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The Many Deaths of Captain America

Throughout the years, Captain America has died and faked his death a ton of times. We discuss all of them in the 616.

There's only one person that sucks more at dying than Mr. Immortal, and his name is Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America. He's died quite a few times since his appearance in CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 back in late 1940 and he's even tried to fake his death numerous times, unbeknownst to the reader.

What follows are some of the times in comics where Steve Rogers has duped the world by dying and resurrecting or by faking his death and coming back. Let's take a stroll through history to check out all the times that Cap has gotten capped. We will just be discussing Captain America of the 616 universe.

1. AVENGERS #4 (1964)

Steve Rogers' first "death" happened back in 1964, in AVENGERS #4, when the character was retconned and joined the Avengers for the first time. Before this point, Captain America actually had a career after World War II beating up communists and Russia. He never actually died though. He just stopped appearing in comics.

However, to add a little dramatic flair and to make Captain America the true American hero fans know him as today, his back story was retconned and now, he "died" after being thrown off an exploding plane over the Atlantic ocean, saving everyone through his heroic deeds. All of this was done by the sinister Baron Zemo.

This is the first time in the Captain America mythos where things were changed up to further his development as a character. Because Rogers had the super-soldier serum within him, the "suspended animation" gimmick made it a tad more believable that a man could "live" (without food, air, or drinkable water) in the frozen depths of the ocean for 20 years.

2. CAPTAIN AMERICA #111 (1969)

By 1969, Captain America had been fighting on his own and with the Avengers for a grueling 5 years. Since evil never sleeps, and everyone knew Rogers was behind the costume, Rogers wanted to make a change. He got it in CAPTAIN AMERICA #111 after he was shot to death by Hydra.

Rogers was supposed to meet Nick Fury at an amusement park, the best place for secret S.H.I.E.L.D. meetings, but instead he finds himself caught in a trap set by Hydra! He is attacked by the aptly named Hydra robot, Mankiller and Cap dives into the water to escape, with Mankiller firing at him. Rogers never comes out of the water and the police later pull a bullet-ridden costume out of the water along with a Steve Rogers mask. Could Cap be dead?

Nope. He faked his death to trick people into thinking that Steve Rogers wasn't Captain America. He wanted no one to know who was actually behind the mask and the only way to do that was to kill himself off. He tried to reinforce the idea that Captain America isn't a man. He's a mantle. While this is the first time Cap faked his own death, it was written by Jim Steranko and it provided readers with a pretty thrilling read, and at this point, it was completely unexpected and shocking.

3. AVENGERS #177 (1978)

Retcons and faked deaths aside, this is the first time Steve Rogers actually dies. In AVENGERS #177, the powerful Korvac lays the smackdown on the Avengers, but don't worry, no one remembers it.

During the Korvac Saga, the almighty Korvac was busy traveling the galaxy, downloading information, to become this super-powered being. Korvac started a fight with the Avengers because he was afraid they would get all the cosmic forces together to stop him. What happens next was Korvac killing all the Avengers, including Captain America.

Don't worry though because Korvac resurrected everyone afterwards because he showed everyone he wasn't evil. Then, Moondragon erased everyone's memory of the fight in one of the weirdest villain turns in Marvel history. Apparently, it's cool to murder people, as long as you resurrect them right afterwards, even American heroes who can't stop dying.

4. & 5. SECRET WARS #11 & #12 (1985)

It's been 7 years now since Captain America's last death, so SECRET WARS #11, back in 1985, seemed like a great time to kill him off again. Once again, it's not just Captain America that meets the sweet taste of death. It's also his fellow heroes.

In an ultimate fanboy move, The Beyonder decides to transport some heroes and villains to a planet to have them duke it out because the battle forums just weren't working for him. After some battles and Spider-man getting that sweet black suit (nothing can go wrong with that, right?), the heroes all sit at a table and everything explodes.

Yet again, Captain America meets his fate. Don't worry. They come back, but towards the end of the series, Captain America fights Doctor Doom, who has a hold of The Beyonder's powers, disintegrates Captain America, but Klaw, whose body has been taken over by The Beyonder, brings him back. Technically, Cap is destroyed twice during this scene, but let's just count it as one.

6. INFINITY GAUNTLET #4 (1991)

Another giant event and another time Captain America dies. However, it wouldn't be a truly memorable event without tons of people dying, only later to be brought back to life by someone else. This time, the threat is cosmic. Enter Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet.

The focus here isn't on the Avengers or Captain America. It's all about the space tyrant, Thanos, looking to grasp as much power as possible. The Infinity Gauntlet made him into a god and what does someone with an almost unlimited amount of power do? Well, you kill almost everyone.

While it's not 100% certain he kills Captain America, in INFINITY GAUNTLET #4, we have to assume as much after he gives Cap a tremendous backhand, then clears the battlefield with the power of thought and by thought, we mean the Infinity Gauntlet. As always, Captain America comes back later on through the power of the gauntlet, so all is not lost.

7. PUNISHER/CAPTAIN AMERICA: BLOOD & GLORY #2 (1992)

It's another case of of Steve Rogers faking his own death. It's been a year since he's died, so during this three-part miniseries, Cap dies again, but this time at the hands of the Punisher, who loves shooting people.

The same year that Superman died, so did Cap, again. However, the events of PUNISHER/CAPTAIN AMERICA: BLOOD & GLORY #2 came out before Doomsday punched Superman into his coma. In the first issue of this mini-series, Punisher ends up shooting Captain America because he was under the influence of someone else.

In issue #2, Rogers is wheeled into a emergency room, but tells Nick Fury to let him die. There's a funeral and lots of crying, but don't worry, he was just faking his death again! Cap and Punisher them team-up, covert ops style to beat the bad guy. Weirdly enough, we couldn't actually find the shot that lead to Cap faking his death, but we did find the panel of his funeral. Also, enjoy Punisher talking about binding testicles.

8. CAPTAIN AMERICA #443 (1995)

Captain America only has 24 hours to live! What do you do when you have so little time left? Maybe have some coffee with Batroc the Leaper? Here's a case of Captain America dying that ended up him not dying...

Steve Rogers learns from The Black Crow that the super-soldier serum is deteriorating and his heart will stop in 24 hours. Captain America spends some facetime with Crossbones and Batroc before he lays in bed and goes for the long sleep. There's a funeral and everything, in which President Bill Clinton is a pallbearer.

However, he's not really dead! A couple issues later, Cap awakes in some ice and learns that someone stole his body, moments before his death and saved him! Don't get too excited. It was actually Red Skull, who now lives in a body cloned from Rogers. Now, they are equals in power and skill.

9. ONSLAUGHT: MARVEL UNIVERSE #1 (1996)

One year later, after being cloned by Red Skull, Captain America meets his fate once again, but this time, at the hands of the most mind-bending villain anyone in the Marvel U has ever faced: Onslaught.

At the end of the Onslaught Saga, in ONSLAUGHT: MARVEL UNIVERSE #1, Captain America, with his fellow Avengers, are doing anything they can to stop the Professor X/Magneto hybrid, Onslaught. The entire world is at stake and in order to stop this super-villain, the Avengers join with him, knowing that they may never return.

They all died, kinda. Young Franklin Richards created a pocket dimension where all of the heroes ended up living. Things were much different in this universe, and Rogers had no recollection of what happened to him in the 616. After a while, all the heroes regained their memories and all returned to Earth where they continued to battle bad guys left and right, and Steve Rogers never died again... Wait... No. He died one more time.

10. CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 (2007)

At the end of Civil War, Captain America had been arrested and hope was lost for the heroes who opposed the registration act. Fighting for his freedom, Rogers ended up losing his life as well by the hands of somone closest to him.

In handcuffs, Captain America spots a laser sight on the back of an officer, and pushes him out of the way, getting shot in the back, by Crossbones. As he falls, a brainwashed Sharon Carter runs to his aid, only to deliver the killing shots to his body. Captain America gave his life, thinking he was saving someone else.

A pivotal point in Ed Brubaker's run, Bucky AKA Winter Soldier wore the mantle of Captain America even after Rogers came back to life. How did he come back to life? Well, it was later revealed that the gun Carter used to shoot Rogers didn't kill him but froze him in space and time. He is eventually freed and returns, but continues to let Bucky wear the red, white, and blue.

It's weird to think there have been 10 separate occasions where Captain America died or tried to convince the world he died. Sure, there's other moments, not taking place in the 616 universe, where he's died too, like when Punisher lost is and killed everyone in the Marvel Universe, but aside from Mr Immortal, it's hard to think of a character who has died and come back to life this many times. Death is a gimmick in comics. Sometimes it works and elevates a story, like with the end of Civil War, and other times, it's there for shock and nothing else, like almost every other time Rogers as died. We leave you now with Punisher shooting Captain America in the head, after Punisher shot everyone else.

Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a writer on this blog he never updates and a tweeter on this site he's always on.

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Edited by manwithoutshame

Man, Cap's costume looks godawful on that 1995 series...no wonder they killed him.

Posted by dagmar_merrill

Its Saturday Comicvine doesn't do articles on Saturday!

Posted by Maddpanda531

What about his most recent death?

Posted by 2cool4fun

Man, he died a lot in the 90s

Posted by G-Man

@dagmar_merrill: Actually, we have been doing a few lately. Have you missed them? And Awesome Art Picks has always been on Saturdays. Unless you don't consider that an "article"?

Staff
Edited by dagmar_merrill

@g_man: Yeah, I don't count the art picks. Anyway I was kind of just joking.

Posted by BatWatch

Love these kinds of articles. I have no idea why. The more twisted the continuity the more I like it.

It would be interesting to see how many times other heroes have died.

Posted by tensor

Nice

Posted by inferiorego

@batwatch: I've thought about it but few heroes have died this much. I'm sure I'll have another morbid article in a week though

Staff
Edited by WheatStalker

Oh, wow, Sharon Carter, Agent 13 from the Winter Soldier movie has been around a long time. How interesting.

I wonder what else you could buy with 12 cents in the 1960s ...

Edited by AmazingWebHead

So, basically we should just start saying:

Posted by Omega Ray Jay

I had no Idea he had perished so many times.

Posted by chaos911

Optimus prime dies in every series/continuity/whatever, though cap is getting up there

Posted by ScarletBatman

Cap's outfit in the 90's was god aweful.

Posted by ZZoMBiE13

So few sites have content every day of the week. Comic Vine is such a great place. :)

Posted by Ostyo

OMG They killed Steve! You bastard!

Posted by Spideysense44

Cap with the death wishes

Posted by cameron83

I liked Civil War,but I still never got that Time/Space thing.

Posted by Radx_Konkin75

He also died in What if Steve Rogers rufused to give up being Captain America, but that's not canon.

Posted by spidershamrock

Cap dying at the end of Civil War was great but the whole sent through time thing was stupid

Posted by youmessinwithme

should do the many many deaths of Thor =P

Posted by SlimJ87D

@inferiorego: he recently died in Uncanny Avengers as well.

Posted by kilowog52

I don't know if this has happened enough times for this to happen, but I'd love to see an article about all the other superhero identities Cap has used over the years like "The Captain" and "Nomad."

Edited by SpitfirePanda

Next, we get to see him die of old age. But before that, we get comics filled with action packed panels of Rogers shuffling through the old folks home. Will he reach the cafeteria in time for dinner? Will he miss out on tapioca night? Will he become a perpetual reference to Mermaid Man as he pushes his walker down the hall yelling "evil" without remembering why? Only time will tell.

Edited by jwalser3

Man, Cap's costume looks godawful on that 1995 series...no wonder they killed him.

Bro, it was the best ever.

Posted by Riosishere

Am I the only one who thinks Captain America is a really lame hero? He is even portrayed really lame next to the other heroes in The Avengers.

Edited by ColonelRunAway

You missed Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #8.

Posted by The_Titan_Lord

Nice.

Posted by Winter_Kills

Great article. Hate that pic of Punisher shooting Cap though, that's freakin' awful. But for me, the best "Death of Captain America" story was, without a doubt, Brubaker's. It had realism & emotion in every panel, you could just feel it building, & Cap "died" as he lived: saving an innocent person. It was grounded, realistic; he fell not in an epic battle with a super-powered villain, but instead saving a man from an assassin's bullet.(Though it was the shots from Sharon that caused his "death", this set up for it.) The metaphor of him using himself as a human shield was perfect. Putting himself in the way to save that marshal, even with dampener shackles on that made his movement difficult. Even Cap's last words on the courthouse steps were of protecting innocent people. He proved himself a true hero to the "end", & "died" as he lived. Even though we know the outcome today, it's still a riveting & emotional storyline, & that's mostly due to Brubaker's amazing writing. If this was Steve Rogers' send-off, it would've been a great one. But, afterwards, Brubaker showed us what all true Cap fans know- that the MU is a better place with Steve Rogers in it.

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Edited by kilowog52

@riosishere: My appreciation of Cap has actually been greatly increasing over the past year or so.

Posted by Ms-Lola

I had no idea Cap was killed and "killed" so many times, haha. Makes the complaints about Jean all the more ridiculous.

I've only read through the death of Cap after Civil War, and it really affected me. I'm glad I did, because now I can read through the others and enjoy a giggle or two.

Edited by Thatlyn Yoaeg'ill'rymmin

@inferiorego: well, I'm glad that someone remember "Punisher/Captain America: Blood & Glory" :)

In the '92, Punisher was my favourite character [well, in '92 in Italy, only a limited part of marvel book was available to a 16 years old fan], and now I'm a great fan of Captain America [likes chang with age]... and this story make a great work in compare the two hero. The final of the third [and last] issue is something that I still remember cleary, and I love it :)

And I hope that this mini-series will be recollected, soon or later, in TPB [in Italy? that will never happen =_=]... so new generation will know one important piece of relationship between the two soldier :)

Anyway, there is the 3 page sequence of Frank shooting Cap, at the end of Issue One:

Posted by Thatlyn Yoaeg'ill'rymmin

@2cool4fun: Everyone dies a lot in the '90s!

For both Marvel and DC, the 90s was a deadly and murderous period...

Posted by Teerack

Don't forget about his head getting blown off in AoU!

Edited by Thatlyn Yoaeg'ill'rymmin

@winter_kills: If you want another pic of Punisher shooting Cap, for erese the ugly one of "Punisher Kill the Marvel Universe" [very bad miniserie =_=], there is another, more serious and emotional and with more sense [however, non canon] from "Marvel Universe vs Wolverine":

Posted by manwithoutshame
Posted by Riosishere

@kilowog52: Thats cool man. For some reason I never really liked him. Also on film when he is alone he looks really cool like in his own movies but in Avengers he looked really lame.

Edited by Winter_Kills

@riosishere: My appreciation of Cap has actually been greatly increasing over the past year or so.

Welcome to the Cap fold, my friend! Cap is so much more than meets the eye; forget G.I.Joe- he's the real American hero! There's so much more to him than being a symbol & ideal; that's a misconception a lot of people have but fans know better. If you haven't already, pick up anything from Brubaker's run- it's all fantastic.

@winter_kills: If you want another pic of Punisher shooting Cap, for erese the ugly one of "Punisher Kill the Marvel Universe" [very bad miniserie =_=], there is another, more serious and emotional and with more sense [however, non canon] from "Marvel Universe vs Wolverine":

No thanks, I'll pass on that. But I agree, Punisher vs. the Marvel Universe was freakin' awful. On a different note, awesome Zemo avatar.

Next, we get to see him die of old age. But before that, we get comics filled with action packed panels of Rogers shuffling through the old folks home. Will he reach the cafeteria in time for dinner? Will he miss out on tapioca night? Will he become a perpetual reference to Mermaid Man as he pushes his walker down the hall yelling "evil" without remembering why? Only time will tell.

Haha!

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Posted by Riosishere

@winter_kills: More American than apple pie? haha

Is he your favorite hero?

Posted by Winter_Kills

@riosishere: Yep lol.

Yeah, he has been since I was a lil' guy-I've read him all through the years, through the good & the bad. My favorite heroes are him, Thor & Bucky. There are others of course, but those are the top three. And they always will be.

Cap appeals to me for a lot of reasons. He represents everything a hero should be, to me- & he's representative of the greatest generation. Steve Rogers is more than just the ideal of Captain America, he's a good man who is an example of that finest generation. My great-uncle was a paratrooper & fought in every major battle of the war, except Iwo Jima. He was there on D-Day, right on the beaches of Normandy. He stormed the bunker after Hitler's death. He saw horrible things, that affected him, but it didn't change him or make him bitter, it strengthened the person he was. He talked about it rarely, though he received the medal of honor- he was a hero, but was so humble. I never really learned the extent of his heroism until after his death- that's just kind of the man he was, he felt he was doing what was right, he didn't want praise or accolades. And it makes me so proud, to have had a relative like that. A true hero. Maybe that strengthened my interest in WW2 history, & Cap- but the way I see Steve Rogers, beyond that ideal that he represents- behind the shield, underneath the star-spangled garb- is a man a lot like my great uncle. A soldier, a hero- but also, a good & humble man. He does what he does, not for honors or accolades, but because it is the right thing to do. To fight for his ideals, & to stand up for & protect those who can't protect themselves. Science may have made him a super-soldier, but his heart makes him a hero. And he always had that courage, even when he was a skinny, frail kid from Brooklyn- the serum just unleashed what was inside, & gave him a body to match his heart & spirit. Anyway, that's how I feel about Cap.

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Edited by Riosishere

@winter_kills: Well said. I think he is a good character he just isn't one of my favorites. Though I will say Chris Evans portrays him wonderfully on screen. He is Captain America. You must have loved Captain America:The Winter Soldier! Any predictions for the future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

"Science may have made him a super-soldier, but his heart makes him a hero." This is a GREAT quote!

Edited by Winter_Kills

@riosishere:

Thanks man, that kinda just popped into my head when thinking about Cap.

And you're absolutely right Chris Evans IS Cap! He does an awesome job every time; I love how in the first movie they showed the greatness was there inside him, even as skinny Steve.(Plus awesome special effects). Evans & the crew understood that to love Cap, you had to love him as plain ol' Steve, & did a good job of endearing you to him even before he became a super-soldier. And you're right, I freakin' LOVED Captain America: TWS! It's probably my favorite Marvel movie. A great adaptation of one of my favorite Cap stories, with differences to make it unique & exciting. I like the differences between the first two films; the first was like a pulpy period adventure piece, while Cap: TWS was an edge-of-your-seat espionage/political thriller- which fits in with Brubaker's Cap run, & really works in the film, showing the versatility of the character & Evans played Cap to a T.

As for predictions of his future in the MCU- hmm. I have a feeling they'll explore more of the Brubaker stories in the cinematic style; definitely exploring Bucky's development as the Winter Soldier now that he has his memory back, & his journey for redemption, looking into his Cold War-era history as Cap tries to find him & aid him. I really look forward to this, as Bru made Bucky one of my favorite characters in the comics. I'm pretty positive this will be in Cap 3. They mentioned in Cap: TWS travelling to Europe, which made me think of the "Red Menace" storyline, also by Brubaker, which had Cap, as well as Bucky, in London, which I think would be interesting, but time will tell how they go. I do have confidence in the Russos though, they've done an awesome job. I definitely can't wait to see Bucky's past as the WS explored, & possibly even do a solo film, even exploring his history with Black Widow- they may even do some version of "The Death of Captain America" at some point in the future, with Bucky taking up the shield, at least for a time- I'd like to see that in the future, but they have a lot of development to do with Bucky & still things to explore with Steve. I do feel like the Cap movies are in good hands, & there are a lot of things to look forward to. Avengers; Age of Ultron is really going to set the stage for everything that comes next for all the characters, I think.

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Edited by Riosishere

@winter_kills: Yeah I think Chris Evans will eventually die as Captain America and Bucky will definitely take over. It was already hinted at twice. Plus Chris Evans said he doesn't wanna do this forever and Sebastian Stan signed a 9 picture deal. I think it really is a matter of time. My favorite Marvel character is the Human Torch and Chris Evans did an excellent job portraying that character. It is crazy since Human Torch and Captain America are such different characters.

Posted by NorrinBoltagonPrime21

Cap has nothing on Optimus Prime, he can't help himself but die

Posted by Winter_Kills

@

@riosishere:

I agree- he played a great Johnny Storm, too! I know, it's amazing that he can play two different characters that are polar opposites, & do such an awesome job at both- shows that he's got great acting chops, definitely underrated.

Yeah, I agree- from the interview & everything it's only a matter of time before we get Stan's Bucky as Cap, & I actually look forward to the development of that- Bucky's evolution & quest for redemption that leads him to taking up the shield. It will be very interesting to see how they follow & deviate from the comic with this; as long as the Russos are doing it, & Brubaker is on hand like he was for Cap: TWS, I believe they'll continue to be awesome films. Though a part of me will miss Evans as Steve, I also love Stan as Bucky. So it'll be bittersweet, but still awesome.

Cap has nothing on Optimus Prime, he can't help himself but die

Yeah, you've got a point there- I think Prime has died in every incarnation of the series hasn't he? I know he did in G1, the G1 comic, the G2 comic, Armada, Bay's Transformers series...I might be leaving a few out I know lol I remember clearly as a kid seeing the TF movie 86, & when Prime's death scene came up the theater got quiet- then there was a cacophony of screaming, crying kids & parents ready to tear their hair out or rip Hasbro a new one lol Now I think people are like "Well, Prime died again."

On another note, someone should do a post on "The Many Deaths of Thor" next.

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Posted by NorrinBoltagonPrime21

@winter_kills: http://tfwiki.net/wiki/The_many_deaths_of_Optimus_Prime

Thats the link for the Transformers wiki, it keeps track of all of Optimus's deaths. I counted 18 actual deaths, 30 deaths and near deaths.

Posted by Winter_Kills

@norrinboltagonprime21: Good Lord, I knew it was a lot, but man! "The Many Deaths of Optimus Prime" should be the next article. In the words of Bruce Banner to Gen. Ross: "If you were dead every time we thought you were dead, they could fill Arlington Cemetery with you."

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Posted by Riosishere

@winter_kills: What Marvel is doing in film in incredible. Honestly my favorite Superhero film of the year is without a doubt X-Men:DOFP. The story was incredible and I think James Mcavoy gave one of the best performances in a superhero film ever.

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