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.


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.

Jump To: Captain America – Year Four

Jump Back: Captain America – Year Two

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