YMMV / Captain America

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Steve now unfortunately gets some of this due to Civil War and Avengers Vs. X-Men— is he really still the hero the world needs, or just an old man who's afraid of change and, perhaps even worse, a hypocrite who failed to stand up for a an underprivileged group— i.e., mutants— when they needed him? He's trying to atone for the last one after admitting that it's true — setting up Uncanny Avengers, a book focusing on a team made up of Avengers and X-Men, to help improve human/mutant relations.
  • Anvilicious: This story from 1982. Also crosses into awesome and heartwarming, as it has Cap accepting his friend Arnie Roth's non-named-but-still-transparent homosexuality, saves his partner Michael from Red Skull, and tells the angsting Arnie that he's not a freak, but a kind person who deserves respect instead of being called names.
  • Broken Base:
    • Better love interest: Diamondback, Bernie Rosenthal, or Sharon Carter?
    • Obviously the Civil War storyline is a major source of this for both Cap and Iron Man.
    • A more recent example cropped up when Bucky became Captain America and garnered a lot of popularity from fans, which led to the debate of whether Bucky was a better Cap than Steve Rogers himself, as well as whether he should have permanently kept the role.
    • Was Sharon's death in Captain America #10 a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world or a horrible fridging, the main purpose of which was to give Steve angst? Not so base breaking anymore now that it's turned out she's not actually dead.
    • Rick Remender's run is already shaping up to be this. It's either a worthy successor to Ed Brubaker's work, or it's awful.
    • Sam Wilson taking over as Captain America. Is it a) a great idea for a shake up, b) a shameless publicity stunt, or c) damaging to minorities because it means Sam can only get respect on a white man's coattails.
    • Steve's new shield and costume after returning to the Captain America identity. Since the round vibranium shield is most associated with him, was it a mistake to have Sam keep it while giving Steve a new one? Or does Sam keeping it help reinforce that he's still a legitimate Captain America in his own right? Add the fact that Nick Spencer made Steve Rogers unironically say "Hail Hydra."
      • The end of the Nick Spencer issue revealing Steve Rogers as a HYDRA Agent really has fans in an uproar. While a minority think it's a good twist, the majority hate the very thought of this being the new status quo for Steve. While the writer's stated this is not mind control or an imposter, many believe this could be a cosmic retcon to be undone like Superior Iron Man with ''Secret Wars''. The angry fans are also split on the implications, including some unfortunate ones.
      • Whether or not Marvel's attempts at damage control make things better or worse. Marvel trying to appease fans by saying Captain America being a HYDRA member wasn't the same as him being a Nazi either somewhat eased things or got a Face Palm at the fact Marvel was surprised people came to that conclusion due to the fact HYDRA is heavily associated and currently lead by Hitler's self crafted 'ultimate Nazi' Red Skull making it an extremely obvious conclusion. The explanation that him being chosen to be a HYDRA agent because he's the most shocking character to imagine in that role either sounds logical, or is precisely the problem with it. While those with a positive reaction are still in the minority, there's definitely a notable split.
  • Cant Unhear It: Many fans hear Cap's voice as that of Roger Craig Smith, Brian Bloom, or Chris Evans.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Johann Schmidt, better known as The Red Skull, is the Arch-Enemy of Captain America and Bastard Understudy to Adolf Hitler himself. Once a bitter, psychotic street kid, this eventual Diabolical Mastermind began as a petty criminal with a violent streak. After having his romantic advances rejected by a Jewish girl who'd been nice to him otherwise, Schmidt flew into a rage, killed her, and finding he liked murder, set out to commit it again. Convincing a friend to try and assassinate Hitler, Schmidt stepped in and saved Der Fuhrer's life. He then donned a Skull-shaped mask and took on the role of a grateful Hitler's spymaster. Trapped in suspended animation by Cap, Schmidt awakened in the modern era and resumed his old ways. Firmly convinced that Dystopia Justifies the Means and that everyone needs somebody to bully, Schmidt has committed every crime in the proverbial book, from the petty to the grandiose. He made several attempts at gaining World Domination through the use of the Cosmic Cube (killing thousands of people every time), attempted to transplant Adolf Hitler's brain into Captain America's body, tried to bodyjack Cap himself on several occasions, and fought The Kingpin for control of the New York drug trade. He has manipulated the Scarlet Witch as part of a plan to exterminate the world's mutant population, used his Dust of Death to gruesomely kill any subordinate who fails him or looks at him funny, and has been the mover and shaker behind countless Neo-Nazi movements, fascist governments, and terrorist cells, most notably HYDRA and AIM. In a Bad Future he became God Emperor and spent his time triggering natural disasters, then showing up to inform people that he would not be saving them. When his daughter, Sin, was born, Schmidt planned to kill her for the crime of being a girl; he continuously abuses her. While in a relationship with Mother Night, he brutalized her constantly. With an end goal of reducing society to its most primitive, dog-eat-dog levels, Schmidt is universally despised in both the superhero and supervillain communities.
    • Besides Skull, we have Arnim Zola, Mad Scientist extraordinaire. Zola was a Nazi biochemist in his human years. To escape mortality, Zola used his cybernetic brilliance to digitize himself and survive inside robotic shells to continue his experiments. One of his worst acts was to create the monstrous Hate-Monger, and afterwards he continued to complete multiple experiments for the Red Skull, his usual employer and master. Rick Remender however, shows that Zola was a monster just waiting to cut loose. When he and Captain America were lost in Dimension Z, Zola becomes its dictator, and its God. He inflicts horrible experiments amongst the people, overwriting their minds to be loyal to him alone and turns others into horrible mutants that he sics on those who don't accept his rule. Even his own children there are nothing but pawns, his affection to them fake to manipulate them and he is more than willing to kill them if they do not conform to his wishes. Zola, to end his long war with Captain America created a way to get back to Earth, with a bomb that would kill countless innocents before Zola sent his mutants, with the intent of overwriting the minds of the people of earth and mutating others, a process that would kill billions.
  • Dork Age:
    • We can't forget the brief period time where Cap was forced to wear a suit of armor after the Super-Soldier Serum was breaking down inside Cap's body and leaving him paralyzed. It was the 90s, after all.
    • 'Capwolf' (Cap was infected with some lycanthropy serum) would be considered this if not for a strong dose of Narm Charm.
  • Evil Is Cool: Crossbones, Batroc and Baron Zemo.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: The original Baron Zemo's costume was pretty god awful looking. Strangely averted with the current Zemo's outfit, which, despite having the same color scheme and basic style of Heinrich's, actually manages to look pretty badass.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: If the reveal that according to Nick Spencer's story, Steve Rogers is a Hydra agent all his life stays canon, pretty much the entire series since its conception would be hard to read.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In issue #259, Cap is contacted by an old comrade, a "Mr. Coulson". One Ray Coulson, as is immediately clarified, but new readers can't help but think of somebody else nowadays.
    • In Annual #8 (1986) his team-up with Wolverine ends with Logan refusing to Save the Villain of the issue and letting him fall to near death. Disgusted, Cap tells him that he will never let Wolverine into The Avengers. Fast forward into 2005 - and guess who is his new teammate? To be fair, Wolverine was brought on board by Iron Man, while Captain America openly opined, after Operation Galactic Storm, about how he could be so judgemental about Wolverine not being Avengers material, when half the Avengers team basically executed the living computer of the Kree Empire.
    • In issue 332, when deciding whether to give up his title and costume, one of his negative thoughts is charging into battle wielding a machine gun. And then look at how Bucky's incarnation of Cap charges into battle...
    • Speaking of Bucky Cap, an old issue of What If?... ended up foreshadowing him taking up Cap's mantle 31 years before it actually happened in the mainline Marvel Universe in 2008.
    • Cap's first reappearance (Which was actually the villain Acrobat) in 1963 before joining The Avengers had him teaming up with Johnny Storm. Both would later be played by Chris Evans.
    • The revelation of Sam Wilson becoming Captain America has lead to people calling him Captain Falcon. The character of the same name was confirmed to show up in the latest incarnation of Super Smash Bros. just two days prior.
  • Ho Yay: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark. In an alternate universe where Tony Stark was female, they even got married.
    • Steve and the Falcon also have a lot of moments together during the course of their long partnership (the book was retitled "Captain America and the Falcon" from 1971-1978, and there was another series by that name in 2004-2005).
    • Bucky and Steve, both in their original adventures and since Bucky's return from the dead.
    • Steve once sat in Deadpool's lap. Deadpool earns points for actually making Steve blush.
  • Internet Backdraft: Even though few believe it will stick, the reveal at the end of Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 that Steve has been a member of Hydra for his whole career has incensed many fans. Even Chris Evans wasn't happy about it.
  • It Was His Sled: Thanks to the backlash from the utterly insane twist that Capt. America worked for Hydra the whole time it's become pretty well-known.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Cap himself. No matter how much crap he gets put through, he refuses to ever give up. Not even death could keep him down for long.
    • Bucky. Orphaned at a young age (and during The Great Depression to boot), lost his arm and his memory, used as an assassin by the KGB for sixty years, saw his best friend killed (he got better), tried for treason, and was acquitted only to be thrown into a Russian gulag.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Steve's been paired off with a lot of people in canon and in fan works. The list includes Diamondback, Sharon Carter, Black Widow, Blind Al, Scarlet Witch, Ms. Marvel, The Wasp (in The Ultimates at least), Rogue, Bucky, Iron Man, Deadpool, Thor, and many, many others.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Following the Civil War fiasco Captain America was shot by a sniper in the employ of Red Skull. He died tragically and everyone grieved and Marvel insisted over and over that he was dead FOR REALLY REAL THIS TIME, YOU GUYS! No one believed them for a second. Even ignoring the established fact that Death Is Cheap in comic books in general, Cap had a movie set to come out in a year's time anyway, and they wouldn't let the death stick. Turns out the bullet Cap was shot with? It was actually a device that cause him to phase in and out of space and time. He got better after a short intermission. All hail the great god Status Quo, blessed is his name.
    • In July 2014 it was announced that Steve would be replaced by Sam Wilson, because the super-soldier formula in his body is breaking down, leaving him an old man. Almost no one believed it would be permanent. As it turns out, it wasn't.
    • Understandably, few think that the idea that Cap was Evil All Along is going to stick.
  • Love to Hate: Red Skull. The whole reason he's so popular as a villain is expressly because he's so disgustingly evil it makes him stand out.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • The second Baron Zemo. He's an egotistical supervillain who wants to rule the world, but he's only like this because of his horrible father, who basically twisted him into continuing the Zemo legacy. He also genuinely believes that the world would be a better place under his rule and is constantly struggling with his morality.
    • Porcupine, a total Butt Monkey who's treated like a joke by both superheroes and his fellow villains.
    • Sin has hints of this. Yeah she's a complete psychopath and murderer, but how else was she going to turn out with a bastard like Red Skull as her dad? He's so abusive to her that even Crossbones is made uncomfortable by it.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Red Skull is the rare Complete Monster that manages to cross into this. Total bastard, yes, but at least he's a very effective one.
    • Helmut Zemo is a more traditional example, walking the line between outright villain and Well-Intentioned Extremist, while being an expert chessmaster and manipulator who can incorporate the schemes of others into his own.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Captain America punching Hitler on the cover of his first comic has become synonymous with Cap's badassery.
    • "Captain America! I command you to—-WANK!" (the "wank" being the sound effect of Cap's shield hitting the speaker, but coincidentally (one hopes) also being another word for masturbation)
    • Captain America's Evil All Along reveal has been mocked by many fans, editing the panel to have other heroes (and characters from other mediums as well) do something completely opposite of what they stand for, including Superman telling someone to save themselves, Spider-Man shirking responsibility, Deadpool forgoing chimichangas, Setsuna F. Seiei declaring that he is not a Gundam, and John Cena declaring that you can see him. There's also a related one, with Cap's text box edited to say all kinds of pure nonsense.
    • Related to the HYDRA-Cap reveal, people posting images of the trope picture in Even Evil Has Standards and pointing out that now The Joker, of all people, has more of a moral high ground than Captain America.
  • Memetic Badass: Even the Goddamn Batman isn't Crazy-Prepared enough to fight him.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • It's really hard to tell where exactly Red Skull crossed it, but his horrible treatment of Sin, his own daughter, definitely stands out as one of the worst things he's done.
    • Crossbones infamously crossed it when he assaulted and raped Diamondback.
    • In the 2016 Nick Spencer story, Cap himself, according to many readers.
  • My Real Daddy: Steve Englehart, Mark Gruenwald and Ed Brubaker.
    • Englehart, while he retconned 'The Falcon' into a pimp whose memories were rewritten by the Red Skull, he did start to give Steve Rogers some much needed character development and tension that broke him away from an unquestioning My Country, Right or Wrong attitude. Perhaps it all culminated with Steve telling a very angry Nick Fury, in the middle of a fight, 'Nick... I haven't gained forty years (of my youth)... I lost them!'
    • Gruenwald gets "My Daddy" points for realizing how bad Captain America's rogues gallery was and pretty much spending his first couple of years on the book introducing new villains to serve as bad guys for Captain America, essentially creating at last one for practically every ideology imaginable. In particular, he gave us the Serpent Society (a revamp of the old Serpent Squad) and Crossbones. He also created "The Captain" and the replacement Cap (later US Agent), one of the defining stories of Cap's character.
    • Brubaker, on the other hand, gets props for resurrecting Bucky Barnesnote , and turning him into a likable character, as well as a worthy successor to the Mighty Shield after Steve's supposed death.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Arnim Zola proves himself a geneticist so horrid that even Mengele would retch. This is best seen during a flashback in 'Castaway in Dimension Z', showing that he attached the head of his servant to the body of a dog, leaving her fully aware and in constant pain the whole time.
  • Older Than They Think: His shield.
  • Shocking Swerve: Cap saying "Hail Hydra." in the first issue of Nick Spencer's 2016 series and revealing that he was a HYDRA spy came right out out of nowhere.
  • Signature Scene: Cap punching Adolf Hitler in the cover of his first issue.
  • Snark Bait: The Reveal that Captain America was a double agent for HYDRA in the 2016 Nick Spencer comics has garnered a gigantic amount of Internet Backdraft, and has thus been widely mocked across the Marvel fandom and the Internet as a whole. Even users on This Very Wiki have made (or at least tried to make) edits that sarcastically mention this "plot twist" on articles that pertain to Captain America.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Ultimate Captain America gets a lot of this, causing a bad case of Broken Base.
    • Sometimes, this is due to how much Flanderization Ultimate Cap is going through at the time. Early on, Cap was pretty Fair for Its Day with just some old-school White Knighting and a bit of frustration with the more shallow aspects of modern culture thrown in. After Vol.2, most writers (and readers) just remember the "doesn't stand for France" line (something Cap says he isn't even sure why he said that in the next issue) and build their entire interpretation of the character around that one line. So, now Cap irrationally hates the French and is a Grumpy Old Man with a bit of Values Dissonance thrown in. Even original writer Mark Millar does it now.
    • The decision to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America with Sam Wilson. Some fans question why Marvel would give him the Captain America identity, rather than promote his own, already well-established, superhero identity, which was prominently featured in Captain America: The Winter Soldier no less? A good number of people would have preferred for Falcon to have gotten an ongoing.
    • The majority of opinions of Nick Spencer's story that Captain America's a HYDRA agent, and supposedly always has been.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
  • Values Resonance: The above-mentioned story about Steve's accepting an old friend who turns out to be gay came out in The '80s.
  • The Woobie:

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