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  • Accidental Innuendo: "Captain America! I command you to-" WANK! Contrary to popular belief, this isn't an example of Have a Gay Old Time, since the issue this panel is from was released in 1990.
  • Adaptation Displacement: Peggy Carter's appearance in several newer adaptations such as Marvel Puzzle Quest and Avengers, Assemble! use the design from the brunette-haired Marvel Cinematic Universe version rather than the blonde-haired version of the mainstream comics.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
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    • Is Steve Rogers really still the hero the world needs, or just an old man whose morality and inability to morally compromise himself for "the greater good" make him a liability? Civil War's denouncement and later, the war between Cap and Iron Man in Hickman's Avengers hinged on Steve being portrayed as out of date and too pure-hearted to do whatever needs to be done, damn the consequences. Then again, as Linkara pointed out, Civil War should not really be trusted on this matter because Captain America and Iron Man are both portrayed out of character in the event for the sake of plot convenience. In fact, a lot of crossover events where Cap fights other superheroes tend to portray him out of character too, so make of it what you will. Also, to make things even more inconsistent, despite all the talk about Steve being "outdated" or "hopelessly" idealistic, his methods serve him very well. After all, he did become the leader of the Avengers and is still one of the world's greatest and most competent superheroes. Hell, the writers who try to call him out on those so-called "flaws" tend to portray him as an awesome guy who kicks ass wherever he goes.
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    • Hydra Cap falls into this too, given in a way after Hydra Cap made a fool out of Carol Danvers and Hawkeye, to eliminate Iron Man and Hulk as well as Hydra Cap's pointing out how the Tony Starks of the Marvel Universe treat the average normal citizen of the Marvel Universe like trash, lording over them with their wealth and power/technology and immunity from death.
    • U.S.Agent: Right wing asshole who is a disgrace to the uniform or The Woobie who had his life systematically destroyed by Red Skull explicitly for the purpose of driving him insane so that he would disgrace the name of Captain America and possibly kill Steve?
    • Falcon: Is he truly trying to reach out and support minorities and the LGBT communities and speak out for social justice because he means it or is it just cynical pandering done by Sam to prop up his fragile ego, since he worries deep down that he will never be able to live up to Steve's legacy?
      • Americops: just normal folks doing a dangerous job and trying to bring peace to the neighborhoods of NYC, or are they fascist rent-a-thugs used by the city of New York to circumvent restrictions placed on the cops to clean the city up? Depending on the Writer, they may or may not even be real people, but androids, adding further to this.
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    • Baron Zemo: Racist asshole who never changed or someone who did have an honest conversion to the side of good during the tail end of his time with the Thunderbolts and retired to live a normal life, only to be driven back to villainy out of rage-induced spite towards how Cap immediately forgave Bucky for being a murderous assassin (albeit a brainwashed one who was not in complete control over his own actions), yet never truly believed Helmut reformed?
    • Generally speaking, until Ed Brubaker came up with his own Alternative Character Interpretation of Bucky as a wetworks-type operative who killed so Captain America wouldn't have to, Bucky was largely seen as a joke character, with most writers portraying him as either a parody of 40s era teen sidekicks or as a Too Good for This Sinful Earth pure soul whose death served as a major source of angst for Captain America.
  • Anvilicious:
  • Ass Pull: 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.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The "Snap" Wilson re-retcon. Falcon's social worker background was retconned into being Fake Memories implanted by the Red Skull, and his true identity was a pimp and a criminal. Rick Remender, whatever else he may have done, wrote it into canon that the truly Fake Memories were that of being a pimp, Sam had always been a good, heroic man, and the Red Skull was not only trying to discredit him, he was counting on everyone else being racist enough to believe that Sam must have been a horrible criminal before meeting Cap. And just like that, a slew of Unfortunate Implications is mended without disregarding previous canon (as Red Skull is established as more racist than Hitler, meaning this isn't out of character for him).
    • According to Ed Brubaker, a lot of people were pissed at the way Bucky died in Fear Itself #3, especially since it wasted a lot of the character development he had put in for a character he had recently brought back from the dead. Cue Issue 7.1 where Brubaker reveals that he survived and that he will be returning to the Winter Soldier identity in his own ongoing series in 2012.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Under Brubaker, Sharon Carter has slid a fair bit closer to her Silver Age persona. She got better near the end of Brubaker's run and Warren Ellis's run in Secret Avengers.
    • After Brubaker turned him into a villain again, Helmut Zemo suddenly lost his prior Magnificent Bastard quirks and became nothing more than a joke. Literally, at one point he's reduced to hiring Z-listers then running scared when HYDRA Cap shows up.
  • Broken Base:
    • Who's the better love interest: Diamondback, Bernie Rosenthal, or Sharon Carter?
      • The ship to ship combat got even worse due to the well-received and widely beloved depiction of Peggy Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, which effectively rescued Peggy from the scrappy pile and elevated her to one of the MCU's top female characters.
    • Sam Wilson becoming the new Captain America has resulted in a split in the fandom. Some are happy as Sam is the only person alive currently that Steve would trust to take up the mantle (Bucky is currently Faking the Dead so he is not an option), but others would prefer if he just got a similar push in his usual identity rather than needing a 'promotion'. Then there are those who, rightfully or not, accuse it of just being a headline grabber, or those who are against the idea of him taking the mantle just because he is black.
    • His return to The Falcon identity. There are those, particular of the above-mentioned who did not want him to be Captain America in the first place, and are just fine with the decision. Others are not so happy, seeing it as a downgrade and regression from being Captain America. Though it gets brought up considerably less as a reason against the return, it also ends up stepping on the new-age Falcon's, Joaquin Torres, toes. That both Falcons, Sam and Joaquin, have gone into Comic-Book Limbo since Sam's 2017 series was cancelled helps absolutely nothing.
    • Not so much the character, but Bucky's actions at the end of Brubaker's run on Winter Soldier, where Bucky decides that no further effort should be make to restore Natasha's lost memories of him, without asking her what she wants. Fans are split between hating this and ignoring it, and not minding because he did it out of love.
    • In Bendis's New Avengers during Bucky's stint as Captain America, he encourages everyone on the team to pick up assault rifles. A fair take on the character, or Flanderization of him using a gun?
  • Cant Unhear It:
  • "Common Knowledge": While Red Skull is the most famous, hated and personal Arch-Enemy of Captain America, he was not the one responsible for putting him on ice and killing Bucky Barnes (until he got better). That was the original Baron Zemo, who isn't quite as iconic or enduring. Heinrich Zemo also died in less than fifteen issues, and the majority of his appearances are in flashbacks. The most enduring version of the identity is his son Helmut, who outright renounced his Nazi ancestry and lineage. As such, for the sake of simplicity, most adaptations just have Red Skull as the man responsible for both cases.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Critical Research Failure: The 2017 Falcon series has a brief team-up with Daimon Hellstrom, Son of Satan, who helps Sam fight his father, Mephisto. Except Mephisto isn't Daimon's father, his father is the demon Marduk Kurios, another Satanic Archetype in Marvel. This is possibly justified by the fact Marduk, Mephisto, and many other Hell Lords were once all one being, but there's no reference to this and the writing just assumes Mephisto is the Satan who sired Daimon.
  • 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.
    • With the severe Broken Base that has been the new Secret Empire arc (to the point that people have burnt the Free Comic Book Day prelude issue, so hard the Unfortunate Implications hit them), it's easy to say that many are now firmly convinced that Nick Spencer's "HYDRA Cap" Story Arc is this.
    • Probably the ultimate Dork Age (so much so even people on this very wiki seem to have forgotten it) is the attempt to keep Cap relevant once World War II ended... "Captain America: Commie Smasher!" It didn't take, and later retcons would say this was an imposter.
    • Sometime around the 1990s, the Red Skull openly denounced Nazism, supposedly because it was getting old-fashioned: In the future, he would be a much more dynamic villain. In other words, the guy who had previously spent most of his adult life fighting fanatically for Hitler's dream, suddenly and for little reason threw it all away, in order to indulge in pure, sadistic For the Evulz villainy. Later characterizations have since reverted to the Nazi Skull, though there is still considerable flip-flopping on whether he is primarily a Nazi Tautological Templar or merely a crazy sadist scumbag who likes Putting on the Reich.
    • A recent miniseries by Greg Pak heavily rewrites the Skull's original origin story, which was substantially based on the real Hitler's early life, and attempts to establish him more firmly as The Sociopath, among other things showing him as a mass murderer and Knife Nut long before he became the Red Skull. Fan opinion is divided on whether this is a good thing.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Baron Helmut Zemo is not the most prominent or dangerous villain in the entirety of Marvel (what with him being a Badass Normal in a world of superpowers), but his charm, cool appearance, sympathetic backstory and ability to play Xanatos Speed Chess often have fans happy to see him. Case in point: the crowd at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 reportedly went wild when it was confirmed that his Marvel Cinematic Universe counterpart would become Baron Zemo, complete with his actor Daniel Brühl putting on the iconic purple mask.
    • After decades of largely being treated as either a joke character or a source for Captain America's mangst, Bucky became one as the Winter Soldier, who went on to become a Breakout Character under Brubaker's pen. Him taking over as Captain America was so beloved that for a while, he remained Captain America while Steve Rogers operated without a codename. When it comes to the movie fandom, this got turned Up to Eleven after Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Bucky is currently one of the most popular characters in the MCU.
    • Bucky's pet cat Alpine is also incredibly popular due to being a cute animal involved in a lot of his softer or funnier moments.
  • Evil Is Cool: Crossbones, Batroc and Baron Zemo. And Cap as a HYDRA mole.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Most fans would rather not have the Falcon being Retconed from a social worker into a former pimp as official canon.
    • Same with the writers, it hardly gets mentioned at all these days. Anthony Mackie was also glad to have it ignored in his film counterpart's backstory. It ultimately became actual Canon Discontinuity in All-New Captain America #3; see Author's Saving Throw. Notably, Christopher Priest in his late 1990s run in Black Panther, pointed out that there is no version of reality where Sam could even have gotten a social worker's license if any of that were true. This comment camee LONG before this discontinuity was made "official".
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Calling Bucky a villain in the movie fandom. Notable because every single interview with Sebastian Stan includes a question like "What was it like to play a villain?" and Stan has gotten to the point where the question is visibly frustrating to him.
  • 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.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The original inspiration for the Red Skull? Joe Simon saw a hot fudge sundae shaped vaguely like a human torso. He had originally planned a villain called Hot Fudge until he realized the cherry looked a lot like an exposed skull. So...
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Bucky's codename as the Winter Soldier. While the in-story explanation is that he was kept on ice between missions, it also references the "Summer Soldier" described by Thomas Paine as one who shrinks from service in the time of hardship. The Winter Soldier is thus one who endures.
    • Also, the "Winter Soldier Investigation" was an actual media event meant to publicize war crimes perpetrated by US forces in the Vietnam War. And as we all know, Bucky is no stranger to war crimes.
    • And as a third reference to Russia's military history: do not fight a war with Russia during the winter. See: Adolf Hitler and Napoléon Bonaparte.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The entire "Cap Quits" storyline, especially the USAgent portions, given how everything bad that happened to him was caused by the Red Skull.
    • As an extra point, the issue that kicks off that storyline has a terrorist take over the Washington Monument, screaming that since the end of the Vietnam War America has "gone soft" and needs another war. That was 1989. If he'd just waited a few years, he'd have gotten pretty much what he wanted...
    • When Steve came back to life, Bucky assumed he would also return to being Captain America. We see him in his loft designing a new costume and identity, because he "doesn't want to go back to the whole Winter Soldier thing". Fast-forward to 2012, and sure enough, he's in a series literally titled Winter Soldier. Harsher still, in All-New Invaders, he tells Namor and Jim that his name is Winter Soldier now, and "time we all got used to it."
    • The Cosmic Retcon that Steve has been working for HYDRA the entire time means that Steve has now been brainwashed into being a terrorist agent by HYDRA, just like Bucky was by the Soviets.
  • 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 judgmental 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 showing 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 Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U just two days prior.
    • When John Walker was asked by Valerie Cooper to take on the mantle of Captain America after Steve Rogers abandonned it, Walker replied, "Ma'am, if Uncle Sam wanted me to be Mickey Mouse, I'd do it." Marvel Comics is now a subsidiary of Disney.
    • A popular catchphrase associated with comics was "No one stays dead in comics except for Bucky, Jason Todd, and Uncle Ben". Batman: Under the Red Hood was released the same time as Winter Soldier, and after the events of both, Jason Todd and Bucky were brought Back from the Dead. Nowadays, it's only true to say "No one stays dead in comics except for Uncle Ben".
    • In Issue #184 (which was published in 1974), when Steve leaps off the top of several vehicles in a row, one firefighter exclaims "Wow! That's gotta be Robert Redford!" 40 years later, Redford ended up playing the role of Alexander Pierce in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    • From Issue #250, after it's been reported that Cap would seemingly be running for president, J. Jonah Jameson complains that this could lead to other superheroes becoming politicians. Robbie Robertson then jokingly suggests the idea of Spider-Man being mayor, which naturally makes Jameson angrier. In 2009, it's Jameson himself, and not Spidey, who is elected as the Mayor of New York.
    • Whenever an interviewer calls Winter Soldier a villain, Sebastian Stan disagrees. At first, he'd just give his own interpretation of Bucky as a victim of circumstance, albeit one who always had the potential, but as the Cap 2 press tours wore on, he's graduated to making exasperated faces. Then Avengers, Assemble! comes along, and Winter Soldier is a mostly-lucid, non-amnesiac, vengeful villain (albeit still willing to set his weapons on stun for Steve).
  • 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/Bucky/Sam in general is a Ho Yay OT3 for many; besides the aforementioned ships, Bucky/Sam is in-itself quite popular, resulting in this.
    • Steve once sat on Deadpool's lap. Deadpool earns points for actually making Steve blush.
    • Steve and Hawkeye, who more-or-less took Bucky's place as Steve's partner and protege when he was thawed out. Though this is more on Clint's side, who often reads like he has a huge repressed crush on Steve, Steve could banter back, and when Clint seemingly died, it was devastating enough to make Steve disband the Avengers.
      • Notably, Clint doesn't get along with Bucky (and Sam to a lesser extent), in a way that is literally due to jealousy; nowadays it's painted as being over Natasha, but before that, it was explicitly because Clint was jealous that Bucky got to be the new Captain America and that he was Steve's original partner. This doesn't stop the two having their own share of Ho Yay, though.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Red Skull's obsession with Steve can veer into this territory. Examples include comparing their conflict to a dance, hiring atheletic young men to dress up as Captain America and fight him every morning while he is half-naked, often trying to steal Steve's costume or body, the typical Only One Allowed To Defeat You archenemy supervillains often have, and catfishing Steve by pretending to be his internet girlfriend.
    • Since Thunderbolts, Helmut Zemo has increasingly been written as just wanting Steve to like him. His plan for World Domination? To create a means of peacefully disarming any dangerous power -be it nuclear, gamma, magic, mutant, etc- then give it to Steve as a gift. His scarred visage? Now the result of jumping in the way to save him. The moonstones give him time-travel powers so what does he do? Undo the Kick the Dog moment from Under Siege and return to Steve the momentos he destroyed in front of him. These were just the ones where the writers weren't making a joke out of it.
    • They're technically both goodguys, but US Agent and Hawkeye really don't like each othernote , which makes the chemistry between them come off as this. Clint is constantly taunting Walker, while John would often watch with envy as Clint and Mockingbird made out (ostensibly because he had a crush on Bobbi, but it wasn't always specified which one he was jealous of), and nowadays begrudgingly admits he missed working with Clint.
  • Incest Is Relative: Red Skull says he had his daughter Sin with a random washerwoman because the woman looked like his mother.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • The Winter Soldier is Bucky. A big reveal at the time, but completely unavoidable these days. It's pretty much the first thing everyone knows about Bucky.
    • Due to the backlash from the sudden twist that Capt. America worked for Hydra the whole time it has 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), fought in one of the worst wars mankind has seen, 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, and eventually faked his death.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Baron Helmut Zemo is an egotistical supervillain who wants to rule the world. But he is only like this because of his horrible father, who basically twisted him into continuing the Zemo legacy. His father was an abuser on top of being a literal Nazi, and he still worshiped him through all the hard times, leading to him going supervillain and his own horrible scarring. He had to learn the hard way that his father, and his lineage, consist of horrible, horrible men. All of this made his view of humankind rather low, but he still continues onward. He also genuinely believes that the world would be a better place under his rule, while constantly struggling with his morality.
    • Porcupine, a total Butt-Monkey who was treated like a joke by both superheroes and his fellow villains.
    • Sin has hints of this. Yeah, she is a complete psychopath and murderer, but how else was she going to turn out with a bastard like Red Skull as her dad? He is so abusive to her that even Crossbones is made uncomfortable by it.
    • John Walker, the US Agent. Ultimately, John just wants to serve his country and be a hero like Captain America, but everyone hates him and treats him like a jerk. Of course, the reason why everyone hates him and treats him like a jerk is because he is one. John is also, notably, conservative, whereas the vast majority of the superhero community are centre-to-liberal, so he regularly butts heads with them any time the subject of politics comes up (which as he works for the government, is pretty much any time he's involved), even when he's genuinely trying to get along.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Steve has been paired off with a lot of people in canon and in fan works. The list includes Diamondback, Peggy Carter, Sharon Carter, Black Widow, Blind Al, Scarlet Witch, Carol Danvers, The Wasp (in The Ultimates at least), Rogue, Bucky, Iron Man, Deadpool, Thor, and many, many others.
  • LGBT Fanbase: As noted by Ed Brubaker himself here, the Winter Soldier is extremely popular among the gay community, as well as women.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Because some things are Older Than They Think, a storyline in the early 90s had US Agent supposedly shot and killed after replacing Steve as Cap. Soon after, the letters page was filled with various fans expressing disbelief John was actually dead. He wasn't.
    • 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, very few thought that the idea that Cap was Evil All Along was going to stick.
  • Love to Hate: The Red Skull. Despite being a thoroughly despicable individual (variously depicted as The Sociopath, a Hate Sink, or a Complete Monster), he is such a charismatic and three-dimensional villain you can't help but like him at the same time.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Baron Helmut Zemo, heir to the deplorable Heinrich Zemo, eventually rejects his father's fascist ideology. One of captain America's greatest enemies, Zemo led a near perfect defeat of The Avengers in the Under Siege arc, ending by engaging Captain America himself and coming close to victory. Constantly returning with daring new schemes, Zemo even kidnapped abused and neglected children to give them a loving home with himself and his wife, and later formed the Thunderbolts as heroes specifically to give them cover for more villainous activities. Eventually deciding to save the world by conquering it, Zemo returns time and time again. Sometimes as a deadly enemy and other times ready to defeat more evil villains than he himself, proclaiming he could never harm a world he works so hard to save.
  • 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 context , 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.
    • "Jordan Peterson is the Red Skull"explanation 
    • Bucky Bear, baby Captain America's closest companion in A-Babies vs X-Babies. Fans started making their own Bucky Bears and there's more than one photograph of Sebastian Stan posing with one.
  • Memetic Badass: Even the Goddamn Batman isn't Crazy-Prepared enough to fight him.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • The Red Skull's unscripted populist speech against the GOP establishment and illegal immigration in a recent comic is going viral on the Internet, and seems to resonate with the alt-right/pro-Trump or even just generally anti-left crowd, with some even claiming it makes him look more sympathetic than the heroes. Presumably, this very much wasn't intended.
      Red Skull: Your entire culture is under siege. The principles your country was founded upon lost in the name of "tolerance." Your religion, your beliefs, your sense of community — all tossed aside like trash. And you cannot even speak out against it, lest you be called a bigot!
    • Many others were critical of Marvel for including this segment in such a way, both those who support the statement and those who oppose it, because it comes off as both a very Anvilicious take on the "literally Hitler" argument, and because it makes the statements come off as reasonable ones made to look unreasonable by running them through the mouth of Red Skull, indicating that if anyone else had said them, it would come off as endorsement.
    • Captain America in general tends to have a weird case of this with how, because of the book being used as war-time propaganda and the patriotic imagery, there's a strong conservative following, leading to controversy whenever the writers pen something that is left-of-centre, or when a far-right villain shows up. One time, the Sons of the Serpent got a very sympathetic Alternate Character Interpretation from Fox News when reporting on the debut issue of Sam Wilson: Captain America, which depicts them attacking and kidnapping illegal immigrants. One commenter even described them as "patriots". These are the same Sons of the Serpent who are literally a hate-group used as a stand-in for The Klan. Similarly, the first issue of United States of Captain America had Steve narrate how the American Dream isn't "real" for some people due to poverty or misfortune, while others use it as a justification for bigotry and abuse. Fox News equated this as "Captain America hates America". This is something that's been going on since the very first issue, where Cap punching Hitler (at-the-time, Hitler was just the far-right fascist leader of another country, one which had a lot of sympathy from many Americans; this was before America had joined the war, and thus before the Nazis' atrocities had came to light), resulting in harassment from readers who took issue with the bold politics.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • As a young man the Red Skull murdered a teenage Jewish girl for rejecting his clumsy and creepy advances, even though otherwise she liked him and was willing to overlook it. He thought it was the best rush of his life and it served as a release for all the pent up anger and frustration he felt towards the world. One of the reasons he joined the Nazis was for more opportunities to have a rush like that, and it still serves as one of his prime motivations for his numerous crimes.
      • However, this story was told by an old, viciously senile Skull, casting doubts on its accuracy. It has since been retconned out of existence. He did rob the girl's father's shop, however.
      • Some people view just working with the Red Skull to be one of the lowest things one can do in the Marvel Universe.
    • Crossbones infamously crossed it when he assaulted and raped Diamondback.
  • More Popular Replacement: Helmut is far more popular and well-liked by the fanbase than Heinrich, due to having actual depth and values while just being a cooler villain. It helps that he has completely abandoned the idea of Nazism, making him much easier to like as well. Heinrich, though important to the lore of Marvel, is often considered to be a second-rate Red Skull (in fact, that was why he was made — to fill the role of Red Skull until Lee/Kirby decided to just bring Red Skull back), has no redeeming traits, and is every bit as evil as a mad Nazi scientist is expected to be.
  • My Real Daddy: Steve Englehart, Mark Gruenwald, and Ed Brubaker.
    • Ed Brubaker for Bucky Barnes all the way. Before he was just a fairly two-dimensional Kid Sidekick who died to become a Cynicism Catalyst for Steve, but Brubaker's reinvention of him into the Winter Soldier gave him brand new life.
    • 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 least 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 temporary death.
    • Viper was created by Jim Steranko in 1969, and first used in a Captain America storyline written by Stan Lee. The storyline involved "Captain America" vol. 1 #110-113 (February-May, 1969), and Viper gets killed in the finale. Neither Steranko, nor Lee ever used the character again, and the story is not considered particularly memorable. Viper returned and got improved characterization and more of a spotlight in the 1970s. Most of the key Viper-related stories of the 1970s to the 1990s, considered to be her best moments, have been written by either Steve Englehart, J.M. DeMatteis, or Mark Gruenwald. They each have had more to do with her characterization and enduring popularity as a character than Steranko.
      • Chris Claremont has a more controversial reputation when it comes to handling Viper. He has actually written more Viper-related storylines than any other writer, and he was the one who paired her with the Silver Samurai. He has done a lot to keep her in the public eye. His Viper stories, however, have included some of the strangest moments of the character, as he has repeatedly tried to revamp her and take her to new directions. The results have been rather mixed, and some websites accuse him of ruining the character.
  • Narm Charm: The infamous "Capwolf" story is... well, it is pretty goofy. It's a Silver Age-style story involving Cap and a whole town of people being turned into werewolves by a Mad Scientist working for an evil druid who's looking to become a god and turn everyone into werewolves (not for the god reasons. He just thinks it's a neat idea). Which for a comic made in the early 90s is pretty random. But it still has its fans for being a Silver Age-style story (and a good balance to the back-up stories featuring Diamondback being held captive and psychologically tortured by Crossbones, at the very least).
  • Never Live It Down:
    • In one period, roughly coinciding with the"Dark Age" of comics, an insane clone of the Red Skull renounced Nazism in favor of faux nihilism and generic egotistic and sadistic villainy. Out of universe, this was apparently because Marvel's editors felt Nazism was too risqué for comics — Which is sort of ironic given the decidedly family-unfriendly plots of this time, and how they compare to the dastardly schemes of the devotedly Nazi but otherwise rather PG-rated Silver Age Red Skull. The Skull has since recovered, and carried on with the fanatical Nazism he has demonstrated over most of his career, but to this day many (both fans and in-universe) still think that he is just a narcissistic nihilist because of this.
    • Nowadays, Sharon Carter tends to be almost exclusively known as the woman who killed Captain America, even if she did it while under mind control. She has also become infamous to some of Captain America's fans for shooting D-Man and Ian Zola.
    • Helmut Zemo renounced Nazism and even punched his father in the face via time-travel. Even before that, when he was still trying to take over the world "to save it", his politics were neutral and he genuinely just wanted to help the world, and even took a blast aimed for Steve. He genuinely seemed to love Songbird (a Jewish woman) and during his time-travel trip down his family's history, he saved the Jewish lover of one of his ancestors (and their unborn child) during a pogrom, and by the time he got to his father/WW 2 he couldn't bare to listen to the Nazi spiel. But alas, despite his character development, being a (former) Nazi is all most people know about him, which lead to writers returning him to villainy in the 2010s and for many fans to decry him as an irredeemable Nazi. In-part this is somewhat made worse by the fact Neo-Nazism made a resurgence in the late-2010s, thus making the idea of a former Neo-Nazi being sympathetic detestable to people.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Americop. A one-off character introduced during the Dork Age arc "Fighting Chance", the character has retained a fan following due to his connection to the Marvel 2099 line (grandfather of Punisher 2099) and his cool visual look.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Captain America's red, white, and blue shield is a design ripped straight from the The Apotheosis of Washington, where Lady Liberty uses a similar shield to protect George Washington's seat in Heaven.
    • Due to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sharon Carter is often perceived as a Replacement Scrappy for Peggy Carter. But she was introduced in the comics and developed before Peggy. In the comics, Peggy is little more than a plot device that causes Steve to take notice of Sharon.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Despite the Vocal Minority, which largely were not made up by Captain America fans, this was thankfully averted when Sam took up the mantle of Captain American when Steve Rogers was unable to continue under it. While some still would have preferred for Sam to keep his Falcon persona, it was largely well received by readers. Sam had been a well-liked and established character who had proven himself a competent partner to and just as moral a hero as Steve Rogers for decades. It also helped that, if Steve Rogers were taken out of action, Sam was the most logical choice to take over; Bucky was off-planet at the time and was Faking the Dead to escape a life sentence in Russia and a bunch of other charges, making him completely untouchable for the mantle. The only other choices were Hawkeye and Sharon Carter.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Sort of. Heinrich Zemo was and still is seen as just being a poor man's Red Skull, on top of being very easy to hate, but the identity of Baron Zemo is synonymous with Helmut Zemo, who is a major Ensemble Dark Horse for Marvel.
    • Bucky was not outright despised, but you would be hard pressed to find Bucky fans before Brubaker came along.
  • Saved by the Fans: Captain America was created during The Golden Age of Comic Books, and it was a huge success back then. However, his comic book was cancelled when the whole superhero genre lost popularity after the end of WWII (a crisis that only Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman survived, out of dozens and dozens of characters and titles). Superheroes eventually returned during The Silver Age of Comic Books, and Marvel started a good number of new heroes. Cap "returned" in Strange Tales #114 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers) as a villain, and fought against the Human Torch; it turned out to be just the Acrobat wearing his costume. At the end of the issue Johnny wonders about the fate of the actual Cap, and the text made things explicit: "You guessed it! This story was really a test! To see if you too would want Captain America to return! As usual, your letters will give us the answer!". Let's just say that Avengers #4 was released some months later, and the rest, as the say, is history.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The original Captain America comics are often seen today like most propaganda comics at the time, as cashing in on World War II craze going on. But the comics were made before America entered the war. As such the book was highly controversial when it came out.
  • Sequel Displacement: If you use the name "Baron Zemo", you are most likely referring to Helmut, who did not appear until nearly a decade after his father, and did not actually become Baron Zemo until nearly two decades after. If you refer to Heinrich, you are going to have to specify his name to avoid confusion.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Cap punching Adolf Hitler in the cover of his first issue.
    • The Avengers Issue #4 which has Captain America thawed out of ice. The cover by Jack Kirby is considered one of the great images of Cap, and the image of the block of ice with the vague shadowy shape, and Captain America thawed out as a Human Popsicle is one of the enduring moments of the character.
    • From The Infinity Gauntlet, Captain America facing against Thanos Defiant to the End.
    • Mark Millar's The Ultimates, i.e. "Does the A Stand for France?" for better and worse.
    • The climactic moment in Civil War where Captain blocks a repulsor blast from Iron Man with his shield.
    • For the Nick Spencer run, as you can probably guess, Cap saying "Hail Hydra" after throwing someone out of an airplane (for lack of a more neutral listing), outing himself to the audience as an agent of HYDRA.
  • Smurfette Breakout: Peggy Carter started as the love interest and only non-bit female character in Captain America: The First Avenger. After her popularity with fans became clear (due in no small part to her actress, Hayley Atwell), Marvel Studios has tried to include her wherever possible. Joss Whedon wrote a deleted scene for her in The Avengers, she's the subject of one of the Marvel One-Shots, and she has cameos in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Ant-Man. To top it off, she was given her very own television miniseries, Agent Carter, making her the first leading lady of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even after her death in the present, no look at the past in the MCU is complete without her, and the first episode of What If? will focus on her getting the Super-Soldier Serum. She’s gonna have more appearances across the franchise than Captain America himself!
  • Strawman Has a Point: The less megalomaniac variants of the Red Skull occasionally produce heavy-handed but at least somewhat valid social criticisms of American life and institutions in their Breaking Lectures. Whether intentionally or accidentally would depend on where the writer fits in on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. Similarly depending, Captain America either shuts him up by beating him or reluctantly acknowledges the point, then beats him anyway.
    • On the inverse, Flag-Smasher. Genuinely all he wants is for the world's governments to abandon their hostilities and unite under a common good. Sometimes, writers have difficulty making what he's saying actually come off as villainous.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • 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.
    • Ultimate Captain America gets a lot of this, causing a bad case of Broken Base. Taking the premier Nice Guy of the Marvel Universe and turning him into, more-or-less, a Noble Bigot with a Badge just reads as grossly cynical.
    • Fans of Helmut Zemo's later character development are... not terribly happy with the backslides he has taken since Ed Brubaker's Captain America runs, to say nothing of what Nick Spencer and Matthew Rosenberg did, discarding Helmut's Magnificent Bastard tendencies in favor of more "bwa-ha-ha" style evil. It's not even just that he's an evil fascist again, but that he's an incompetent one.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • Rick Remender's run ran into a number of criticisms, mostly relating to the portrayal of women. In particular, the relationship between Falcon and new character Jet Black was exceedingly controversial due to Jet debuting as a young teenager; she had experienced a Plot-Relevant Age-Up before the relationship began, but was still drawn more or less the same way. Leading to accusations of Remender promoting statutory rape.
    • The first issue of Nick Spencer's run generated an enormous backlash, to say the least. While absolutely no-one expects this to actually stick, Steve going "Hail Hydra" is regarded as lazy, shock-value storytelling at best. At worst, it has been called an insult to Cap's creators, given the origins of MCU HYDRA (which is what most people will be familiar with).
    • Brought up in The 5 Most Unintentionally Offensive Comic Book Characters, in regards to Steve Englehart's Retcon of The Falcon's origin. Basically, when Stan Lee and Gene Colan introduced the Falcon, he was a kindhearted young social worker who became a superhero because it was the right thing to do. After years as a dignified and mostly non-stereotyped black hero (rare for its time), Falcon got hit with a massive retcon in 1975: Englehart introduced a "never-before-seen" backstory mentioned above, which suggested that Falcon had secretly been a drug-dealing pimp who had been brainwashed into becoming a superhero so that he could serve as The Mole for the Red Skull... Yikes! Fans and writers alike have not been amused by this, Falcon's supposed "mole" status was never used in any meaningful capacity. As stated above it has become Canon Discontinuity, and was not implemented as part of Sam Wilson's backstory when he entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    • Notably, Rick Remender, the writer of All-New Captain America, completely ignored it when he gave a brief rundown of Sam's origin.
      Then, his community service becomes trying to bring relief supplies to third-world nations, which leads to him being shot down and landing on the Isle of Exiles. That leads to him teaming up with Steve Rogers who trained him to be the Falcon and take down the Red Skull. That choice to be a good man lead him to Steve and super heroics.
      It was such a unique and wonderful origin.
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • In universe the Red Skull is quite possibly the most hated character in the Marvel Universe; outside of it, he is widely considered to be among Marvel's greatest villains, if only for just how evil he is. Famously, in Batman & Captain America, the JOKER of all people refused to have anything to do with him after finding out that he was a genuine Nazi.
    • In Original Sin, it becomes apparent that Bucky was not very well-liked by anybody other than Steve and Natasha while he was a superhero. May be a case of Depending on the Writer, since this isn't shown anywhere else.
  • Values Resonance:
    • The above-mentioned story about Steve's accepting an old friend who turns out to be gay came out in The '80s.
    • It's rarely forgotten that the first issue's cover has Cap punch-out Hitler. What is often forgotten is that this was March 1941, about 9 months before America joined the war and long before it was known the full extent of the Nazis' atrocities, or how much of an evil bastard Hitler was. Suffice to say, being anti-Hitler was not as universally popular as it is now.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The art in Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier. Full stop.
  • The Woobie: Many. Steve himself, Bucky, Sharon, Sam, Diamondback, US Agent, the list goes on.

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