Predating the United States' entry into World War II, Captain America is one of the oldest superhero in Marvel Comics' vast library of colorful characters. With nearly 80 years of comic book stories, the Sentinel of Liberty has starred in some of the greatest tales to come out of the Marvel Universe, both on his own and as a member of the Avengers.
Now, we're picking out some of the best solo comic stories starring Steve Rogers, the most iconic character to don the mantle of Captain America, that are new reader-friendly and accessible for those unfamiliar with the star-spangled superhero.
The Winter Soldier
Kicking off Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting's universally acclaimed run on the title, 2005's Captain America: The Winter Soldier served as the inspiration forn the second solo Captain America film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just as with the film, Steve Rogers would discover his best friend and partner throughout World War II, Bucky Barnes had survived the modern era, relatively un-aged but brainwashed to be the lethal Soviet assassin the Winter Soldier.
The comic story features many of the classic Marvel characters associated with the Star-Spangled Avenger including Sharon Carter, Nick Fury and the Red Skull, as the longtime villain had managed to obtain the Cosmic Cube by the start of the instant-classic story.
Captain America was briefly presumed dead by the general public once again but Mark Waid and Ron Garney's classic 1996 story Operation: Rebirth brought the Sentinel of Liberty back to the forefront of the Marvel Universe. Steve Rogers was rescued by his presumed dead ex-girlfriend Sharon Carter...under the orders of the Red Skull!
Waid and Garney's story examines the antagonistic dynamic between Captain America and the Red Skull as the mismatched duo seek to restore reality in an epic adventure that pitted the two longtime enemies against a common, infamous threat wielding the Cosmic Cube.
War & Remembrance
By 1980, Steve Rogers had relocated from his hometown of New York City to Washington, D.C. and worked as an advertising artist by day while secretly saving the day as Captain America. The creative team of Roger Stern and John Byrne explored the political possibilities of positioning Steve in the nation's capital, with a special interests group attempting to run the hero as a presidential candidate.
Collected as War & Remembrance, the story examined Steve Rogers in contrast to the patriotic expectations of his superhero alter-ego. The second half of Stern and Byrne's run has Captain America travel to England to reunite with his old comrade, the World War II Union Jack, one last time against Baron Blood.
Not to be confused with the controversial, relatively recent comic book crossover event of the same name Captain America and the Falcon found themselves facing the ramifications of the Watergate Scandal in the real world in 1974's Captain America: Secret Empire. Written by Steve Englehart and illustrated by Sal Buscema, Captain America was rocked upon discovering a conspiracy stretching as high as the President's office.
Upon dismantling the clandestine plot, Steve Rogers would give up the mantle of Captain America for the first time, exploring his role in contrast to the country and what exactly he represented in one of America's darkest hours.
Captain America No More
One of the most prolific Captain America writers is Mark Gruenwald, who penned Cap's solo adventures throughout the '80s and into the '90s. In 1987, Gruenwald teamed with artists Kieron Dwyer and Tom Morgan for "Captain America No More," collected as Captain America: The Captain.
When Captain America is ordered to report directly to the federal government, Steve Rogers declines and surrenders the mantle, including its uniform and vibranium shield, before taking on a new, unsanctioned superhero alter ego as The Captain. In his new, black costume, Steve Rogers would find himself facing his government-sponsored replacement John Walker, with the Red Skull waiting in the wings to strike.
The Death of Captain America
The culmination of Brubaker and Epting's initial Captain America story arc, Steve Rogers had been imprisoned after surrendering at the end of Civil War and was gunned down on the courthouse steps as he arrived to stand trial. The murder would send shockwaves throughout the Marvel Universe for months to come as the heroes and victims reacted to the sudden loss of the formerly living legend.
The Death of Captain America had the other characters explore a world without the Star-Spangled Avenger including an attempt to replace Captain America with Bucky Barnes, who pondered his worth in comparison to Captain America's legacy and his own heroic redemption.