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War's denouncement and later, the war between Cap and Iron Man in Hickman's Avengers hinged on Steve being portrayed as out of date and too pure-hearted to do whatever needs to be done, damn the consequences.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 shouldn't 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 Also, to make things even more inconsistent, despite all the talk about Steve being "outdated" or "hopelessly" idealistic, his methods serve him very well.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.
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 Steve is the real Captain America?
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?
Baron Zemo: Racist asshole who never changed or someone who did have an honest conversion to the side of good during the tale end of his time with the Thunderbolts and retired to live a normal life, only to be driven back to villainy out of rage inducing spite towards how Cap immediately forgave Bucky for being a murderous assassin, yet never truly believed Helmut reformed.
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.
Meanwhile slash shippers fight over who should be Captain America's boyfriend: Tony Stark, Bucky Barnes, or Baron Zemo.
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.
Evil Is Cool: Crossbones, Batroc and Baron Zemo. And Cap as a HYDRA mole.
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.
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 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".
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).
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.
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: Red Skull. The whole reason he's so popular as a villain is expressly because he's so disgustingly and despicably evil.
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 Crossbonesis made uncomfortable by it.
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 revealhas 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 one of Setsuna's more memetic lines from the first season of Gundam 00 was him declaring that he is a Gundam; and this line was basically kept in the dub, meaning it's not just a result of a Gag Sub, 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.
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 one of three characters that have been said to never be resurrected. The other two? Uncle Ben and Jason Todd (who's since been resurrected, though...)., and turning him into a likable character, as well as a worthy successor to the Mighty Shield after Steve's temporary 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.
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.
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, ou 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.
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.
Cap punching Adolf Hitler in the cover of his first issue.
The AvengersIssue #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.
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.
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 backlash, 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.
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.
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.