Sunday

OMU: Daredevil -- Year Three

Something quite unexpected happens to Daredevil early in his career: he dies—at least as far as the general public is concerned. In order to solve some secret-identity problems, Matt Murdock takes the novel approach of killing off his alter-ego, then claims to be his own replacement. As a result, most people in his world—lacking our omniscient viewpoint—believe there was an original Daredevil who sacrificed his life in the line of duty. Everything after that point is thought to involve a second Daredevil. Even his fellow superheroes seem confused by this turn of events. I’ve always been interested in what the history of the Marvel Universe looks like to the people who live in it, and their story of Daredevil is surprisingly different from our story of Daredevil.

The internal chronology of the Original Marvel Universe works pretty well, I like to say—not perfectly. This post demonstrates how the sequence of events occasionally requires some tweaking to maintain a logical consistency. The major event here, from a chronology standpoint, is the election of Matt Murdock’s law partner, Foggy Nelson, as district attorney for New York. As the election is also featured in Amazing Spider-Man, this causes the Daredevil series to lag behind a bit, throwing off Daredevil’s crossover appearances in Avengers (requiring some minor details to be changed) and Iron Man (requiring one issue to be moved out of sequence). Still, I believe that making these small changes here causes the least amount of disruption to the timeline as a whole, and Daredevil catches up again early in Year Four.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Here comes… The True History of Daredevil, the Man Without Fear!


January 1964 – Matt Murdock continues assuming the persona of a long-lost twin brother, “Mike,” around his law partner, Franklin P. “Foggy” Nelson, and their secretary, Karen Page, in order to protect his secret identity. Matt has convinced them that “Mike” is Daredevil, though he often finds this charade more trouble than it’s worth. However, both Foggy are Karen are still angry with Matt for his seeming betrayal of “Mike” last month, so pretending to be his own twin allows Matt to avoid the tension and enjoy their company. Matt is invited to give a lecture at Carter College, a small liberal-arts school in New England, and while there, he encounters a professor who claims he was attacked by a big green alien in the woods. Deciding to investigate, Matt dons his Daredevil costume and soon finds the alien spaceship and fights with its monstrous occupants. As luck would have it, the aliens plan to conquer earth using an energy weapon that causes temporary blindness, which has no effect on the sightless superhero. The ray is activated, causing a wave of blindness to sweep over the globe—though most people in North America are asleep and don’t notice—but Daredevil quickly destroys the weapon. Convinced that they must abandon their invasion plans, the aliens beat a hasty retreat.

Back in New York, Matt convinces himself to ask Karen to marry him. However, when he arrives at the office, Foggy tells him that Karen has been kidnapped by the Masked Marauder’s gang in order to bait a trap for Daredevil. Claiming that he’s going out to find “Mike,” Matt instead becomes Daredevil and heads to the address left by the kidnappers. Upon entering, Daredevil continues to play the blind man and allows himself to be captured and unmasked, hoping to convince Karen that Matt Murdock is a brave and selfless man who is worthy of her love. The gang’s new leader orders Matt to be locked up while they wait for the real Daredevil. Matt quickly escapes, puts his mask back on, and fights with the crooks until the police arrive. Though Karen has responded the way he’d hoped, Matt suddenly realizes that being Daredevil’s wife would put her in constant danger, so he decides not to propose after all.

Daredevil hears the ransom demands broadcast by HYDRA, threatening to release a deadly spore into the atmosphere unless the nations of the world submit. Luckily, the terrorists are soon defeated by S.H.I.E.L.D.

When the Cobra and Mister Hyde go on a crime spree, Daredevil decides to bring them to justice. In order to draw them out of hiding, Matt disguises himself as their old enemy, Thor, and swings around the city on his grappling hook. Unfortunately, he is soon accosted by the real Thor, who is incensed that someone is impersonating him. Daredevil challenges Thor to a fight to prove that he is up to the task of taking on the Cobra and Mister Hyde. Though the thunder god easily bests Daredevil, he is sufficiently impressed to give the masked hero’s plan his blessing. Moments after Thor has departed, Daredevil is attacked by the Cobra and Mister Hyde, who quickly gain the upper-hand, only to suddenly abandon the fight. Daredevil trails them to an old barn outside the city, where he renews their battle, but they splash him with a chemical that deadens his hypersenses. Unable to prevent his foes from escaping, Daredevil slowly makes his way home.

The next day, Matt dresses up as “Mike” and goes to the office to tell Foggy and Karen that he has been struck blind. However, when Foggy spots the Cobra and Mister Hyde confronting the police on a nearby rooftop, “Mike” decides he must help capture them despite his handicap. He changes into Daredevil and, with Foggy’s help, convinces his two foes that he has regained his vision, putting himself in great peril to do so. The Cobra and Mister Hyde escape again, only to later ambush Daredevil and take him prisoner. They take the hero to another hideout, this one located in a remote lighthouse on the New England coast. There, Daredevil manages to sabotage the generator, plunging the building into complete darkness, which allows him to wrest the antidote from Mister Hyde. His hypersenses thus restored, Daredevil is finally able to fight back effectively. He knocks the Cobra unconscious, but fails to prevent Mister Hyde from escaping. After summoning the local police, who take the Cobra into custody, Daredevil makes his way back to New York.

The following morning, Daredevil tries to stop the Beetle from robbing an armored car, but he is so exhausted that the villain easily defeats him and makes a clean getaway. When he finally reaches the offices of Nelson & Murdock, Daredevil changes into “Mike” and informs Foggy and Karen that his “blindness” was only temporary. He then convinces them to take a vacation to Montreal by train, as he suspects the Beetle may try to steal a priceless diamond necklace that is being taken to a Canadian exhibition. His hunch proves correct as the Beetle raids the moving train and makes off with the necklace. Daredevil follows the villain to a nearby town, only to be captured by the Beetle’s gang. The Beetle decides to publicly unmask Daredevil at the exhibition in order to destroy his effectiveness as a crimefighter, and the long drive to Montreal gives Daredevil the chance to get some much-needed rest. Thus, the next morning, Daredevil is able to defeat the Beetle and his gang in a spectacular fight at the exhibition center. The crooks are taken into custody by the RCMP, the necklace is recovered, and Karen, Foggy, and “Mike” enjoy a week of skiing in Montreal.

February–March 1964 – When they finally get back to New York, Matt and Foggy get busy with several high-profile court cases. As a result, Matt has little time to go into action as Daredevil, though he does put in several appearances as “Mike Murdock” to keep Karen and Foggy from getting suspicious.

April 1964 – Growing restless, Matt goes out one night to patrol the city as Daredevil. He soon finds Electro and the Matador plotting to form a gang of his old enemies to destroy him. Daredevil swings down and attacks them, quickly taking out the Matador. However, Electro blasts Daredevil with a nerve-jangling jolt of electricity. Too stunned to pursue his fleeing foes, Matt returns home and goes to bed. The next day, Daredevil swings around Manhattan in search of his enemies. He ends up fighting with the Matador again, as well as Stilt-Man, but is forced to abandon the battle when he twists his ankle. The following evening, Daredevil encounters Frog-Man in Central Park and trails him to a nearby power plant, where Electro and his group are waiting. There, Daredevil battles the Gladiator, but Electro, Matador, Stilt-Man, and Frog-Man soon grow impatient and attack their enemy all at once. The chaos actually works to Daredevil’s advantage, and his foes’ lack of teamwork leads them to defeat.

Soon after, Matt decides to have Daredevil spend a couple of weeks with a USO tour entertaining the troops in Vietnam. During one of the shows, a wounded G.I. freaks out when his eyesight finally fails completely. Sympathetic, Daredevil goes to visit the soldier, Willie Lincoln, in the infirmary and tries to give him encouragement about living a normal, productive life despite his blindness. Willie feels hopeless, though, since before joining the Army he’d been a policeman and sees no way to return to that career. Sensing that Willie is in more trouble than he’s letting on, Daredevil advises him to look up attorney Matt Murdock once he’s back in the states.

May 1964 – Matt, Foggy, and Karen are shocked when the Trapster smashes through the window of their 15th-floor office. After roughing them up, the Trapster announces his intention to kill Daredevil to win back the respect of the supervillain community. Matt realizes that the law firm’s well-known association with his superhero alter-ego has put his friends in danger once again. After the Trapster has departed on his anti-gravity sled, Foggy and Karen exhort Matt to immediately warn “Mike” about the threat, forcing Matt to claim he doesn’t know his twin’s phone number. Incredulous, Foggy and Karen leave to notify the police. Once alone, Matt changes into Daredevil, feeling fed up with the whole “Mike Murdock” problem, and goes off in pursuit of the Trapster. When he finds his quarry, their battle carries them across the rooftops of the city, until the Trapster incapacitates Daredevil with some adhesive anti-grav discs borrowed from his partner, the Wizard. As Daredevil floats off into the sky, the Trapster sets off to kill the Fantastic Four. Daredevil manages to save himself with the grappling hook in his billy club, then races to the Baxter Building, where he saves the Invisible Girl from a hidden time bomb. When Mister Fantastic and the Human Torch return, they thank Daredevil for his help, but their conversation is cut short when Daredevil senses the Trapster nearby. Daredevil chases his foe across Central Park, through a department store, and into the subway system, where the Trapster is finally knocked unconscious and taken into custody by the police.

Before he can leave the subway, Daredevil is captured by Doctor Doom and taken to the fortress-like Latverian embassy. After toying with his prisoner for a while, Doctor Doom traps Daredevil in a strange device that transposes their minds into each other’s bodies. Matt is shocked as he suddenly regains the ability to see after twelve years of blindness, but he is immediately locked in a dungeon as Doom leaves to launch a surprise attack on the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, all the offensive systems in Doom’s armor have been disabled, but Daredevil manages to escape anyway by tricking the guards with his best Doctor Doom impression. In a desperate gamble, Daredevil goes to the main control room and broadcasts a declaration of war against all four of Latveria’s neighboring nations: Symkaria, Transia, Transylvania, and Yugoslavia. As Daredevil had hoped, Doctor Doom soon returns and switches bodies again so he can deal with the situation. As his world goes dark once more, Daredevil breaks free, grabs a fire ax, and smashes up the transference machine. Amused that the hero managed to outfox him, Doctor Doom allows Daredevil to leave the embassy alive. Daredevil immediately returns to the Baxter Building to apprise the Fantastic Four of the situation.

As he approaches the Fantastic Four’s headquarters, Daredevil is intercepted by the Human Torch, who clearly thinks Daredevil is really Doctor Doom in disguise. Daredevil maneuvers the Torch into crashing into a rooftop water tower, knocking him out. Spider-Man then drops in, curious as to why the two heroes are fighting each other. When Daredevil explains the situation, Spider-Man quickly swings off to find help. Daredevil continues on to the Baxter Building, where he is attacked by Mister Fantastic and the Thing. Spider-Man soon returns with Thor, and the six superheroes brawl until the Invisible Girl arrives and stops the fight with her force fields. She announces that Doctor Doom was just on the six o’clock news making a public address in Latveria. Mister Fantastic apologizes to Daredevil for the misunderstanding, and they all part on friendly terms.

Returning to the office, Matt learns that Foggy has been recruited to run for district attorney again. He is supportive of his partner’s ambitions, even though it means Foggy would have to give up his private practice. Matt is a bit disturbed, though, to discover that Foggy is dating Debbie Harris again, who is out on parole after serving six months in prison for her role in the Organizer’s scheme last summer. Foggy is trying to keep their relationship a secret, fearing the voters will reject him if it’s known he is dating an ex-con, especially since his opponent, Sam Bullit, is running on an extreme law-and-order platform. Matt is more worried that the public scrutiny brought by the campaign will expose “Mike Murdock” as a non-existent person.

When three of the Organizer’s henchmen, Ape-Man, Bird-Man, and Cat-Man, break out of prison, Daredevil tracks them down. During the ensuing fight, Daredevil learns that they have a new boss now, someone who calls himself the Exterminator. Though he stops the heist they were committing, Daredevil is unable to defeat his three foes. They throw him through a plate-glass window and stalk off into the night before he can recover. The next morning, Matt convinces Foggy to go public with his relationship with Debbie, before Bullit finds out and uses it against him. They plan a double-date at the swanky Palm Club, but the evening is ruined when Ape-Man, Bird-Man, and Cat-Man storm into the club and blast Debbie with an energy beam that causes her to dematerialize. Foggy is distraught, assuming Debbie has been disintegrated, but Matt’s hypersenses reveal she’s still there, just somehow out of phase with the rest of the world. He quickly changes into Daredevil and hunts down the evil trio, only to be blasted with the same energy weapon. Daredevil’s senses go crazy as he is transported to some kind of interdimensional limbo.

Daredevil struggles to adjust to the bizarre sensory input of the limbo dimension, where he soon locates Debbie Harris and some other people. One by one, they all fade away, allowing Daredevil to identify the subtle shifting of the energy patterns that indicates a rift is forming. Thus, he is able to leap through the next rift and return to earth. Daredevil immediately heads home, where he finds Karen waiting. He assumes his “Mike Murdock” persona to speak with her, learning that two days have elapsed since he disappeared. Karen also informs him that the Unholy Three, as the papers are calling his foes, have kidnapped Foggy. Using his hypersenses, Daredevil tracks them down and crashes into their hideout, where he finds the Exterminator menacing Foggy with a large-scale version of his interdimensional-displacement weapon. Daredevil fights his way through Ape-Man, Bird-Man, and Cat-Man and blows up the weapon. Everyone except Daredevil is knocked out by the blast, and, seeing a chance to rid himself of his “triple-identity” problems, Daredevil rips up his shirt and leaves it in the wreckage where Foggy will see it. He retreats to a safe distance as the police arrive on the scene and arrest the Unholy Three. However, the Exterminator has vanished without a trace, and Daredevil guesses he’s probably trapped in the limbo dimension.

At the law office the next morning, Matt learns that Foggy has indeed assumed that “Mike Murdock” sacrificed his life to save him. Foggy also reveals his suspicion that the Exterminator was a scientist named Philip Sterling, who had been a member of the Organizer’s gang but escaped capture last summer. However, since the Exterminator was apparently vaporized in the explosion along with Daredevil, they can never know for sure. Matt finds he is unable to feign grief over the loss of his “twin,” which causes Karen to accuse him of being cold-hearted. As Foggy informs the press of Daredevil’s heroic death, Matt decides to take a break from being a superhero to focus on his relationship with Karen.

June–August 1964 – Over the course of the summer, Matt Murdock and Karen Page spend as much time together as they can while working several court cases and helping Foggy with his campaign for district attorney. Finally becoming lovers, Matt and Karen grow closer than ever before. They enjoy attending concerts together, as well as various fundraising events with Foggy and Debbie. Matt is happy to let the world think Daredevil is dead, and begins to contemplate abandoning his superhero career forever so he and Karen can have a normal life together.

September 1964 – When a costumed criminal called the Jester goes on a crime spree and escapes capture at every turn, Matt starts to think he may be forced to become Daredevil again. As such, he goes back to wearing his costume under his street clothes in case he gets a chance to bring the villain to justice. Soon after, the Jester accosts Matt, Karen, Foggy, and Debbie in Central Park and kidnaps Matt in order to force Foggy to drop out of the race for district attorney. Matt warns the Jester that the “new” Daredevil is coming after him, but the villain is undaunted. Arriving at his hideout, the Jester locks Matt in a basement room, where he immediately changes into Daredevil. When the Jester returns with some rope to tie his hostage up, Daredevil attacks him. However, he finds he has gotten a bit stale during his retirement, and the fight does not go well. Convinced that he’s facing an amateur, the Jester is not impressed. Daredevil finally feigns being knocked unconscious, then follows the Jester into the city as he goes to report to his employer. The Jester heads for the office of city politician Richard Raleigh, but when they arrive, Raleigh is apparently already dead. Daredevil confronts the Jester, but the villain decides to cut and run since his employer has been killed. Daredevil pursues him, but the Jester manages to escape. When Daredevil returns to Raleigh’s office, the body has disappeared. That night, Foggy holds a press conference and announces the coming of the “new” Daredevil.

Daredevil goes to Avengers Mansion to attend the impromptu wedding of the Wasp to a mysterious masked man known as Yellowjacket. He mingles with the other guests, including Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Thing, the Human Torch and his girlfriend Crystal, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and his girlfriend Clea, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, Beast, Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. Daredevil also meets the Black Panther, the Black Knight, and the Vision. After the brief ceremony, a giant python erupts from the wedding cake and attacks the Wasp. The Avengers ask their guests to step out while they deal with the situation. About a half-hour later, the police arrive to take the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime into custody. The guests then return to the party to discover that Yellowjacket is really the Wasp’s old beau, Henry Pym, a.k.a. Goliath. Several of the guests are curious about the “new” Daredevil, but he refuses to confirm or deny their suspicions.

Fearing for Karen’s safety, Matt returns to his previous aloof behavior, which leads her to an emotional breakdown. Karen tearfully resigns from her job, and Matt speaks unkindly to her, hoping she’ll move on with her life. Foggy and Debbie are shocked by Matt’s insensitive behavior, but he refuses to discuss it. He returns home, brooding that he and Karen can never be together as long as Daredevil stands between them. Foggy convinces Debbie to fill in as the firm’s legal secretary until he can find a suitable replacement for Karen.

Upset about losing Karen, Matt takes to the rooftops as Daredevil, intent on hunting down the Jester. However, he overhears a police bulletin about a thief who has stolen radioactive materials from a nearby hospital. Daredevil quickly tracks down the thief and knocks him out, but while examining the loot, he starts to feel dizzy and aggressive. Itching for a fight, Daredevil heads over to Madison Square Garden, where Captain America is giving an exhibition for charity. Without warning, Daredevil swings down from the rafters and savagely attacks Cap. Though confused at first, Captain America defends himself expertly, and their battle quickly leads them through the building and out into the streets. Suddenly, Daredevil’s berserker rage leaves him and he realizes the radiation had induced a form of temporary madness. He flees the scene, ignoring Cap’s demands for an explanation. The next morning, Matt is embarrassed to read reports of how the new Daredevil was soundly defeated by Captain America, though Cap graciously insists it was all part of the show.

October 1964 – Matt Murdock meets with a new client—Willie Lincoln. Willie explains that he’d been kicked off the police force after being framed for bribery by mobster “Biggie” Benson, who used a stooge named Whitey Barton to incriminate him. Matt agrees to take the case, believing he can clear Willie’s name. It is from Willie that Matt learns that Karen has taken a job at the city’s Welfare Department.

A week later, Matt hears a news bulletin that an obscure actor named Jonathan Powers plans to reveal Daredevil’s secret identity at the stroke of midnight on the George Washington Bridge. Though it may be a hoax or a publicity stunt, Matt decides he’d better check it out. When he arrives at the bridge later that night, Daredevil hears a man calling for help and swings down to offer assistance. The man attacks him viciously, and as the crowd of reporters closes in, the man suddenly screams that Daredevil is trying to kill him. The man then wrenches free of Daredevil’s grasp, tumbles over the railing, and plunges into the dark waters below. The police on the scene try to arrest Daredevil, forcing him to flee. The next morning, the Jester appears on television to announce that he intends to bring Daredevil to justice for the murder of Jonathan Powers.

Realizing the Jester has framed him, Daredevil tracks his foe to Central Park, but their fight is interrupted by the police. Daredevil is forced to spend the next two days evading a police dragnet, which prevents him from changing into his civilian identity. With Matt Murdock’s home and office under constant surveillance, Daredevil decides to hide out at the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, the Jester turns up and keeps him busy until the police can capture him. The next morning, Daredevil escapes from prison and finally makes it to his law office. Matt explains his disappearance to Foggy and Debbie by claiming to have been mugged. After getting some rest at home, he realizes that the “murder victim” was none other than the Jester himself. Hatching a plan, Matt buys a Jester costume and wears it to the NBC studios, where he makes an impromptu appearance on The Tonight Show. Posing as the Jester, he brags to Johnny Carson about how he captured Daredevil yesterday. As anticipated, the real Jester storms into the studio, outraged that someone would try to steal his glory. Daredevil reveals himself and attacks his foe. After a battle that trashes the studio, Daredevil manages to unmask the Jester, revealing him to be Jonathan Powers. The Jester confesses to his scheme on national television, and Daredevil is exonerated.

A couple of weeks later, Willie Lincoln is ready for his day in court. Daredevil stakes out Willie’s apartment to make sure “Biggie” Benson’s goons don’t try anything. Sure enough, a hit-man comes to kill Willie, but Daredevil beats him up and sends him back to his boss. The next day, Matt expertly maneuvers Whitey Barton into admitting that Benson forced him to lie about Willie taking bribes. All charges against Willie are dropped, but Matt decides to go home with Willie as a precaution. When three of Benson’s hit-men show up that night, Matt tells Willie to hide in the closet. He then turns out all the lights and attacks the gunmen, trying to make them think he’s Willie. During the fight, Matt changes into Daredevil and finishes them off. Daredevil convinces Willie to take all the credit so the gang will leave him alone. As the police arrive and take the gunmen into custody, Willie goes along with the plan, reluctantly. Daredevil assures Willie that Matt Murdock will put in a good word for him with the police commissioner.

A few days later, an army of mercenaries employed by the international crime cartel Zodiac invades Manhattan, sealing the island off behind an impenetrable force field. They announce that, unless they are paid one billion dollars in ransom within 24 hours, they will liquidate the island’s population. Daredevil teams up with the Black Panther, who reports that they are the only superheroes at large in the city, as Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Quicksilver have been captured by Zodiac. Daredevil and the Black Panther attempt to rescue the Avengers from the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue, only to find the captive heroes have already been moved to Madison Square Garden to face public execution. Daredevil puts on some of his old “Mike Murdock” clothes and infiltrates the crowd at the arena, where he manages to use his billy club to sabotage the units keeping the Avengers in suspended animation. Once free, the Avengers make short work of Zodiac’s forces, and as soon as the force field is disabled, the National Guard pours into the city to round up the mercenaries. Daredevil spends the rest of the day helping the Avengers repair some of the damage caused to Manhattan’s bridges and tunnels by the invasion. That evening, Daredevil rendezvous at Avengers Mansion with Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Goliath (formerly Hawkeye), Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Panther, and the Vision. When the Avengers realize that the three separate cases they were working on were in fact all related to Zodiac’s invasion plot, Daredevil reminds them of the fable of the three blind men and the elephant.

Just days before the election, Foggy’s opponent, Sam Bullit, is exposed in the Daily Bugle as a corrupt fraud. As Bullit is arrested on charges of kidnapping, conspiracy, and other crimes, his campaign collapses, leaving Foggy running essentially unopposed.

November 1964 – Daredevil learns that Stilt-Man has been hired to make sure Foggy does not become the next district attorney. He races to the offices of Nelson & Murdock to get his partner to safety, but when Matt enters, he is shocked to find that Karen has returned. They kiss passionately, but, fearing that Stilt-Man is on his way, Matt immediately chases Karen, Foggy, and Debbie out of the office. No sooner has he changed back into Daredevil than Stilt-Man comes crashing through the window. Daredevil manages to drive the villain off, but he evades capture by fleeing through a perfume factory that overwhelms Daredevil’s hypersenses. Matt is frustrated that, once again, Karen and Foggy think he’s an insensitive jerk.

Two days later, Franklin P. Nelson wins the election for district attorney in a landslide victory. However, he is still angry with Matt, who ducks out of the early-evening celebration and returns to his brownstone apartment. As soon as he arrives, though, Matt is attacked by a large rubbery robot and knocked out. When Matt comes to, he finds himself lying on the sidewalk outside, being tended to by Willie Lincoln and his seeing-eye dog. Willie helps Matt up, telling him that he’s now working as a liaison between the police and the black community under the auspices of the National Urban League. Once he’s back in his apartment, Matt changes into Daredevil to wait for the robot to strike again. Sure enough, it soon comes crashing through the wall, but during the ensuing fight, Daredevil manages to give the robot a jolt of electricity that damages its systems. The robot retreats, enabling Daredevil to follow it back to its creator. Fearing capture, the robot-maker sets fire to his own laboratory, and in the confusion, he inadvertently reprograms the robot to kill his employer, “Biggie” Benson, rather than Daredevil. Though Daredevil pursues the robot to the penitentiary, he fails to stop it from killing Benson. After finally disabling the robot, Daredevil heads home to his wrecked apartment, starting to feel weak and dizzy.

Matt then phones Karen and arranges to meet her for a late dinner. On his way to the restaurant, Matt encounters the roboticist, who reveals that he knows Matt is Daredevil. Introducing himself as Starr Saxon, the roboticist then disappears into the crowd. Matt’s head is throbbing too much for him to get a fix on Saxon with his radar sense. At the restaurant, Matt’s condition worsens, and when he senses Saxon is nearby, he tries to lead him away from Karen. Unfortunately, Matt passes out in the alley behind the building. He is soon found by the Black Panther, who follows him back to his apartment. There, Matt starts to feel better and becomes Daredevil again to rescue Karen from Saxon. Foggy then arrives with the police and alerts Daredevil that the robot was highly radioactive, which is what made him sick. Fearing that Saxon will expose his secret identity, Daredevil lets him escape, and the Black Panther agrees not to intervene. Frustrated, Daredevil broods about the situation until dawn, then decides the only way to foil Saxon’s plans is to fake his own death—again—and kill off Matt Murdock.

A couple of days later, Matt stages an elaborate demise by crashing a single-engine plane into Long Island Sound. As the newspapers report Matt Murdock’s tragic death, Daredevil terrorizes the underworld in search of information on the whereabouts of Starr Saxon. After getting into an argument with Spider-Man, Daredevil learns that his old foe, Zoltan Drago, a.k.a. Mister Fear, has gotten out of prison and challenged him to a duel at the Central Park Zoo. Daredevil decides to put his search for Saxon on hold to see what Mister Fear is up to. The fight at the zoo goes badly for Daredevil, who falls victim to his foe’s power to induce panic attacks. Looking for a place to hide out afterwards, Daredevil returns to the law offices of Nelson & Murdock, where he finds Foggy and Karen going through Matt’s case files and personal effects. Pretending to be the “new” Daredevil, he asks Foggy for information on Zoltan Drago, and thus learns he suffered from an intense fear of heights. Since the Mister Fear he fought at the zoo was zipping through the air on a large flying disc, Daredevil suspects he was an impostor. The next day, Daredevil tracks down Mister Fear and discovers him to be none other than Starr Saxon, who admits to having killed Drago and stolen his costume and equipment. However, during the fight, Saxon loses his footing, falls off his flying disc, and plunges to his doom. Though Saxon’s body is not found, Daredevil is convinced his foe is dead and is relieved to be out from under the shadow of blackmail.

Daredevil learns from Foggy that the bereaved Karen has gone back to her family’s estate in Fagan Corners, Vermont. Intending to finally tell her the truth about his multiple identities, Daredevil makes his way to the Page family’s Victorian mansion, but when he arrives, he is accosted by a bizarre apparition calling itself Death’s-Head. Undaunted, Daredevil storms into the house, where Karen and her mother inform him that Karen’s father, the disgraced nuclear scientist Paxton Page, has disappeared, perhaps kidnapped by enemy agents. Later that night, Daredevil battles Death’s-Head but is defeated. Upon returning to the house, Daredevil learns that Death’s-Head is a manifestation of a figure from nightmares Karen had as a child. Suspecting the butler, Daredevil tails him to a nearby abandoned mill, underneath which is a secret laboratory. However, when Death’s-Head threatens them both, Daredevil realizes the villain must be Paxton Page himself. His hunch is proven correct when Death’s-Head sacrifices himself to save Karen from the death-trap he’d sprung for Daredevil. The butler reveals himself as a government agent assigned to protect Paxton Page from foreign spies, though he admits he couldn’t protect Page from the radiation that ultimately drove him mad.

Following Paxton Page’s funeral two days later, Daredevil reveals to Karen that he is Matt Murdock. Stunned to learn that not only is Matt alive, but he is also a superhero, Karen faints. Daredevil carries her back to her room, where she soon revives. As they discuss the situation, Karen realizes that both “Mike Murdock” and the plane crash that “killed” Matt were just elaborate frauds. She assumes that Matt is not really blind, either, but he explains about the childhood accident that took away his sight and granted him his superhuman senses. The next day, they return to New York, where a stunned Foggy quickly arranges a press conference. They explain away Matt’s apparent death as part of the new district attorney’s scheme to trap Mister Fear, claiming that Matt spent the last ten days hiding out in Vermont. Foggy then surprises Matt by announcing that he will serve as Foggy’s Special Assistant for an investigation into the mysterious underworld figure known as “Crime-Wave,” who is trying to unite all the New York gangs into one syndicate. Afterwards, Matt asks Karen to marry him, but she is hesitant to commit if he intends to continue putting his life at risk as Daredevil. He assures her that tomorrow’s charity appearance will be Daredevil’s farewell performance.

The next afternoon, Daredevil attempts to make a speech at a UNICEF parade, but he is interrupted by a motorcycle-riding assassin calling himself Stunt-Master. Daredevil easily defeats Stunt-Master, who admits that he was offered $1,000 by Crime-Wave to kill Daredevil. Realizing that too many criminals would be glad to be rid of Daredevil, Matt decides not to announce his retirement after all. Bitterly disappointed, Karen leaves, but the crowd prevents Daredevil from going after her. Later, Matt grows frustrated when Karen tries to distance herself from him. A day or two later, Stunt-Master, a.k.a. George Smith, is arraigned on the charge of attempted murder, but gets off on a technicality and goes home to California.

Daredevil spends the next week trying to break up Crime-Wave’s protection racket, but meets with limited success. Luckily, Willie Lincoln manages to discover the location of Crime-Wave’s secret headquarters, which Foggy publicizes in order to bait a trap. When a hired killer known as the Torpedo comes after Willie, Daredevil is waiting for him. Although the Torpedo gets the better of Daredevil, Willie knocks him off the roof where they are fighting, and the assassin falls to his death. The next day, Matt infiltrates the staff aboard Crime-Wave’s gambling ship, anchored outside the twelve-mile limit. With some unwitting help from Debbie Harris, Daredevil is able to catch Crime-Wave red-handed and send his ship back into U.S. territorial waters, where the Harbor Patrol can arrest all the crooks. Foggy personally unmasks Crime-Wave and is shocked to discover he is one of the top assistants in the district attorney’s office, Mason Hollis. Despite his success in smashing Crime-Wave’s syndicate, Matt then spends a depressing Thanksgiving Day alone in his apartment, brooding about Karen.

A couple of days later, Karen agrees to a dinner date, but she gets upset when Matt decides he must try to capture the Cobra and Mister Hyde after they rob the Guggenheim Museum. Karen refuses to listen to Matt’s explanations of why he can’t give up being Daredevil, so he takes her home. At the museum, Daredevil is intrigued to learn that the two villains stole only a few antique toys, but since there are no other leads, he goes home to bed. The next day, a carnival owner named Lemuel Frye leads Daredevil into a trap, where he discovers that the Cobra and Mister Hyde are in league with the Jester. The three villains have converted the carnival rides into death-traps, but, though Frye is killed, Daredevil escapes and defeats the evil trio in the Hall of Mirrors. The police arrive, led there by Karen, and take the villains into custody. When Daredevil thanks Karen for the help, she angrily reminds him that it is her birthday, but he obviously had other plans.

December 1964 – Receiving an anonymous tip, Daredevil goes to stop the robbery of a Broadway theater box office. He is beaten to the punch by a new superhero calling himself Nighthawk. However, the next evening, Matt learns that the two crooks apprehended by Nighthawk were never turned over to the police. Suspicious, Matt tracks Nighthawk’s meteoric rise to public acclaim over the next several days, and finally decides to expose Nighthawk as a fraud. Disguised as a jewel thief, Daredevil ensures that he is caught red-handed by Nighthawk, but his bag of loot contains a hidden microphone. Nighthawk admits that he’s not really interested in fighting crime and just wants to be a celebrity, and his words are broadcast to the crowd below. Daredevil then reveals himself and chides Nighthawk for becoming a phony hero instead of a real one. They get into a fight, but the disgraced Nighthawk escapes into the subway system.

A few days later, Matt accompanies Foggy to a Long Island police precinct where five industrial spies, known as the Espionage Elite, are being held after their capture at Stark Industries. Iron Man arrives to interrogate the spies as to the whereabouts of their leader, Spymaster. When the angry Golden Avenger gets too rough with the prisoners, Matt intervenes. Iron Man storms out, leaving Matt and Foggy to continue their investigation. Later that afternoon, though, Matt decides that Daredevil should check up on Iron Man. Near Stark Industries, Daredevil comes across a woman skulking around the rooftops in a catsuit and a metal facemask. At first he thinks she might be a cat burglar, but they are both ambushed by Spymaster and taken prisoner. The woman identifies herself as Madam Masque, and she and Daredevil make an escape attempt, but they are knocked out by a force field. When he regains consciousness, Daredevil finds that he, Madam Masque, Iron Man, Nick Fury, and an Irishman are the helpless prisoners of Spymaster and three members of Zodiac: Aquarius, Capricorn, and Sagittarius. A weapon called the Zodiac Key is then used to transport them all to another dimension ruled by a group of mystics called the Brotherhood of Ankh. The mystics insist that the heroes and villains all battle each other, so their conflict will recharge the Zodiac Key’s energies. However, Daredevil refuses to fight, leaving the Brotherhood with no choice but to return them to earth. When the group materializes at Stark Industries, the members of Zodiac are quickly captured, but Spymaster escapes. Nick Fury then gives Daredevil a lift back to Manhattan.

The next morning, Karen announces that she’s quitting her job and leaving town. Matt tries to talk her out of it, but she refuses to discuss it and storms out in tears. Nevertheless, Matt accompanies Foggy out to Ryker’s Island Prison, where Melvin Potter, a.k.a. the Gladiator, is claiming to have amnesia. During the interview, Matt’s hypersenses immediately reveal Potter to be lying, but he has to keep it to himself. In an effort to prove to Potter that he is the Gladiator, Foggy has him put on his armored costume. As expected, as soon as he snaps his circular saw blades to his gauntlets, the Gladiator attacks them. Matt slips out, changes into Daredevil, and fights with the Gladiator. The villain soon discovers that the district attorney switched out his real saw blades for cheap imitations, and he is recaptured. Later that day, Matt follows Karen out to Los Angeles, where he tracks down Karen’s college roommate, Sally Weston. Sally claims to think Karen is still in New York, and Matt can’t tell whether or not she’s lying over the telephone. He changes into Daredevil and searches the city for Karen, without success.

After nearly two weeks of searching for Karen, Daredevil stumbles upon Stunt-Master committing a robbery. Daredevil quickly captures him, and Stunt-Master admits he’d been trying to go straight until getting bamboozled into doing one last job. They hatch a plan to switch costumes in order to catch the crooks that set Stunt-Master up. Disguised as Stunt-Master, Daredevil meets with the men who hired him and learns that the mastermind behind the plot was the robbery victim himself, who’s trying to scam the studio he works for out of a fortune. Daredevil and Stunt-Master knock the crooks out and slip away as the LAPD storms in. They exchange costumes again, then return to the scene of the bust to talk to the reporters. Daredevil graciously gives most of the credit to Stunt-Master, who is hailed as a hero.

Christmas comes and goes as Daredevil continues his fruitless search for Karen. A few days afterwards, he learns that Stunt-Master has been signed to star in an action-adventure TV show as himself. The next morning, Daredevil has had enough and breaks into Sally Weston’s apartment to search the place. He discovers that Karen is, indeed, staying there, and that Sally has gotten her a bit-part on the gothic soap opera Strange Secrets. Daredevil heads over to the studio to look for Karen, and finds her being menaced by a big bruiser calling himself Brother Brimstone. Daredevil drives the villain off, then walks Karen back to Sally’s apartment. Karen explains that “Brother Brimstone” is a character from the show, played by the hot-tempered actor Ross Archer, whose behavior lately has been increasingly erratic. When they arrive, Karen says it would be best if she and Daredevil were not seen together, and Matt agrees to give her some time to sort out her feelings.

The next day, Daredevil hides out in the rafters of the soundstage where Karen is filming Strange Secrets. Suddenly, Daredevil detects Brother Brimstone on a catwalk above him and swings up to confront him. Brother Brimstone drops the dead body he was carrying, fights with Daredevil, and escapes. Daredevil is surprised when the dead body is identified as Ross Archer. Production on Strange Secrets is halted for a few days, and Daredevil offers his help to the LAPD detective in charge of the investigation. The offer is refused, but Matt knows that Karen will not be safe until Brother Brimstone is captured.


Notes:

January 1964 – Daredevil’s adventures resume in Daredevil #28 and following. The aliens Daredevil encounters are the Queega, from the Andromeda galaxy. In the next issue, Daredevil stops by the offices of the Marvel-Universe counterpart of the Marvel Comics Group and meets with Stan Lee. This confirms that Daredevil is one of the titles they publish, apparently illustrated by Gene Colan. Daredevil is among the heroes who make cameo appearances in the S.H.I.E.L.D. story in Strange Tales #156.

April 1964 – Daredevil fights the Emissaries of Evil—Electro, Gladiator, Stilt-Man, Frog-Man, and the Matador—in Daredevil Annual #1. He then travels to Viet Nam, where he meets Willie Lincoln, as seen in the flashback in Daredevil #47.

May 1964 – Following his battle with Doctor Doom, Daredevil appears in Fantastic Four #73, along with Spider-Man and Thor. The Fantastic Four would be well aware of Doom’s ability to switch bodies with someone else, as they experienced it firsthand back in Fantastic Four #10. The names of Latveria’s four neighboring nations are not revealed in the story, but the map of the Balkans on Marvel Earth would eventually become clear. While Daredevil is searching for the Unholy Three just prior to Daredevil #39, Foggy Nelson appears in Uncanny X-Men #46 to read Charles Xavier’s will. Later, Foggy is correct that the Exterminator was really Philip Sterling, who will eventually escape from the interdimensional limbo and menace Daredevil again as the Death-Stalker.

September 1964 – Prior to Matt resuming his career as Daredevil, Foggy appears in Amazing Spider-Man #65, conferring with retired police captain George Stacy. The crooked politician Richard Raleigh presents something of a problem, as his death in Daredevil #42 is supposed to follow his appearance in the magazine-format Spectacular Spider-Man #1. However, that story was later incorporated into Spider-Man’s regular continuity, showing Raleigh to be very much alive. Therefore, I must presume that Raleigh feared the Jester was coming to kill him and took a drug that would simulate death. A few minutes after Daredevil left, Raleigh revived and decided to lay low for a while, probably leaving New York on a quiet “fact-finding” mission. Since only Daredevil and the Jester thought he was dead, Raleigh’s apparent demise would never have made the news. Immediately afterwards, Daredevil attends the wedding of the Wasp and Yellowjacket in Avengers #60.

October 1964 – Daredevil and the Black Panther team up against the forces of Zodiac in Avengers #82. At this point, the Black Panther has not yet learned Daredevil’s secret identity, so the two heroes likely meet on the rooftops of the city after T’Challa causes the blackout to slow the invasion down. Also, though they mention battling the Thunderbolts gang, that doesn’t actually happen until next January. Amazing Spider-Man #91–92 shows Sam Bullit’s rise and fall. It is probably only because of Bullit’s disgrace that Foggy, a relatively young and inexperienced lawyer, wins the race for district attorney.

November 1964 – In Daredevil #48, Foggy wins the election in a landslide, and apparently begins serving as the district attorney immediately afterwards. Meanwhile, in the presidential election, Republican senator Morris N. Richardson defeats incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson amidst widespread claims of voter fraud and other election-day irregularities. The nation is unaware that Richardson is also Number One of the Secret Empire and plans to turn America into a totalitarian dictatorship. Following the election, NASA’s Apollo mission safely lands men on the moon, as seen in Fantastic Four #98 and Astonishing Tales #1. The lunar mission was ready five years earlier than in the real world due to advanced technology available from Stark Industries and elsewhere, though the Secret Empire made sure it did not take place until the election was over. For more information, see OMU: POTUS - Part Three. After his apparent death in Daredevil #55, Samuel “Starr” Saxon’s broken body is retrieved by his robot servants, who transfer his mind into a computer, as revealed in Captain America #249. He will eventually return as the Machinesmith. Karen’s hometown, Fagan Corners, Vermont, is named after comics fan Tom Fagan, who organized the annual Rutland, Vermont Halloween Parade that was featured in numerous comic books of the time.

December 1964 – The story in Iron Man #35–36, which crosses over into Daredevil #73, actually takes place between Daredevil #62 and 63. Although Daredevil #73 necessarily occurs out of sequence, there’s nothing in that issue to cause any continuity problems. The Irishman is Stark Industries engineer Kevin O’Brien, though Daredevil doesn’t get the chance to learn his name. Daredevil’s encounter with Brother Brimstone brings us up to Daredevil #65.


Jump Back: Daredevil: Year Two

Next Issue: One Busy Month

Monday

OMU: Captain America -- Year Three

Captain America finally begins to emerge from his shell during the third year following his revival. As he gradually works though his grief over the death of his partner, Bucky, Cap finally starts making a life for himself in the present day. He moves out of Avengers Mansion for good, actively pursues a romantic relationship, and makes the first true friend he’s had since World War II. Interestingly, after being so gung-ho about working for S.H.I.E.L.D. last year, Cap becomes increasingly disillusioned by the shady world of counter-intelligence. This serves to strengthen his ties to the Avengers, from which we can see him trying to distance himself. Also of note is Cap’s decision to buy a motorcycle and hit the open road, attempting, rather like his namesake in Easy Rider, to “find himself” on the highways and byways of America. It’s ironic, then, that this Captain America closes out the year by getting a job with the NYPD.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.

Continuing on with... The True History of Captain America!


January 1964 – At the Avengers’ first meeting of the year, Captain America backs the Wasp’s petition to take over as team chairman so Goliath can focus on his scientific research. Hawkeye objects, however, and begins insisting that his girlfriend, the Black Widow, be admitted as a member. To Cap’s surprise, Goliath is vehemently opposed to the idea, citing her past as a Communist spy and enemy of the Avengers. The Wasp decides to table the discussion when the Scarlet Witch apparently returns to request the Avengers’ aid in rescuing her brother, Quicksilver. With the Black Widow accompanying them as Hawkeye’s guest, the Avengers jet across the Atlantic Ocean to the tiny Balkan nation of Transia.

Upon arrival, the Avengers find an enormous spaceship looming over a village at the foot of Wundagore Mountain. As they enter the ship, though, Cap’s suspicion that the Scarlet Witch is an impostor is confirmed. The real Wanda and Pietro are being held prisoner within the ship, and an army of powerful green androids called “Ultroids” quickly captures the rest of the heroes as well. Luckily, Goliath is able to escape imprisonment by shrinking down to insect size. He frees his teammates, but the ship has already lifted off and is speeding into outer space. With the help of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, the Avengers defeat the Ultroids that try to recapture them, but they reach a stalemate when the Ultroids’ leader, Ixar, reveals that he holds the village’s burgomeister hostage. Then, assuming the form of a 15-foot-tall armored android, Ixar battles the Avengers. During the fight, Captain America is knocked out by a jolt of electricity. When he wakes up, Cap learns that Hawkeye and the Black Widow somehow forced Ixar to surrender, and that the “burgomeister” was in fact Ixar himself. The spaceship returns the Avengers to earth, where Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch rejoin the team’s active roster.

Captain America returns from testing an experimental Stark Industries aircraft to find Goliath and Hawkeye arguing again about the Black Widow’s membership. The Wasp agrees to discuss the matter once the Black Widow arrives, but after waiting for several hours, the Avengers break for dinner. Cap volunteers to remain at the mansion on monitor duty. However, once his teammates have left, Cap receives a transmission from Bucky Barnes, saying he is being held prisoner in Nova Scotia. Shocked, Cap leaves immediately in Stark’s experimental aircraft, intent on finding out if his old partner is indeed still alive. When he reaches the island from which the transmission originated, Cap finds the Swordsman and Power Man waiting for him. Cap quickly defeats them, only to be captured by their employer, the Red Skull. Gloating, the Red Skull sends Bucky in to attack Cap. At first, Cap refuses to defend himself, thinking that his partner has been brainwashed, but he soon realizes that Bucky is just a robot, and angrily smashes it to pieces. The Red Skull departs in a massive airship to attack the United States, but Cap pursues him and manages to get on board. When the ship reaches New York City, Cap watches in horror as the Red Skull seals one square mile of Manhattan within a plastic-like sphere and levitates it high into the air. Storming the bridge, Cap confronts his nemesis, but the Red Skull forces him to surrender by threatening to drop the floating chunk of the city. With no other option, Cap capitulates. The villain then hijacks all the world’s radio and television broadcasts and commands Captain America to publicly pledge his allegiance to the Red Skull. Knowing he’ll be branded a traitor around the globe, Cap reluctantly obeys.

Several hours later, Cap manages to send an encrypted message to the Avengers. Fearing that the Red Skull will try to locate the Cosmic Cube, Cap tells his teammates to track it down before it falls into the wrong hands. Cap is relieved, then, when the Red Skull reveals that he is actually after America’s newest atomic submarine, the XPT-1. Knowing the XPT-1 is an experimental prototype and is scheduled to be destroyed, Cap reveals its location. When the Red Skull’s airship intercepts the submarine in the North Atlantic Ocean, Captain America escapes from his foe’s death-traps, smashes a porthole, and leaps into the waves below. As the submarine surfaces, Cap climbs aboard, frees the crew from the Red Skull’s mental domination, and sends the reactor into a meltdown. Pretending to still be hypnotized, the crew then marches into the villain’s ship, accompanied by a disguised Cap. The Red Skull takes command of the XPT-1 as Cap orders the airship to retreat to a safe distance. He tries to warn his foe about the imminent explosion, but the Red Skull ignores him. The submarine is suddenly obliterated by a nuclear blast, and its skipper radios a full report back to Navy headquarters, clearing Captain America’s name in the process. Returning to the U.S., Cap hands the Red Skull’s airship over to the government for study.

Soon after, Captain America hears a broadcast from the terrorist organization HYDRA, threatening to release a deadly spore into the atmosphere unless the nations of the world submit. Luckily, the scheme is quickly foiled by S.H.I.E.L.D.

Discovering that Diablo has used the Dragon Man to kidnap Goliath and the Wasp, Cap tracks them and the other Avengers to the alchemist’s castle in Transylvania. He arrives in time to capture Diablo and free Goliath, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch from a trap. Cap is surprised when the team’s newest recruit, Hercules, smashes through the wall and announces he has defeated Dragon Man and rescued the Wasp. In order to destroy the dozens of inert Dragon Man androids that Diablo was attempting to bring to life, Captain America blows up the entire castle. The Avengers then turn Diablo over to the proper authorities and fly back to New York.

February 1964 – The Avengers learn that the Black Widow has been taken prisoner while on a mission to Communist China. Hawkeye is intent on rescuing her, so Cap agrees to run him through some training exercises. Concerned that an Avengers incursion into China could cause an international incident, Cap calls a team meeting to discuss their options. However, Hawkeye slips out and heads for China, accompanied by Hercules. Despite the political risks, Captain America, Goliath, Wasp, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch decide they must follow. Thus, a few hours later, the Avengers fight their way into a secret high-tech weapons R&D facility in the desolate wastes of western China, having tracked the emanations from Hawkeye’s signal ring. During the battle, Cap finds his way into the interior of the complex, where he discovers the imprisoned Black Widow. To get to her, Cap must get past a costumed man called the Red Guardian, who claims he was created to be Captain America’s Soviet counterpart. During the protracted duel that follows, Cap realizes that he and the Red Guardian are pretty evenly matched. The battle only ends when a Chinese military official activates an electrified grid in the floor, jolting Cap into unconsciousness.

When he comes to, Captain America finds himself back in the Avengers’ aero-car, flying away from the exploding research complex. He learns that he was rescued by Hawkeye and Hercules, and that the Red Guardian was fatally shot while trying to protect the Black Widow from her captors. Though she managed to complete her mission successfully, the Black Widow was also badly wounded, so the team races her to a military hospital in Hawaii. The Avengers spend the next few days relaxing on the beaches of Hawaii while the Black Widow recovers from her surgery. They are all debriefed about the incident in China by agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. When she is well enough to receive visitors, the Black Widow reveals that the Red Guardian was her husband, Alexi Shostakov, whom she had long believed to be dead. The KGB had recruited the couple by telling each that the other had been killed by American spies. Cap assures her that her husband had overcome his conditioning and died a man, not a puppet. Then, leaving the Black Widow to recuperate, the Avengers return to New York.

Captain America is contacted by FBI Special Agent Jimmy Woo, who met Cap when he was a young soldier in World War II. Due to his post-cryogenic amnesia, Cap doesn’t really remember Woo, but takes him at his word. Woo convinces Cap that he has vital information he must pass on to Nick Fury, Executive Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. As Cap is already scheduled to conduct a combat training session with some of the agency’s new recruits, he decides to bring Woo along to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. There, while sparring with Nick Fury, Cap meets a beautiful agent-in-training named Contessa Valentina Allegra de La Fontaine, and is impressed with her skill at judo. When the session is over, Cap introduces Fury to Jimmy Woo, who reports that he believes the mastermind behind last September’s invasion of Liberty Island was his old nemesis, the Yellow Claw. Fury takes Woo’s information under advisement. After the FBI agent has departed, Fury takes Cap to meet their new chief ordinance designer, Sidney E. Levine, a.k.a. “The Gaff.” When some pressing S.H.I.E.L.D. business comes up, Cap takes his leave and meets up with Tony Stark, who drives him over to Stark Industries to test some new inventions.

March 1964 – After undertaking a routine mission with S.H.I.E.L.D., Cap lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport in his civilian identity as Steve Rogers. He checks in with his Avengers teammates and tries to sound upbeat, but he’s fighting off another bout of depression. Taking a cab into the city, Steve broods about the emptiness of his civilian life, feeling frustrated that his repeated attempts to contact the beautiful blond S.H.I.E.L.D. agent he met last year have been thwarted. When he sees a heavily armored figure attacking the barber shop that masks the entrance to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Manhattan headquarters, Steve leaps into action as Captain America. After a brutal battle, Cap defeats the would-be assassin and discovers it to be a robot. Nick Fury emerges, annoyed by Cap’s unexpected interference, and castigates him for jeopardizing an operation against the terrorist organization Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.). Learning that the object of his affection, Agent 13, has infiltrated A.I.M., Cap volunteers to break into their submarine headquarters and extract her. When he arrives, though, Cap is captured by A.I.M. agents. Luckily, he is freed by Agent 13, who tells him her mission is to discover who or what “M.O.D.O.K.” is. They fight their way through the submarine, only to be captured again, but a group of A.I.M. agents rebel against M.O.D.O.K., their tyrannical leader, and free Cap, hoping he will destroy M.O.D.O.K. for them. Cap is shocked to discover that M.O.D.O.K. is a grotesque, monstrous cyborg with a gigantic head. He evades M.O.D.O.K.’s psychic attacks until the A.I.M. agents launch an all-out assault on their master. In the chaos, Captain America and Agent 13 commandeer an escape craft and head for the surface. A.I.M.’s underwater installation is destroyed in a tremendous explosion.

Riding high following his death-defying adventure with Agent 13, Captain America responds to Iron Man’s call for an emergency meeting of the Avengers. Thor, Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Hercules also answer the summons. After comparing notes about the current status of their former foes, the Avengers learn from Nick Fury that the Enchantress, the Executioner, the Living Laser, Power Man, and Swordsman have staged coordinated attacks around the globe. The Wasp, as current team chairman, defers to Captain America, given his tactical skills and experience. Thus, Cap sends Goliath, Wasp, and Iron Man to Brasília, Brazil; Thor and Hawkeye to Léopoldville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Hercules and the Scarlet Witch to India; while he and Quicksilver remain at Avengers Mansion to try to track down the diabolical mastermind behind the scheme. They soon determine that the Mandarin is the instigator and triangulate the coordinates of his space-station headquarters. Wasting no time, Cap and Quicksilver borrow a rocket from NASA and invade the villain’s orbiting fortress. The Mandarin holds them off with his ten power-rings until the rest of the Avengers arrive. Undaunted, the Mandarin turns a “hate ray” device on his foes, which makes Captain America lash out at Goliath. Fortunately, the Wasp deactivates the device before anyone gets hurt. The Mandarin’s second attack goes awry and blows a hole in the hull of the space-station. Though their foe is swept out into space, Thor and Hercules seal the breach before anyone else is lost. The Avengers rig the Mandarin’s space-station to self-destruct, then return to earth. Iron Man and Thor agree to rejoin the team as reserve members.

The following weekend, Captain America heads to Central Park for an event held by New York City to honor the Avengers for defeating the Mandarin and his cronies, as well as their other charitable deeds. When he finally arrives, Cap finds Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Hercules waiting for him, but Thor and Iron Man have already left. The ceremony gets underway, and, after a few long, boring speeches by New York politicians, the Avengers formally induct Hercules into their ranks. Without warning, the Super-Adaptoid appears in the midst of the crowd and attacks them. Goliath takes the lead in the battle, leading his android foe to shrink down to insect-size. Joined by the Wasp, they continue their fight lost in the grass, leaving the other Avengers to stand around and wait. When the police arrive on the scene, Cap warns them to keep back and suggests they focus on crowd control. Suddenly, the Super-Adaptoid grows to giant size and battles the rest of the Avengers while the Wasp carries the injured Goliath to safety. The villain is finally defeated when the team forces him to use all of his borrowed powers simultaneously, thus overloading his systems. As the police take the inert android away, a number of curious onlookers come out of hiding to cheer the Avengers’ victory. The city’s celebration then proceeds as planned.

When the Black Widow is released from the hospital and returns to New York, she and Hawkeye embark on a double-date with Hercules and the Scarlet Witch. This prompts Steve Rogers to consider retiring his costumed identity to settle down with Agent 13. Later that day, he takes Quicksilver to a pre-season baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Being back in the ballpark where he spent many afternoons as a boy, Steve finds the idea of retirement growing in his mind. He imagines himself living the sort of ordinary family life he never had, with the beautiful Agent 13 at his side. Unfortunately, upon returning to Avengers Mansion, the two heroes discover that their security has been breached by Goliath’s old foe, the Human Top, now wearing a new armored costume and calling himself Whirlwind. Captain America and Quicksilver leap into action and take the villain down, but he manages to escape while they are dealing with a bomb he has planted. Quicksilver is infuriated, and Cap feels frustrated as well.

April 1964 – While at Avengers Mansion, Steve Rogers receives a phone call from Agent 13. They arrange a date, and Steve borrows a Triumph Spitfire Mark II convertible from Tony Stark to meet her in. He takes her to a romantic restaurant, but when he begins to make his marriage proposal, Agent 13 cuts him off, saying her duty to S.H.I.E.L.D. prevents her from marrying him, despite her personal feelings. Stung, Steve cancels the date and they part on the sidewalk with an awkward kiss. Fed up with “duty” wrecking his life, Steve decides that his next mission as Captain America will be his last. True to his word, after capturing some gangsters later that day, Captain America returns to Avengers Mansion and announces to Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Hercules that he’s quitting the team. When his teammates protest in utter disbelief, Cap gets angry and storms out. Although he immediately regrets his outburst, Cap follows through on his plan. After checking into a high-rise hotel, he announces to the media that Captain America is retiring and publically reveals his true identity as Steve Rogers. The next day, as the news spreads like wildfire, Tony Stark visits Steve and asks him if he’s considered all the angles of his decision. Steve assures him that he’s done what he had to do, and thanks Stark for his unflagging support of the Avengers.

A few days later, Steve is summoned to police headquarters and informed of a rash of Captain America imitators who have made a public nuisance of themselves. Worse, they’ve learned that the underworld has put a price on Steve Rogers’ head, and the police are concerned that one of these imitation Captain Americas may get murdered by mistake. Having failed to foresee such dire ramifications, Steve begins to regret his decision. After cooperating with the police for a few days, Steve is saved from a sniper by Nick Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents while Steve is busy keeping a Captain America impostor from getting killed. Fury convinces Steve that giving up being Captain America was a mistake, and Steve agrees to resume his superhero career. In the days that follow, Cap helps the police take down the organized crime syndicate that had put out the contract on him.

Captain America is then recruited by the African superhero the Black Panther to help defend his country, Wakanda, from an army of foreign mercenaries. Cap is flown to Wakanda in a high-tech drone ship, which is attacked upon arrival by an energy beam fired from an orbital platform. Meeting with the Black Panther, Cap learns that the satellite is too well shielded to be attacked directly, and the African hero believes that, working together, they can find and destroy the satellite’s control complex on earth. Cap agrees to the plan and tries to contact the Avengers, but there is no answer from the team’s headquarters. He leaves a brief message on their automated answering service, then he and the Black Panther set out to track down the mercenaries. Soon finding their enemies deep in the jungle, Captain America is shocked to discover that their leader is Baron Zemo, the very foe whose crushed corpse Cap himself buried last year. The heroes are captured and taken to Zemo’s underground command center, where the villain brags that he will soon turn his orbiting death ray against the United States, as soon as his agent, the notorious spy known as Irma Kruhl, brings him a report on America’s nuclear defense network. After Kruhl arrives, Cap becomes suspicious when she botches an opportunity to shoot Cap in the head at close range. And sure enough, as soon as Zemo reveals to her his satellite-control panel, she destroys it with a flame-thrower concealed in her briefcase. As Zemo’s mercenaries attack her, Cap and the Black Panther leap to her defense, and she reveals herself to be S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Agent 13 in disguise.

Captain America, the Black Panther, and Agent 13 fight their way through the bunker, overcoming even a fearsome robot sentry, only to be overwhelmed by their foes’ sheer weight of numbers. Hopelessly surrounded, Cap takes a desperate gamble and leaps at Zemo, grabbing him and ripping off his facemask. As Cap surmised, their enemy is not the true Heinrich Zemo at all, but his accomplice Franz Gruber. Outraged at having been duped, one of the mercenaries shoots Gruber in the chest, killing him. The Black Panther instantly takes command of the volatile situation, unmasking himself and announcing that he is T’Challa, the king of Wakanda, and that his warriors have the bunker surrounded. Realizing they can’t escape and aren’t going to get paid anyway, the mercenaries surrender. Agent 13 deactivates the force field around the satellite, and S.H.I.E.L.D. blows it out of the sky with a missile strike. Outside the bunker, Cap finally contacts the Avengers and speaks with Thor, Iron Man, Goliath, Wasp, and Hawkeye. Apologizing for the way he quit the team, Cap suggests the Avengers induct the Black Panther as his replacement. Later, the Black Panther flies Captain America and Agent 13 back to New York in his private jet.

Soon after, Cap is disturbed when he hears a news bulletin that Goliath, Wasp, and Hawkeye have been murdered and the Black Panther is the prime suspect. Unfortunately, he is just about to bring down a notorious criminal gang and cannot investigate immediately. He is relieved when, a couple of hours later, the Black Panther proves that the heroes are not really dead and captures their attacker, a scythe-wielding maniac calling himself the Grim Reaper.

With backup from S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America trails the Nazi war criminal Werner von Krimm to an island off the Florida Keys for a clandestine meeting with the Red Skull, who escaped the nuclear explosion back in January. Cap is captured by the villain’s henchmen and brought in to witness Von Krimm delivering a strange crystal key to the Red Skull, who uses it to activate the Fourth Sleeper, a huge robot with the ability to alter its density and cause massive environmental devastation. Cap remembers fighting the first three Sleepers last September, and knows he’s in for the fight of his life. As the Fourth Sleeper obliterates the island, Cap manages to wrest the crystal key from the Red Skull, though the ex-Nazis manage to escape amidst the chaos. Cap is soon rescued by the Coast Guard and taken to a Florida hospital, where Nick Fury pays him a visit. After comparing notes, Cap sets off in pursuit of the Fourth Sleeper, and, despite his objections, Agent 13 accompanies him. After they fight their way through a squad of the Red Skull’s mercenaries, Cap and Agent 13 come face to face with the Fourth Sleeper, which is drawn to them by the emanations from the crystal key. Handing the crystal key to his partner, Cap attacks the giant robot, but is no match for its super-strength. However, he quickly realizes that the crystal key is somehow transmitting Agent 13’s anxiety to the robot, disrupting its programming. As Cap is overwhelmed by his opponent’s superior force, Agent 13 panics, and the surge of emotion shorts out the robot’s density-control. Losing all molecular cohesion, the Fourth Sleeper fades into nothingness as the crystal key shatters from the strain. Captain America and Agent 13 embrace, and he admits he never could have defeated the robot without her. On their way back to the S.H.I.E.L.D. rendezvous point, Agent 13 finally reveals that her real name is Sharon Carter.

May 1964 – Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter are on a date at a nice restaurant in Manhattan when they are attacked by the Red Skull’s henchmen. Steve is gassed into unconsciousness, and when he comes to, he finds Sharon has been kidnapped. Changing into Captain America, he tracks the kidnappers to an island near the Sargasso Sea in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Cap fights his way through the army of mercenaries, but is eventually overwhelmed and knocked out. He wakes up sometime later in a cell adjoining the one in which Sharon is imprisoned, and, using her S.H.I.E.L.D. ordinance, they escape. Cap battles the Red Skull briefly before leaping onto a fighter jet that Sharon has commandeered. They fly back to New York, and Cap, despite finding these adventures with Sharon exciting, continues to worry about her safety.

A day or two later, while helping test some of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new Life Model Decoy androids, Captain America decides to report to the infirmary to see about the chronic headaches he’s started having. During the examination, the Red Skull’s raspy voice crackles over the loudspeaker, informing them that, while Cap was unconscious on the villain’s island, a small device was attached to the back of his neck that can induce excruciating pain. Furthermore, any attempt to remove the device will trigger a hydrogen bomb hidden somewhere in Washington, DC. Thus, he gloats, Captain America is now the Red Skull’s helpless slave. S.H.I.E.L.D. quickly locates the bomb, but Cap decides he must return to the Red Skull’s island to keep his foes busy while the bomb is analyzed and defused. When he arrives, Cap meets his arch-enemy’s six lieutenants, known collectively as the Exiles: Angelo Baldini, an Italian fascist; Jun Chin, a Chinese warlord; Ivan Krushki, a Russian mercenary; and Franz Cadavus, Eric Gruning, and Jurgen Hauptmann, all former Nazis. They give Cap a savage beating, but he holds out until S.H.I.E.L.D. launches a massive invasion of the island. Though the Red Skull and the Exiles manage to escape, their army of henchmen is taken into custody. Sharon quickly finds Cap and removes the device from his neck, reporting that Tony Stark figured out how to defuse the H-bomb.

Back in New York, Steve meets with a group of TV producers who are trying to package a number of WWII combat films of Captain America and Bucky into a prime-time special. They want Steve himself to narrate the program, but he is so disturbed by the images of Bucky that he turns them down. Steve is worried that Sharon may soon meet the same grim fate as his former partner, and he decides he must end their relationship for her own safety. However, rather than deal with the heart-wrenching situation, he seeks out a dangerous mission from Army Intelligence. Thus, Captain America soon finds himself trying to track down a hidden bomb before the Swordsman, the Living Laser, and Batroc the Leaper get their hands on it. Batroc locates the bomb first, but a pre-detonation shockwave convinces him to let Cap defuse it.

Captain America fails to prevent a gang of Chinese men in high-tech battle armor from stealing S.H.I.E.L.D.’s latest research on Life Model Decoys. However, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent contacts him with a different assignment: a film has been intercepted that appears to show Cap murdering a helpless P.O.W. during World War II, and the agency wants him to find out who created it before it’s used to destroy his reputation. Cap traces the film to a small-time studio in Hollywood, California. He contacts the head of the studio, Cyril Lucas, who invites him to come discuss the matter. Suspecting a trap, Cap enters the studio through an upper-story window, and sure enough, he is immediately attacked by a Steve Rogers LMD. While they fight, Cap learns that the android seeks to replace him as part of a Communist propaganda scheme, but luckily, the LMD proves to be highly unstable and soon disintegrates. Cap’s S.H.I.E.L.D. contact then reappears and informs Cap that the agency allowed the LMD research to be stolen, as it was assumed to be faulty and they wanted the Communists to finance a practical test. Plus, S.H.I.E.L.D. had been watching Cyril Lucas for several months and saw an opportunity to smoke him out. Cap is annoyed to have been used in such a manner, and he is further disgusted when they find that Lucas has been shot dead for his failure. Returning to New York, Cap realizes he is quite disillusioned with the world of counter-intelligence.

While appearing on a television panel discussion, Captain America meets the noted Austrian psychiatrist Dr. John Faustus and is intrigued by his theories. When he starts having recurring nightmares soon after, Steve decides to try some therapy sessions with Dr. Faustus, who also writes him a prescription to help him sleep. Steve hopes that Faustus might help him come to terms with his guilt over Bucky’s death.

June 1964 – Over the course of a couple of weeks, Steve’s nightmares only get worse, and when he starts having vivid hallucinations, he begins to grow suspicious of such a rapid mental deterioration. After a particularly disturbing psychotherapy session with Dr. Faustus, Steve stops by S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to have his prescription medication analyzed. The S.H.I.E.L.D. medics determine that the pills are causing Steve’s mental distress, and he is given an antidote. He then draws up a plan to expose Faustus’ plot. Returning to his hotel suite, Steve dons his Captain America costume and works out with a robot sparring partner that S.H.I.E.L.D. has provided. Assuming he is under surveillance, Cap worries aloud that his fighting ability has been seriously compromised. A bellboy then delivers his new prescription, and Cap pretends to take the pills, secretly passing them to hidden S.H.I.E.L.D. techs for analysis. While Cap tosses and turns in bed for several hours, the pills are analyzed, and, based on their findings, the agents create a mask and gloves of synthetic flesh with the appearance of advanced age. Cap surreptitiously dons his disguise and feigns shock and confusion when he gets up and turns on the light. A Bucky impostor then appears and Cap plays along, realizing that all his hallucinations were actually elaborately staged events. The impostor leads Cap through a re-enactment of Bucky’s death, at the end of which Cap pretends to have a complete mental breakdown. The gambit is successful, as Dr. Faustus comes out of the shadows to gloat over his victory. Cap leaps to his feet, sheds his disguise, and quickly takes out all of his foe’s henchmen. As S.H.I.E.L.D. agents move in to arrest the conspirators, Cap punches Faustus in the face for daring to desecrate Bucky’s memory.

July 1964 – Captain America attends a Fourth-of-July picnic at Avengers Mansion, and is pleased to see that Mister Fantastic, the Thing, the Human Torch, and Crystal have been invited as well. In the course of their conversation, Cap learns of the time machine housed at Doctor Doom’s castle in the Adirondack Mountains. Cap is suddenly seized by the idea that he could travel back in time to 1945 to see if Bucky really did die in the explosion, or if he might somehow have survived. Mister Fantastic warns him against trying to use it, due to the unpredictability of time travel, but when pressed, he explains the device’s basic operation.

A few days later, Cap summons the Avengers to meet him at the castle in upstate New York. When Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye, and the Black Panther arrive, Cap outlines his plan. Leaving the Wasp behind to operate the controls, the four men stand together on the glowing platform and quickly find themselves transported to a U.S. Army base on the British coast in early 1945, though they materialize as invisible, intangible phantoms. They follow Baron Heinrich Zemo into the hanger where the Army’s experimental drone aircraft is housed and watch him produce a rapidly growing android from a metal box. Suddenly, Captain America and Bucky, both in full costume, smash through the window and attack Zemo. Watching these events, Cap is disturbed that none of it seems familiar, but he chalks it up to his post-cryogenic amnesia. Zemo defeats the two heroes, dresses them in army fatigues, and straps them to the fuselage of the drone plane. Then, without warning, the Avengers fully materialize, giving Zemo a shock. Cap decks Zemo with a punch in the head, but the Nazi produces a second android to keep his foes busy. Drawn by the commotion, American soldiers converge on the hanger, just as the Avengers start to dematerialize again. With only seconds to spare, Cap hurls his shield at his past self, severing the ropes binding him and Bucky to the drone plane. Invisible and intangible once again, the Avengers watch helplessly as Cap’s past self and Bucky leap onto the plane as it takes off over the North Sea. Seconds later, the plane explodes and Bucky is consumed by the fireball. His partner falls into the sea and disappears. Convinced that Bucky could not possibly have survived, the Avengers return to the present day, rejoining the Wasp in Doctor Doom’s castle. The Wasp admits that she dozed off while at the controls, and Goliath theorizes that that must have been the cause of their sudden materialization. A melancholy Cap says there was no harm done, and the teammates fly back to Manhattan. Realizing the danger posed by the abandoned time machine, Cap arranges for the Army to post a platoon to guard it.

Captain America is annoyed when a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent interrupts his training regimen to give him a new assignment. Fed up with being at Nick Fury’s beck and call, Cap only accepts the mission when he is told that Sharon Carter is in danger. Given a homing device, Cap sets off at once and soon finds himself outside a row of abandoned tenements. He stumbles into an automated booby-trap that sprays a sticky paste and deduces that Sharon has been captured by the Fantastic Four’s old foe the Trapster. Undaunted, Cap storms in and attacks the Trapster, but the villain manages to slip away. Cap is then caught in a series of elaborate traps, all of which fail unaccountably. The frustrated Trapster is quickly caught off guard, and Cap knocks him into a pool of his own paste. Smashing his way into the control room, Cap is surprised to find that the Trapster’s prisoner is just an LMD disguised as Sharon. The real Sharon emerges from the shadows and assures Cap that neither of them was ever in any danger, as the LMD kept the Trapster busy while Sharon contaminated his paste supply. Thanks to Cap, the Trapster’s plans were foiled and S.H.I.E.L.D. learned that he was being employed by the Red Skull. Unfortunately, the contaminated paste allows the Trapster to escape, but Cap and Sharon are too busy making out to pursue him.

August 1964 – Captain America joins Thor, Iron Man, Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye, and the Black Panther at Avengers Mansion to discuss making the mysterious android known as the Vision a member of the team. Searching for clues as to the Vision’s origins, the Avengers head out to Goliath’s abandoned suburban laboratory in Cresskill, New Jersey. There, they discover that the evil robot Ultron-5 created the Vision using the recordings they had made of Wonder Man’s brain patterns last year. The Avengers return to their mansion and, after some deliberation, vote to accept the Vision into their ranks. Cap is surprised when the Vision appears to be overcome with emotion after hearing their decision.

A few days later, at his hotel suite, Steve reminisces about World War II with Nick Fury. After listening to Steve talk at length about Bucky Barnes, Fury suggests that he should go out and have a few laughs. Steve realizes how much his grief over Bucky’s death has led him to isolate himself, and he resolves to get out more. In the weeks that follow, Steve makes an effort to see Sharon Carter as much as possible.

September 1964 – Invited to the impromptu wedding of the Wasp to a mysterious masked man called Yellowjacket, Captain America arrives at Avengers Mansion and mingles with the other guests, including Nick Fury, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Vision, Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Thing, the Human Torch, Crystal, Doctor Strange and his girlfriend Clea, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and the Beast. Cap also meets a new Black Knight, who is not a villain like his predecessor. Before the ceremony can begin, though, Captain America and Nick Fury are summoned back to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters on an urgent matter. Some hours later, Cap is relieved to hear that Yellowjacket turned out to be the Wasp’s old beau, Goliath, in disguise. Despite the strange circumstances, he’s glad his old teammates have finally tied the knot.

While out for an evening walk, Steve Rogers stumbles into the middle of a fight between the Hulk and the Army. He immediately changes into Captain America and tries to help the soldiers capture the Hulk. However, Rick Jones intervenes and is injured by some falling debris. Cap takes Rick to Avengers Mansion to recover, leaving the soldiers to continue their pursuit of the Hulk. When Rick comes to a few hours later, he shows Cap that he has a replica of Bucky’s costume, and asks for a chance to prove himself as Captain America’s partner. Though he is initially resistant to the idea, Cap relents when an alert signals comes over the Avengers’ computer system. Together, Cap and Rick investigate a nearby section of the Manhattan sewers, where they discover a cadre of HYDRA agents led by a sexy leather-clad woman called Madame Hydra. Though Rick nearly gets them both killed, Cap is nevertheless able to prevent the HYDRA agents from poisoning the city’s water supply. Having driven the terrorists off, the two costumed heroes return to the city streets above, where Cap congratulates Rick on surviving his baptism of fire.

Soon after, a phone call from Nick Fury brings Steve to a penny arcade on the Hudson River waterfront. However, it turns out to be a trap, as he is immediately attacked by several HYDRA assassins. Though he manages to fight them off, Steve finally decides that having his identity publicly known makes him too easy a target for his enemies. He comes up with a plan to fake his own death and confers with S.H.I.E.L.D. tech expert Sidney E. Levine to obtain the necessary supplies. When he returns to his hotel, though, Cap discovers that his decision has come too late—Rick has been kidnapped by HYDRA. He returns to the penny arcade to search for clues, and is immediately attacked by a HYDRA robot called the Mankiller. As soon as Cap has defeated the robot, Madame Hydra and her henchmen converge on the scene, and Cap is impressed to see that Rick has escaped from his kidnappers. Deciding that the time has come to put his plan into effect, Cap then throws a lifelike dummy dressed in a replica of his costume off the roof into the Hudson River. Believing that Captain America is diving into the water, the HYDRA agents open fire, their bullets ripping into the dummy as it falls. Celebrating their apparent victory, the HYDRA agents flee the scene, with Cap surreptitiously trailing them back to their hideout.

The NYPD mounts a search-and-rescue mission for Captain America, but, as planned, the dummy has disintegrated in the water, leaving behind only Cap’s bullet-riddled costume and a Steve Rogers facemask. Finding these items, the police infer that “Steve Rogers” was a false identity all along, and the news media report that the deceased Captain America’s true identity remains unknown. A funeral service is quickly arranged, attended by Nick Fury, Dum-Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jasper Sitwell, Sharon Carter, and other agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Panther, and the Vision. However, HYDRA agents, posing as the funeral parlor staff, gas the mourners into unconsciousness and put them in coffins, then drive them out to a remote cemetery to be buried alive. Rick Jones, still dressed in his Bucky costume, follows the hearses, intent on avenging his hero. As soon as they arrive, though, Captain America roars up on his motorcycle and attacks the HYDRA agents. On Cap’s instructions, Rick grabs a gun and shoots the gas tank of the motorcycle, causing an explosion that takes out several of their foes. Madame Hydra launches heat-seeking missiles at them, but Cap and Rick leap into a fresh grave to evade them. The missiles zero in on Madame Hydra, and she is apparently killed in the ensuing explosion. After the fight, both Cap and Rick feel momentarily disoriented, but shake it off and return to the city.

After going for a long walk to think about his identity issues, Cap heads to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to see Sharon. Upon arrival, he is shocked to learn that Sharon still thinks he is dead and has gone on a suicide mission to attack an A.I.M. enclave by herself. Cap and Rick race to the scene, where they find Sharon being menaced by an A.I.M. robot called the Walking Stiletto. Once the robot is destroyed, Nick Fury leads a squad of agents in to mop up, and he chastises Sharon for disobeying orders. Cap defends her decision, but then asks her to resign from S.H.I.E.L.D. Sharon refuses, and, disheartened, Cap walks away.

Realizing he cannot return to the high-rise hotel where he had been living as Steve Rogers, Cap fashions a makeshift disguise and tries to find a new place to stay. He is frustrated when his evasive answers and lack of ID, luggage, or credit cards cause him to be turned away by all but the seediest hotels. After finally finding a room in a slum neighborhood, Cap’s brooding is interrupted when the Red Skull materializes in front of him, holding the Cosmic Cube in his hand. The Red Skull uses the cube’s reality-manipulating powers to torment Cap before deciding to switch bodies with his arch-enemy. As Sharon is teleported into the room, Cap finds himself suddenly inhabiting the Red Skull’s body. Sharon refuses to listen to the “Red Skull’s” ravings and leaves with “Captain America.” Desperate, Cap tries to come up with a plan, only to suddenly find himself teleported to a government research facility in Stamford, Connecticut. An explosion destroys half the installation, and the police pursue the “Red Skull” all the way back to Manhattan. There, Cap bursts into Avengers Mansion, but his teammates also refuse to listen to him, and instead take him prisoner. Soon after, Sharon enters and points her gun at his head. Cap insists he’s not the real Red Skull, and, fortunately, some instinct prevents Sharon from pulling the trigger. Before either of them can say another word, though, Cap is teleported to an island in the Caribbean.

Cap quickly determines that the island is the new base of operations for the Red Skull’s former associates, the Exiles. When they find that the Red Skull has apparently returned after betraying them, Baldini, Cadavus, Ching, Gruning, Hauptmann, and Krushki attack him. Cap manages to escape from them when they are beset by a trained falcon that swoops down from the sky, and, while hiding in the underbrush, he finally ditches the Red Skull’s gruesome mask. He then comes upon the man with the trained falcon, a Harlem native named Sam Wilson. When Sam reveals that he, too, is a prisoner on the island, Cap convinces him to adopt a costumed identity in order to become a symbol for the island’s native population to rally around. Though Sam is skeptical at first, he agrees to the plan, and with the help of the natives, they create a green-and-gold costume for him to wear. Cap suggests he call himself the Falcon.

After some hurried training sessions, the Falcon and his mysterious mentor ambush the six Exiles on the beach and fight them to a standstill. The natives, inspired by the Falcon’s example, then rise up against their oppressors, driving the Exiles deep into the jungle. Suddenly, Cap, the Falcon, and his trained bird, Redwing, are teleported to a castle in Berchtesgaden, West Germany, where the Red Skull restores Cap to his true form. The Falcon is shocked to learn that the man who was helping him was none other than Captain America. Laughing at the helpless heroes, the Red Skull uses the Cosmic Cube to summon a vortex that carries them to a far-off desert. There, Captain America and the Falcon continue trying to fight the Red Skull, despite their exhaustion. All hope seems lost when the Cosmic Cube suddenly melts in the Red Skull’s hand, causing him to fade into nothingness. Bewildered, the two heroes hike back to civilization and soon make their way home to New York City. As they part company, the Falcon assures Cap that he intends to continue acting in his costumed identity to be Harlem’s first superhero.

Soon after, Steve Rogers goes undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D. at Manning College in New Jersey, where he poses as a physical-education instructor. He becomes Captain America to prevent a top authority on atomic equations from being kidnapped by A.I.M. Later, while under interrogation at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, one of the captured A.I.M. agents reveals that M.O.D.O.K. was not killed back in March and is still in control of the subversive organization.

Captain America agrees to a charity wrestling match at Madison Square Garden. The event is disrupted by a strangely aggressive Daredevil, who swings down from the rafters to attack Cap in the ring. Their battle eventually carries them out into the street, where Daredevil suddenly abandons the fight. Cap remembers that the original Daredevil was reported killed in an explosion back in May, and that a new Daredevil has recently taken his place. He assumes this new Daredevil was trying to prove himself to the public by taking on Captain America, and feels bad that he failed. Thus, when reporters question Cap about the altercation, he leads them to believe it was all part of the show. A few days later, Captain America and Nick Fury team up with Iron Man to capture a cell of HYDRA agents.

October 1964 – When Tony Stark is hospitalized on the brink of death, Captain America joins Yellowjacket, Wasp, Goliath (formerly Hawkeye), and the Vision outside the operating room, just as Thor arrives with the renowned physician Dr. José Santini. Minutes later, a large android called the Growing Man kidnaps Stark right out of his hospital bed. The Avengers chase the kidnapper through a spacetime vortex to the fortress of Kang the Conqueror in the 41st century. Kang explains that he was challenged to a contest by a powerful alien called the Grandmaster. If Kang wins, his lover Ravonna, who hovers between life and death inside a nearby stasis tube, will be restored to full health. If Kang loses, though, the earth will be destroyed. Captain America agrees on behalf of the Avengers to cooperate for the sake of the earth, if not for Kang, on the condition that Kang returns Tony Stark to the hospital so he can undergo a life-saving operation. Kang agrees and teleports Stark back to his hospital bed. The Grandmaster then appears and teleports Captain America, Thor, and Goliath to a barren landscape, where they are joined by Iron Man. The four Avengers are confronted by a quartet of costumed supervillains: Hyperion, Nighthawk, Doctor Spectrum, and the Whizzer, known collectively as the Squadron Sinister. They are then teleported to separate locations around the globe, and Cap finds himself at the Statue of Liberty. After a brief battle, he defeats Nighthawk and is teleported back to Kang’s fortress and put in stasis while Yellowjacket, Black Panther, and Vision participate in phase two of the contest. However, Cap and the others are soon revived by the Wasp and the Black Knight, who somehow transported himself to the future. Immediately, the heroes storm into Kang’s throne room and battle the time-traveling despot, to the Grandmaster’s great amusement. Once Kang is defeated, the Grandmaster returns the Avengers home, where the team extends an offer of membership to the Black Knight. After speaking with Dr. Santini, Captain America holds a press conference to announce that Tony Stark’s heart surgery was successful and he is expected to make a full recovery.

Later that night, Captain America summons the Avengers to an emergency meeting to inform them that three New York City officials have been kidnapped by a notorious terrorist called Scorpio. Arriving at Avengers Mansion, Cap runs into an angry Rick Jones and finally has the chance to explain that the Red Skull had disguised himself as Cap last month and tried to ruin their friendship. Rick is relieved to learn the truth. As the meeting begins, Dum-Dum Dugan calls from S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to report that Nick Fury is dead, gunned down by a HYDRA assassin. Rick explains that he was hanging around Nick Fury’s apartment, hoping for a chance to join S.H.I.E.L.D., when he was attacked by Scorpio, who used a weird weapon called the Zodiac Key. Rick claims he was rescued by a superhero called Captain Marvel, who dropped him off at the mansion. Before the Avengers can determine a course of action, though, Scorpio patches into their communications equipment and taunts them, then triggers an explosion that knocks everyone unconscious. When Cap revives, he finds that he, Rick, Yellowjacket, Wasp, Goliath, and Vision are being held prisoner in Scorpio’s secret headquarters. Scorpio then reveals the eleven other heads of the international crime cartel called Zodiac: Aquarius, Aries, Cancer, Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Pisces, Sagittarius, Taurus, and Virgo. Yellowjacket frees his teammates by using his cybernetic systems to direct thousands of ants to sabotage Scorpio’s control panel. During the ensuing fight, Scorpio reveals himself to be Nick Fury in disguise. However, Aries has taken possession of the Zodiac Key and turns its energies on the Avengers, weakening them severely. Rick saves them by jumping on Aries, preventing him from finishing them off. With the Zodiac Key depleted, the criminals beat a hasty retreat. Nick Fury then explains how he escaped the assassination attempt and infiltrated Zodiac after learning the real Scorpio was his younger brother Jake. As the Avengers leave Scorpio’s lair, Cap offers to renew his partnership with Rick, but Rick turns him down.

Captain America receives a call from Yellowjacket informing him of an invitation to a charity event at a city orphanage. When Cap arrives, though, he is immediately attacked by a super-strong thug calling himself the Man-Brute. But when one of the orphan children intervenes, Man-Brute suddenly runs off and disappears into the night. Following his only lead, Cap tracks down the man who issued the invitation, Silas X. Cragg, only to find him electrocuted in his home laboratory. Still, the available evidence suggests Cragg was responsible for giving the Man-Brute his super-strength. The next day, Cap learns from S.H.I.E.L.D. that Cragg had been sent to prison 15 years ago by Jeff Mace, one of the men who replaced Captain America while he was in suspended animation. Cap spends the rest of the day searching for the Man-Brute, without success.

Later, feeling frustrated about his estrangement from Sharon, Cap finds he is unable to sleep. He decides to go in to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, but ends up helping the police chase down the Scorpion instead, thereby busting the spy-ring that had hired the villain. Reaching S.H.I.E.L.D. in the morning, Cap is drafted to help Nick Fury train some novice agents. They are attacked by a pair of mind-control experts, Suprema and her brother Scarbo, but, after doing some research at the Daily Bugle and Stark Industries, Cap devises a means of disrupting Suprema’s hypnotic power. The defeated villains are taken into custody and their weaponized truck, the Wolverine Jet, is impounded.

The next day, Cap returns to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters and tells Nick Fury that he will no longer assist the agency unless Sharon is assigned to administrative duty. Fury calls Sharon into his office, and she reluctantly agrees to Cap’s demands. However, when Cap is later led into a trap by A.I.M., he finds that Sharon is already on the case. He is enraged that she and Fury lied to him, and after defeating the cyborg creature that A.I.M. sent against them, Cap tells Sharon he can’t trust her and leaves. When he reaches his seedy hotel room, Cap convinces himself that his relationship with Sharon is over.

Wanting to distance himself from S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America joins Goliath, Black Panther, and the Vision at a Brooklyn pier to see off Yellowjacket and the Wasp, who, along with their friend Bill Foster, are leaving to head up a government research project in Alaska. Once the ship has departed, the Avengers are suddenly accosted by Quicksilver, who tells them that the Scarlet Witch has been kidnapped by an extradimensional barbarian named Arkon, who has also kidnapped numerous nuclear physicists. Unable to breach the dimensional barrier on their own, Cap calls in Thor and Iron Man for help. Using the power of Thor’s enchanted hammer, the Avengers travel to Arkon’s otherworldly realm of Polemachus and storm his fortress. Fighting Arkon’s hordes, Captain America finds himself back in the sort of all-out combat he hasn’t seen since World War II. When Arkon transports himself and the Scarlet Witch to earth, the newer Avengers pursue them while Cap, Thor, and Iron Man remain behind to free the kidnapped scientists and solve the energy crisis that prompted Arkon’s incursion in the first place. With no further need for hostilities, Arkon departs peacefully and the Avengers regroup back at their headquarters.

Needing a distraction from his problems with Sharon, Captain America undertakes a mission to Vietnam to rescue the famed humanitarian Dr. Robert Hoskins from the clutches of the Mandarin, who somehow survived their encounter back in March. Upon his return to New York, Cap goes to Harlem and helps the Falcon bust a gang of racketeers known as the Diamond Heads. The next day, Cap reluctantly agrees to help Nick Fury test some new ordinance, but refuses to discuss what’s going on between him and Sharon. Later that night, Cap is informed that his S.H.I.E.L.D. security clearance has been revoked. Angered, Cap goes to confront Fury in his apartment, but runs into Joe Robertson, city editor of the Daily Bugle. Robertson informs Cap that he’s under suspicion, but he doesn’t know why. In the morning, Fury asks Cap to come to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, and when he arrives, Cap is subjected to a battery of dangerous tests against a powerful android. The android goes berserk and tries to kill Cap, then is just as suddenly deactivated. Sharon enters and reports that the android’s creator was a double-agent, and Fury used Cap to flush him out. Fed up with Fury, Sharon, and S.H.I.E.L.D., Cap storms out.

Returning to Avengers Mansion, Captain America is attacked by the Wakandan supervillain Man-Ape. When Goliath, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision intervene, Man-Ape finds himself outnumbered and flees. However, after the Black Panther arrives, Man-Ape contacts the Avengers to boast that he’s kidnapped T’Challa’s girlfriend, Monica Lynne. Over his teammates’ objections, the Black Panther goes to confront his foe alone, only to be captured. The Avengers call in Thor and Iron Man to help search the city for the Man-Ape’s lair. The Avengers split up, making it easier for Man-Ape and his partners-in-crime, the Grim Reaper, the Living Laser, Power Man, and the Swordsman, to capture them. They are soon rescued by the Vision, who reveals that his mind is based on the brain patterns of the Grim Reaper’s dead brother. The Grim Reaper freaks out, giving the Avengers the upper hand. The so-called Lethal Legion is defeated, but the Vision unexpectedly resigns from the team.

Feeling the need to get out of New York for a while, Captain America buys a motorcycle and hits the road. A few hours later, he finds himself in central Pennsylvania, where he defends a folk music festival from the infamous biker gang Satan’s Angels. Two days later, while heading to Asheville, North Carolina, Cap rescues Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia from the Red Skull. Cap then rides through the Great Smokey Mountains into central Virginia, where he catches a campy superhero movie, Captain America Versus the Hulk. Annoyed by the audience’s negative reaction to the character based on him, Cap leaves and rides to a nearby college town, where he gets mixed up in an altercation between student activists and police in riot gear. A television producer on the scene offers to pay Cap to make a speech on TV the next night. Cap agrees and rides back to Secaucus, New Jersey, to the studios of WOR-TV. However, rather than read the right-wing diatribe that was prepared for him, Captain America talks about how America was founded by dissidents wanting to make a better society. He is interrupted when Batroc, Whirlwind, and the Porcupine storm into the studio and attack him. Cap makes short work of his foes, then returns to his motorcycle and gets back on the road.

Cap decides to ride up the Atlantic coast to Boston, Massachusetts, where he is led into a trap by news reports that Bucky Barnes has been found alive and is suffering from amnesia. Investigating, Cap is surprised to discover that the mastermind behind the plot is Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, whom Nick Fury had reported was dead. Cap is taken prisoner, but Bucky turns the tables on Strucker. When their foe is taken into police custody, Cap gives Bucky a ride out into the countryside, where Bucky suddenly attacks Cap and tries to kill him. Cap is so desperate to believe that his partner is truly alive that he allows himself to take a beating. But, overcome by conflicting impulses, Bucky soon explodes, revealing himself to be nothing more than a sophisticated android. Still, as he buries his partner’s android doppelgänger, Cap consoles himself by thinking that somehow Bucky’s personality overcame the android’s programming and prevented it from committing murder. Weary of his aimless wandering, Cap decides to return to New York City.

At Avengers Mansion the next day, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Goliath, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, and Vision argue about the best way the Avengers can serve the greater good of society. Cap agrees with Thor, Iron Man, and Quicksilver that the team should focus on global threats like the international crime syndicate Zodiac. However, the Black Panther argues that the Avengers could do more good dealing with organized crime closer to home. Goliath and the Scarlet Witch side with the Vision, who wants to help the Native American hero Red Wolf avenge the murder of his parents. Unable to reach a consensus, the Avengers decide to split their forces, and each faction goes its own way. After the others have left, though, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and Quicksilver are rendered unconscious when a fast-acting knock-out gas is pumped into their headquarters. When the four Avengers revive, they find themselves in Madison Square Garden about to be executed by Zodiac’s mercenaries in front of thousands of unwilling spectators. Fortunately, the Black Panther and Daredevil have set them free, and they immediately fight back. As Zodiac’s leader, Aries, tries to escape, Thor blows up his airship with a bolt of lightning, causing a force field isolating Manhattan to dissolve. National Guard troops pour into the city and capture the mercenaries. The Avengers spend the rest of the day helping to repair the damage Zodiac caused to the bridges and tunnels leading to the island. Comparing notes at the mansion later, the heroes are surprised to learn that the three separate cases they had pursued were all, in fact, connected.

After spending a couple of days patrolling Harlem with the Falcon, Captain America reveals to his new friend that his real name is Steve Rogers. Then, seeing that A.I.M. has sent a large humanoid robot to start demolishing slum tenements, Captain America and the Falcon intercept it. With some help from Tony Stark, Cap manages to jam the robot’s control signals, causing it to go haywire. The robot leads them straight to M.O.D.O.K., who’s hiding in an abandoned church nearby. The robot demolishes the church, but Cap and the Falcon get out safely. As the dust settles, Cap suggests that he and the Falcon become crimefighting partners. The Falcon enthusiastically agrees.

November 1964 – Steve checks out of his fleabag hotel and moves into Sam Wilson’s apartment in Harlem. The new roommates have many discussions about the election of Senator Morris N. Richardson as the next President of the United States. Richardson’s right-wing rhetoric has alarmed Sam, but Steve argues that he deserves a chance to prove himself in office. The two men spend most of the month engaged in intensive training, and Steve finds Sam to be an eager student. When Thanksgiving comes around, Sam goes to spend the day with his sister, Sarah Casper, and her son Jody, while Captain America has dinner at Avengers Mansion with Goliath, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision. As ever, the team’s butler, Edwin Jarvis, serves up a delicious feast. The following week, Captain America and the Falcon keep Jody Casper from falling in with an organized crime syndicate led by a mobster known as Stone-Face. Though Sarah Casper is shot by Stone-Face’s goons, she recovers, and Captain America and the Falcon turn the gang over to the police.

December 1964 – Captain America continues training the Falcon in various forms of combat. As Christmas approaches, Cap participates in a Toys-for-Tots program sponsored by the United States Marine Corps, and is joined by Thor, Black Panther, and Spider-Man in distributing toys to underprivileged children. Then, Cap takes the Falcon to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to introduce him to Nick Fury and Dum-Dum Dugan. The Falcon impresses them with his fighting prowess. Cap finds Sharon Carter and asks if she can spare a few minutes to talk. However, Sharon says she’s too busy, and Cap testily retorts that he never could compete with her duty to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Soon after, Captain America attends a meeting of the Avengers with Thor, Iron Man, Goliath, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, and Vision. Then, while Cap and the others go to make a television appearance for charity, Thor, Iron Man, and Goliath head to the Caribbean to protect an experimental weather-control station for the United Nations. When the trio returns, they report that they battled the Hulk, the Silver Surfer, and the Sub-Mariner until Namor’s Atlantean scientists convinced them the project needed to be shut down. The Avengers then hold their third annual Christmas charity benefit, at which Cap introduces the Falcon to his teammates.

A couple of days later, Nick Fury asks Captain America and the Falcon to track down and capture a large gorilla that’s been robbing banks. They somewhat reluctantly agree, though when they find the gorilla, Cap and Falcon are attacked by a pack of dogs, which allows the gorilla to escape. Fed up, Cap goes to find Sharon at her current assignment, a project to dig a shaft deep into the earth in which to dump nuclear waste. However, the gorilla attacks the project, and while fighting, Cap and the gorilla tumble into the shaft. They plunge all the way down to Subterranea, where they are saved by the Mole Man. Learning that the surface world intends to dump its nuclear waste into his kingdom, the Mole Man is ready to start a war, but Cap convinces him to negotiate instead. The gorilla, who proves capable of speech, interferes, but with some timely help from the Falcon, Cap finally defeats the gorilla. Mortally wounded, the gorilla transforms into Dr. Erik Gorbo, a S.H.I.E.L.D. biochemist, before dying. The Mole Man returns Cap and the Falcon to the surface, where Cap is incensed that Sharon didn’t wait to see whether he made it back alive.

While the Falcon goes off on his own, Steve broods about his faltering relationship with Sharon, realizing that he would be willing to give up being Captain America if it meant they could have a life together. His musings are interrupted by Jody Casper, who is looking to warn his Uncle Sam that Stone-Face is out on bail. Realizing the Falcon must have gone after Stone-Face alone, Cap tracks his partner down and finds him fighting with Spider-Man. Cap breaks up the fight, and the Falcon admits it was just a misunderstanding. The three heroes then team up to expose Stone-Face’s plot to extort favors from a government official. Afterwards, Cap is recruited by Police Commissioner Michael J. Murphy to go undercover to investigate the disappearances of numerous patrolmen and city officials. Cap accepts the assignment, thinking he may have finally found a way to build a new life for Steve Rogers apart from his costumed identity as Captain America.


Notes:

January 1964 – Captain America and the Avengers rescue Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch from Ixar and the Ultroids and return to the mansion in Avengers #36–38. Cap’s solo adventures then continue in Tales of Suspense #88 and following. Cap has cameo appearances in Avengers #40 and Strange Tales #156 before joining his teammates for the fight with Diablo in Avengers #42.

February 1964 – The Avengers rescue the Black Widow from the Communists in Avengers #43–44. Cap then hangs out at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters in Strange Tales #159–162.

March 1964 – Cap helps the Avengers stop the monstrous master plan of the Mandarin in Avengers Annual #1. The locations are not specified in the original story, but in 1964 these were the chief diamond-producing centers in the regions mentioned. The battles with the Super-Adaptoid and Whirlwind then follow in Avengers #45–46.

April 1964 – Captain America appears briefly in Avengers #47 in order to quit the team, before revealing his secret identity to the public in Tales of Suspense #95. During Cap’s team-up with the Black Panther, which crosses over into Avengers #51, Tales of Suspense ceased to be a split-book, as favorable business conditions allowed Marvel to expand their line. The book was re-titled Captain America with issue #100. It seems likely that the blond spy Irma Kruhl, seen in Tales of Suspense #97, is really Irma Klausvichnova, one of the Black Widow’s mentors, who was introduced in Bizarre Adventures #25. Captain America makes a one-panel appearance in Avengers #52.

May 1964 – Cap’s little speech at the end of Captain America #105 seems to suggest that he is a Christian.

July 1964 – The Fourth-of-July picnic at Avengers Mansion occurs behind the scenes, and is suggested by the date. Cap then leads the Avengers on their time-traveling adventure in Avengers #56, which leads directly into Avengers Annual #2. Due to the machinations of the Scarlet Centurion, the Avengers do not travel back into their own past, but into the parallel universe now known as Earth-689, which, incidentally, is the same world depicted in What If? #4. However, Captain America does not remember the events of that night clearly enough (partly from the trauma itself and partly because of his post-cryogenic amnesia) to realize it, despite there being significant differences in how the events played out. The most important difference is that the Captain America of Earth-689 is killed by the same explosion that kills Bucky. In Avengers Annual #2, the team travels to the 1964 of Earth-689, where they battle the Scarlet Centurion and their own counterparts. As the team finally returns to its own reality, though, the Watcher erases the Avengers’ memories of this adventure, since the Scarlet Centurion, Pharaoh Rama-Tut, Kang the Conqueror, and Immortus are all the same person. Cap arranges for the Army to guard Doctor Doom’s castle behind the scenes, but it’s the best explanation for why troops are there when Doctor Doom returns later in the same month, as seen in Marvel Super-Heroes #20.

August 1964 – Cap joins his teammates in welcoming the Vision to their ranks in Avengers #58. As Steve Rogers reminisces about World War II with Nick Fury in Captain America #109, he says that the mission to destroy the Third Reich’s automated coastal guns in advance of the Allied invasion of France on D-Day was one of the last missions he and Bucky undertook together. This would have occurred in late May to early June 1944, and suggests that Bucky gave up his costumed identity soon after. Cap then says that Bucky died “during the last days of the war,” which would have been in 1945, at least nine months later. Thus, it seems that Captain America operated without his sidekick for most of the final year of the war.

September 1964 – Captain America makes an appearance at the wedding of the Wasp and Yellowjacket in Avengers #60. Sidney “The Gaff” Levine remains behind the scenes when Cap fakes his own death, but he’s the one most likely to enable Cap to pull it off. Shortly after witnessing Captain America’s apparent death, Madame Hydra is replaced by the Space Phantom, and it is his idea to use the funeral to strike back at the Avengers. At the end of the battle in Drearcliff Cemetery, the Space Phantom teleports back to his hideout at the moment the heat-seeking missiles explode. There, he assumes a new identity, thus returning Madame Hydra from Limbo. This is how she survives the explosion. Cap and Rick’s momentary disorientation is the result of events revealed in the flashbacks in Avengers #106–107 and Captain America #179, where he and Rick fight a second wave of HYDRA agents, follow them back to their headquarters, and encounter the Space Phantom. There are several problems with this retcon, though, so it’s just as well that Cap has no memory of it. Following the reports of Cap’s death, it stands to reason that either the Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D. collected his personal effects from the high-rise hotel where he’d been living. At the climax of Captain America #119, the Cosmic Cube melts due to the intervention of M.O.D.O.K., who wanted only to prevent the Red Skull from turning its power against A.I.M. Captain America then appears in Daredevil #43, where exposure to radiation makes Daredevil go berserk and attack Cap in Madison Square Garden. For more information, see OMU: Daredevil – Year Three. Finally, neither Captain America nor Nick Fury suspect that the Iron Man they work with in Iron Man #18 is an LMD impostor, or that the HYDRA agents they capture are the ones who fought Cap and Rick in the abovementioned flashbacks.

October 1964 – The Avengers battle the Squadron Sinister as pawns of Kang the Conqueror and the Grandmaster in Avengers #69–71. Cap then makes a brief appearance in Iron Man #19 before leading his teammates against Zodiac in Avengers #72. Rick turns down Cap’s offer to be his partner because he recently became “merged” with Captain Marvel and doesn’t want anyone to know. In Captain America #121, Jeff Mace is not mentioned, but given the 15-year timeframe, it would have to be him. So Cragg was actually trying to get revenge on the wrong guy. This also accounts for why Steve Rogers seems to have never heard of Cragg. During his battle with the Scorpion in the next issue, Cap remains unaware that Sharon Carter was being held prisoner by the Scorpion’s employers, and by capturing them, Cap saved her life. Suprema, introduced in the following issue, will return to menace Cap many years hence as Mother Night. Captain America participates in his team’s battles with Arkon in Avengers #75–76 and the Lethal Legion in Avengers #78–79. The exact route Cap follows on his road trip in Captain America #128–132 is not specified, but this is my best guess given the limited timeframe. In Captain America #129, Prince Faisal, the regent of Saudi Arabia, is fictionalized as “King Hassab of Irabia.” Although the story in Captain America #131 asserts that Cap found the latest ersatz Bucky in San Francisco, he doesn’t have time to ride his motorcycle all the way out to the west coast and back before Avengers #80, so I believe he actually rode north to Boston. Baron Strucker is indeed dead at this point, and Cap actually fights a robot created by Samuel “Starr” Saxon, later known as the Machinesmith, as revealed in Captain America #247. The Avengers’ second encounter with Zodiac spans Avengers #80–82, which is followed by a Rutland, Vermont Halloween Parade story.

November 1964 – For more information on President Morris N. Richardson, see OMU: POTUS – Part Three. Captain America’s Thanksgiving dinner with the Avengers is seen in flashback in Avengers #280.

December 1964 – Cap participates in the Toys-for-Tots program in Avengers #85, then appears with the Avengers in Sub-Mariner #35. Cap’s meeting with the New York City Police Commissioner brings us up to the beginning of Captain America #139.


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