TOP

The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So Did Captain America Kill People During World War II Or What?

by  in Comic News Comment

In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, based on a suggestion by reader Edward H., we take a look at the back and forth in Marvel Comics history over whether Captain America ever killed anyone during World War II.

Isn’t it hard to believe that I’ve never done and Abandoned an’ Forsaked on this topic? I’ve written a couple of times on the subject, but never for Abandoned an’ Forsaked.

Anyhow, during the Golden Age, Captain America killed relatively frequently. Here he is in his second issue ever…


But the early 1940s was a bit of an odd time for comics. Batman was snapping dudes necks and gunning down bad guys from an airplane. So while yes, don’t get me wrong, it can still count as a retcon if it only happened in the 1940s and was changed in the 1960s, I think it is likely more interesting to see if the behavior carried over to the “Marvel Age.”

Luckily for this topic, it did. In the very first Silver Age Captain America story set during World War II, Tales of Suspense #64, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had Cap and Bucky clearly blow up a Nazi submarine with its crew still on it (minus the members that they captured)….




In Tales of Suspsense #69, there’s Cap in his Steve Rogers secret identity shooting a rifle along with his fellow troops (no, that’s not proof that he killed anyone, it’s more part of a separate point that will come up with the retcon)…


Much late, in 1977’s Invaders #21, Roy Thomas and Franks Robbins and Springer acknowledged that Cap isn’t a fan of guns (obviously, or else he’d carry one) but showed Cap using one anyways to shoot down enemy combatants…


Then, of course, 1986’s Captain America #321-322 happened. First off, Mark Gruenwald and artists Paul Neary and John Beatty show Cap killing a terrorist when left with no other option than use the machine gun that he had in his hand as part of going undercover as a terorist…


The following issue, Gruenwald drops the retcon bomb…


Never carried a gun and never took a life until #321.

So that was the retcon for at least the rest of Gruenwald’s run.

In recent years, it has clearly been retconned once again. Cap has been shown killing in World War II a few different places, but I’ll use the recent Avengers: Endless Wartime graphic novel from last year by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone for now…



Mostly because there’s the following exchange later in the book…


Funny stuff.

Okay, there ya go, Erich! If anyone ELSE has suggestions for a future Abandoned an’ Forsaked, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!