No one in the Marvel Comics Universe is infallible, not even Steve Rogers. Yes, despite being a tactical genius and an accomplished leader, Cap has his off days. His tactical know-how doesn't always help him, as some foes are simply too powerful or some far smarter. That's not to say Steve isn't smart, but he's more a people person than a scientist. Rogers has occasionally found himself on the receiving end of some major defeats, his tenacity and ability to get back up time and time again is part of what defines him. One of the most impressive things about Captain America is his ability to take defeat and turn it into actionable lessons. He will find a way to win, he will exhaust every viable option.
Steve managed to turn the side of a universe-ending war in Infinity, using his tactical prowess to outsmart The Builders. For every defeat Rogers has, there are multiple victories to counterbalance them. Cap has made a career of making the best out of what he has, and his results inspire respect and confidence in him. There is a reason he's lead Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the field for so long. His knowledge of battle, combat and positioning have afforded him some of the most satisfying and odds-defying wins. The First Avenger, worthy of Mjolnir and American figurehead, Steve is a fighting champion. Join CBR as we look at his most embarrassing defeats and times he's humiliated others.
20 EMBARRASSED CAP: IRON MAN
This instance occurred during Civil War in the comics. Tony Stark set up a fake distress signal to lure Cap and his friends out to save the day. Iron Man surrounded the Anti-Registration forces and asked to talk for a moment. When he and Steve shook hands, Steve put an EMP device on his hand, shutting down his armor.
Cap's forces attacked, attempting to battle out of the ambush. Tony's armor rebooted a few minutes later and he was very, very annoyed. He proceeded to beat down Steve, repeatedly striking his former friend in the face. It wasn't until Hercules intervened on Steve's behalf that the beating ceased.
19 HUMILIATED BY CAP: IRON MAN
Tony may have gotten his licks in on cap midway through Civil War, but it wouldn't go unanswered. Steve had orchestrated a breakout for all the captured Anti-Registration heroes with the aid of Hulkling. Using his shapeshifting powers to pose as Hank Pym, Hulkling was able to replenish Cap's forces' numbers by freeing their friends.
As the final battle rages, vision phased his arm through Iron Man, shutting off his armor more permanently this time. Steve Rogers, having outsmarted Stark once more, decided to repay him for the beating he'd received earlier. He wailed on Tony with so much frustration that it took civilian intervention to pry him off the inventor. Steve felt pity on his beaten friend, and surrendered to the police rather than finish the job.
18 EMBARRASSED CAP: WOLVERINE
Cap and Wolverine have ruffled each other's feathers a few times across the years. They're both older than most, experienced more conflict than most and have an unwavering tenacity. Though he wouldn't fight Steve without good reason, sometimes it hasn't entirely been Logan's choice.
In once such instance, Logan was brainwashed into becoming a nefarious figure. When Steve turned up to investigate, he found himself dispatched easily by the feral X-Man. Without being in the right mind, Logan showed no remorse for beating Cap, knocking him out before being distracted by approaching supervillains. One of Cap's quicker defeats, it must have stung when he woke up!
17 HUMILIATED BY CAP: WOLVERINE
During Avengers Vs. X-Men, Wolverine and Captain America were initially working alongside one another. Given the sensitive nature of the debate over Hope Summers harnessing the Phoenix Force, Steve needed a mutant he trusted to consult. Given the cosmic force's history with mutants hosts, Wolverine had a particularly lethal idea.
Cap, not wanting to end the life of a young mutant to save the planet, opposed Wolverine's idea. Steve needed Logan, however, to track Hope in order to take her into custody and keep her safe. When Wolverine got Cap close enough to locate Hope himself, he kicked Logan out of the Quinjet mid-flight.
16 EMBARRASSED CAP: HIMSELF
At the culmination of the Secret Empire event, the only person who could stop Hydra Cap made his appearance. That person was, of course, regular Captain America. The sinister Hydra Cap, the result of Red Skull messing with a Cosmic Cube come to life, had brought the planet under his heel. The confrontation with his original self represented a clash in fundamental ideologies.
Despite the fact Hydra Cap wielded shards of a cosmic cube and Mjolnir, Steve Rogers proper gave him a thorough beating. After all his planning, betrayal and dictatorial posturing, Hydra Supreme Rogers was toppled by himself, the best version of himself.
15 HUMILIATED BY CAP: PUNISHER
Civil War made for strange bedfellows on both sides of the conflict. Tony Stark was drafting supervillains to do his dirty work and Steve Rogers was using Nick Fury's safe houses despite not being on best terms with the super spy following Secret War. One of the figures looking to join Captain America, was Frank Castle. Frank was fresh from saving a defecting Peter Parker in the New York sewers when he turned up on Cap's doorstep.
Initially thankful for the vigilante's assisting of the web-slinger, things soured quickly. Some supervillains approached Cap, stating they wanted to help and that they might as well seeing as Stark was using villains himself. Before Steve could answer, Punisher ended them in a hail of bullets. Steve was enraged by the senseless violence, beating Castle senseless before casting him out, with Castle refusing to fight back.
14 EMBARRASSED CAP: CABLE
There was once a time when Cable came into contention with the Avengers. Usually an ally to Earth's Mightiest Heroes, he found himself desperately trying to stop them. Seeing a future in which they would bring ruin to mutantkind, he planned to take them all down one by one, in a short amount of time.
Formerly an ally to Cap during Civil War, Cable's techno-organic virus was rapidly taking over his body at the time. This was the reason for his ambitious plan and the short time window for its completion. He captured Falcon first, luring Cap into an ambush, knocking him out with a concussive bullet.
13 HUMILIATED BY CAP: GAMBIT
In the various battles over the course of Avengers Vs. X-Men, X-Men and Avengers went toe to toe. One of these confrontations was a battle between the Star Spangled Avenger and Gambit. The Cajun thief was tasked with holding off Rogers on his hunt for Hope Summers. The crafty mutant actually did quite well, all things considered.
After having Cap's shield thrown at him, Remy LeBeau kept a hold on it. He charged it with his kinetic energy powers and threw it back at Cap, causing an explosion that destroyed most of Steve's suit. Cap was a little annoyed by this, charging forward and punching Remy so hard across the jaw that he knocked him out.
12 EMBARRASSED CAP: GAMORA
Not only did she outsmart Cap in this instance, Gamora outsmarted everyone. Using her experience from years battling across the galaxy, she tricked and outfought her own friends to acquire the Infinity Stones. Granted, she had a motive, wanting to free the lost fragment of her soul from the Soul Stone.
Steve Rogers in particular, approached Gamora after she had assembled all the stones. Hoping to reason with the deadliest woman in the galaxy, she wasn't having any of it. She used the stones to warp Cap and Dr. Strange together, into a grotesque, helpless form that could do nothing but watch her change reality around them.
11 HUMILIATED BY CAP: BARON BLOOD
Baron Blood isn't really a hero in the eyes of the world at large, but he was a hero to the AXIS forces in World War Two. After all, they needed their own superhumans to compete with the likes of Cap, Union Jack, Human Torch and Namor. Though Baron Blook usually spends his time stalking Union Jack, it was Cap who faced him this time.
Seeking to protect his ally from his longtime rival, Steve put himself between the English superhero and his vampiric foe. Steve pummeled the villain thoroughly, but that wasn't the end of it. Knowing he'd have to do something special to keep the living dead deviant down, he took Baron Blood's head off with his shield.
10 EMBARRASSED CAP: MILES MORALES
This was a strange instance, as it embarrassed Cap on multiple levels. One of which being the fact that the visual of a younger, less experienced hero defeating Rogers wasn't the best. Cap, who was secretly Hydra affiliated at the time, had to act as though Ulysses' prediction wasn't a complication for him.
Secondly, Cap had to act as a responsible figure towards the young hero. Having aligned himself with Stark in not believing Ulysses' visions being certain, he couldn't simply remove the threat of Miles discreetly. Hydra Cap had taken to silencing his opposition in the build up to Secret Empire, but given the public nature of the vision of his defeat, he couldn't do a thing about it.
9 HUMILIATED BY CAP: CAPTAIN MARVEL
Another event that happened whilst Steve was under the influence of Hydra, thanks to a sentient Cosmic Cube, this time he was in contention with Captain Marvel. He didn't even have to battle her head on in this case, but thoroughly embarrassed her nonetheless.
After convincing her to push the Earth to green light a shield that would encase the planet, protecting it from outside threats, he orchestrated an attach on the Earth by the Chitauri. When Carol and Alpha Flight responded to the threat, he erected the shield, trapping her and several of Earth's most powerful heroes on the outside. Tricked by her friend and humiliated, she had to watch from outside as Earth fell to Hydra.
8 EMBARRASSED CAP: BUCKY
This one is an entry from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from Captain America: Winter Soldier in particular. The mysterious Winter Soldier seemed to have Steve's number throughout the film, very adept at combat, taking on both cap and Black Widow simultaneously. Things got worse for Steve when it was revealed that the Winter Soldier was his old friend, Bucky.
Brainwashed and on the warpath, Bucky set about trying to dismantle Steve. Steve refused to fight back, allowing Bucky to almost take his life based on the blind faith that his friend would realize his true identity. Once defeated, he was fished out of the water by Bucky, and left on the riverbank.
7 HUMILIATED BY CAP: JACK FLAG
Another unfortunate entry from the period where Cap was under Hydra influence. This occasion was early on in his change, so nobody had any idea, least of all Jack Flag. Believing business to be ongoing as usual, he accompanied Cap on a mission to weed out a Hydra cell.
During the extraction after the mission was finished, Jack had a little difficulty getting into the aircraft. This difficulty was Steve Rogers, who has pushed him out of the moving aircraft. Betrayed by his idol, Jack fell to the ground from a great height, which put the idealistic young hero in a coma.
6 EMBARRASSED CAP: RICK JONES
Rick Jones has been friend and ally to the Avengers for years. A friend to Bruce Banner, he endeared himself to the other members of Earth's Mightiest Heroes over time. Idolizing Captain America, it pained Rick a lot to see him defect to Hydra during Secret Empire, so Rick had to act. Rick used his aptitude for computing, hacking and data mining to undermine Hydra's rule.
Information regarding Hydra Steve's sinister actions was leaked to several sources by Rick until he was eventually captured. Embarrassed and outsmarted by Rick, Cap couldn't abide it. He had Rick ended via firing squad on a live broadcast, just to save face.
5 HUMILIATED BY CAP: SPIDER-MAN
Another instance from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this time Cap get's the win on this one. Stark called in the young hero Spider-Man to assist him in bringing in Cap and his fugitive team in Captain America: Civil War. During the battle at the airport in Germany, Peter Parker found himself staring down the legendary Captain America.
Peter did quite well for himself, catching Steve by surprise with his acrobatics and webs. Cap didn't take long to adapt, using leverage to use Peter's webs against him to get the upper hand. He safely but definitively defeated the young hero, to remind him he was way out of his league.
4 EMBARRASSED CAP: JET ZOLA
Though in their first encounter, Jet wasn't a hero yet, she still managed to embarrass Steve. Trapped in Dimension Z, Cap fought hard to survive and keep his adopted son, Ian, safe. Being the actual son of Arnim Zola, that meant Jet was his older sister, and she wanted her brother back.
Using her ability to anticipate movements of opponents and move far quicker than most superhumans, Jet outclassed Steve in Hand-to-Hand combat. She defeated him quite handily and left him to his injuries. Later on, however, she would realize the evils of his father and return with Steve to Earth-616 to try and be a hero.
3 HUMILIATED BY CAP: CYCLOPS
One of the many confrontations in Avengers Vs. X-Men, this fight happened quite early in the event. Cyclops wanted to protect Hope Summers, using her as a vessel for the Phoenix Force. He believed she could control its rebirth aspect and restore a beleaguered mutant race. Cap, however, thought the Phoenix was far too destructive to be controlled.
The talking and debate soon had the two at breaking point, as a conclusion could not be reached. Fighting broke out and Steve found himself battling Scott on the beach of Utopia. Scott unleashed a wave of concussive force from his eyes, but Cap put his shield up and pushed up to the mutant leader, smashing him in the face with his shield once he got close enough.
2 EMBARRASSED CAP: VISION
In one potential future, depicted during the Age of Ultron event, Ultron has taken the Earth. In order to try and take the Earth back, the heroes hatch a plan to infiltrate his main compound. Steve is depicted as defeated when he is asked to weigh in on the plan. His shield is destroyed, along with most of his hope in salvation for the heroes.
Luke Cage and She-Hulk volunteer to take on the mission, being the most durable. When they finally find the source of the issue, it is revealed to be Vision, being used as a conduit for all of the mayhem by Ultron. Though a prisoner and remorseful for all he has done, it is Vision who is ultimately responsible for the destruction of the Avengers and Cap's hope.
1 HUMILIATED BY CAP: VAMPIRE HULK
In the Ultimate Universe, Tony Stark's sinister older brother creates his own Hulk. This Hulk, also known as Nerd Hulk, was designed to bring out the best parts of the original Hulk. Believing he had created the ultimate warrior with the sharpest intellect, he was unfortunately mistaken. Nerd Hulk was defeated a few times and even failed to impress as a member of the Ultimates.
Dejected, he decided to give up on being a hero. In yet another unlucky incident for Nerd Hulk, he was bitten by vampires during a vampiric outbreak. Coming into contention with the Ultimates once more as a vampire, Cap tricked him into fighting outside in the sunlight. Steve pointed out how foolish he was for being lured into sunlight and being defeated by it, despite all his abilities