Whether you love him or hate him, you cannot deny that Captain America is one of the most iconic characters in all of comic books. Having debuted in 1941, his history is almost as old as the superhero genre itself. So on the eve of the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I’ll give you my perspective as to why he might be the greatest superhero of them all.
Principles: The entire character of Captain America is a symbol of doing what’s right. He was created a year before the attack of Pearl Harbor forced the United States into World War II solely because Joe Simon and Jack Kirby opposed the actions of the Nazi Party. The cover of the very first Captain America comic features the titular character punching Adolf Hitler in the face. This decision was extremely controversial at the time. Many opposed the US getting involved and felt that this could possibly cause retaliation from the Germans. But Simon and Kirby refused to sit quietly while Europe was locked in a bloody battle for freedom. This set the tone for the character that they created, and that still lives on to this day. Regardless of what is popular or safe, Captain America always stands up for what is right.
Lack of Superpowers: One of the most intriguing things about the Star Spangled Avenger is the fact that, while he has no actual superpowers, he is one of the most respected and feared individuals in the Marvel Universe. True, he had his physiology pushed to the absolute peak of human potential by way of the Super Soldier Serum, but nothing about him is remotely superhuman.
Intangibles: What he lacks in superpowers, he more than makes up for with his unwavering moral code, a brilliant tactical mind, an incredible fighting prowess, and relentless courage. This lack of abilities has not deterred or prevented him from going toe-to-toe with the likes of The Hulk, Dr. Doom, or Iron Man. He even stood up alone to Thanos while he was in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, making him practically omnipotent. Even the god of thunder Thor, has stated that Captain America is the only human from whom he will take orders…the ultimate sign of the respect that Steve Rogers garners.
Longevity: The fact that a character that was created to be a symbol of American patriotism in the face of a World War has stood the test of time speaks volumes to its appeal. The fact that he has remained relevant even now in a time where Americanism is not considered something to be valued or proud of, is an incredible testament to the undying hope for the ideals upon which his character is founded.
So, let’s all give a heartfelt salute to the Sentinel of Liberty and show Hollywood (and the world as a whole) that Captain America is and forever will be the best of what comics has to offer, by throwing down your hard-earned cash to see his new movie.