to work for him, so it's limited to those not with all their screws in place. A lot of his henchmen are fanatics, either to him or Skull's Facist outlook. Other than that...street cred? ie. "Hey, I once worked for Red Skull..."
    • In one of the Chaos Engine novels, and in the comics, it is explained that Red Skull recruits heavily from young white supremacist groups, skin-heads and the like. Being a former top Nazi himself, Red Skull would find it easy to manipulate such people into becoming his minions. "You are the Master Race, and it is your destiny to rule the world with me!" and the like. He probably pays them well too. In the case of one henchmen in the Chaos engine novel, he becomes horrified at what the Red Skull wants to do the world.
  • Has Cap and Magneto ever had an heart-to-heart regarding WWII? Cause I kind of think they should have one.
  • Cap has been show time and time again to be one of the greatest hand-to-hand combatants in the Marvel Universe. The problem is that they never really show you where he learned all that. He just takes the formula then, boom, he can suddenly go one-on-one with Batman, who spent 20 years training around the world.
The BoysHeadscratchers/Comic BooksCivil War

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