Steve Rogers will forever be known as Captain America, no matter who is wearing the mantle. Recently, it was announced that someone else will take over the mantle of Captain America, seeing as the super serum wore off of Steve Rogers and he can no longer carry the shield, literally. It may be a sad day for Steve Rogers fans, seeing someone else hold that iconic shield, but it's not the first time we've seen someone else take over as Captain America is Rogers' absence. Let's take a look now at who else held wore Rogers' outfit or at least a variation of it.
In a story that echoes the horrors of the Tuskegee Experiments, the US Army ended up testing the super soldier serum on 300 black soldiers, with Project: Rebirth. One of those men was Isaiah Bradley. It was a different time and Bradley experienced violence and racism while in the Army. The seven that survived were shipped off to war in 1942. During his time in World War II, Bradley is arrested and given a life sentence for stealing Captain America's spare uniform.
After 17 years in solitary confinement, Bradley is pardoned and finds the serum made him sterile. However, Bradley's legend lived on within the black community of the Marvel universe. Bradley ended up living with his wife and their grandchildren, one of which is Patriot, a member of the Young Avengers.
William Nasland: Spirit of 76'
William Nasland was the first man to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America. After Rogers and Barnes went MIA, President Truman asked William Nasland, the Spirit of 76', a member of the Crusaders, to take over the mantle of Captain America, to fight in the rest of the war. Nasland fought with the All-Winners Squad for two years, before being killed by one of Adam II's minions.
Jeffery Mace: Patriot
In original continuity, Jeffrey Mace was never Captain America. However, the 2010 mini-series CAPTAIN AMERICA: PATRIOT retcons a bit of history and tells the story of Mace taking over the mantle after Nasland's death. Mace was a friend of the original Captain America and wore the costume after not being able to save Nasland's life. Mace had no powers, but wanted to carry on the legacy. After the way, Mace was left doing PSAs in New York. He ended up retiring and much later in life, he died of cancer with Steve Rogers at his bedside.
William Burnside AKA Steve Rogers: Grand Director
Some folks love Captain America so much that they legally change their name to Steve Rogers and then become Captain America. William Burnside loved Captain America so much he got a PhD in American History and wrote his thesis about him. While in Germany, Burnside found the super soldier serum and the U.S. Government gave him the costume to wear during the Korean war. Now, with all the powers Cap once had, Burnside legally changed his name and had plastic surgery to look as much like Steve Rogers as possible.
After the Korean War, the FBI ended Burnside's tenure as Cap, which was the start of Burnside's downfall. He later started working with the government again and Jack Monroe got into a skirmish with Dr Faustus, who made him try and kill Monroe. Believing he did kill Monroe, Burnside killed himself. He popped back up again during The Death of Captain America story line where he tried to kill Bucky Barnes, while wearing the Cap suit because Barnes killed Monroe. To make things even weirder, at one point, Burnside tried to play dress-up with Barnes and tried to force him to wear his Bucky costume from WWII. Talk about nutty.
John Walker: U.S. Agent
John Walker started as a bit of an adversary of Captain America. Walker did things like not helping an old lady who was mugged and organizing the beating of exchange students at a college, while trying to discredit Captain America. At one point, Walker ended up actually becoming Captain America, but one that was a bit darker and more brutal. Walker dropped the suit and became U.S. Agent after meeting the real Captain America. After his parents were murdered, John became a darker character with little to no compassion for those he was fighting against. He still uses the U.S. Agent guise to this day.
Frank Castle: The Punisher
Yes, The Punisher was very briefly Captain America... at least he thinks he was. After Steve Rogers' death at the end of Civil War, Castle mourned the loss of the American hero. Even though the two never always saw eye-to-eye, Castle held Rogers to the highest regards and felt someone else had to wear the iconic suit. Unlike the majority of others who wore the suit, Castle put his own flair on the costume and became what many refer to as Captain Punisher. Castle passed the mantle onto Winter Soldier after a few issues and went back to shooting people in the face in a skull t-shirt.
Originally the sidekick of Captain America, Bucky went MIA with Cap during their missions of WWII. Bucky was found by the Soviets, rebuilt, and turned into an assassin called The Winter Soldier. He had no recollection of who he once was though. In present day, Cap made Bucky remember who he was, with the help of the cosmic cube. After Rogers' death, Steve left instructions for Tony Stark to have Bucky carry on the mantle. He remained Captain America for some time, even after Steve Rogers returned from the grave. However, Bucky went on trial in America and Russia for the crimes he committed as Winter Soldier, during this time, Sin, "kills him." Afterwards, Buck returns as the Winter Solider, but no longer working for evil.
While there's a couple other folks, here and there, who have worn the costume, these are the most important folks who have worn the Catpain America outfit. Who is your favorite person to wear the Captain America outfit, besides Steve Rogers? Let us know in the comment section below!
Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a writer, tweeter, comedian, and almost got a Captain America shield as his first tattoo... Long story.