Famous panels: Captain America 2

Remember a few years ago when Captain America died?  And by died I mean trapped in time to eventually come back and fire missiles at a giant Red Skull robot?  Well, that’s not the first time he fake died.  And luckily for me, that happens to coincide with #23 on Comic Book Resources’ Top 70 Most Iconic Marvel Panels of All-Time.  Check out the full list here.  With a wildly poetic rallying call at the top of the page and a heroic pose from our hero as he stands on top of a bad guy mountain, how could this not be one of the most iconic panels?

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But before all that, he has to fake die.  Y’see, turns out too many villainous people know Captain America’s true identity (spoiler alert: Steve Rogers).  That’s going to inconvenience his social life when terrorists drop out of air ducts every time Rogers walks into a restaurant.  So he decides on a genius plan.  One that’ll emotionally destroy his friends and family in Captain America #111 and #113, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jim Steranko.

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Maybe the first clue of something fishy should have been the superhero jumping into bullets.  Most do-gooders tend to avoid gunfire (except Wolverine).  While congrats to Hydra for killing the hero of World War II, we all know who was the real Captain America.  It’s that warm feeling as we place our hand over our hearts.

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Yes, Hydra has a new brilliant scheme which doesn’t involve praying superheroes hop helplessly while they shoot guns.  Unfortunately for Rogers to have that freedom he so desperately seeks, he’ll have to make a complete break.  That means cutting ties with all his costumed buddies, ignoring any details that they may be devastated that their dear friend lost to the world’s most ineffective terrorist organization.

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Hydra’s new master plan involves gassing the other superheroes and stuffing them into coffins.  They totally succeed because I imagine it’s difficult to fight bad guys with tears clouding vision.  But someone’ll save the Avengers, right?  How about Bucky?

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Not the World War II Bucky.  He’s too busy being a brainwashed assassin for the communists.  No, this is Rick Jones dressed up as Captain America’s former sidekick.  Rick Jones, who you may remember as the boy who recklessly wandered into a gamma radiation test zone that accidentally transformed Bruce Banner into the Hulk.  As probably the luckiest kid in the Marvel universe, Jones traveled the world as the Hulk’s buddy, Captain America’s number two, and Captain Marvel’s partner before turning into a Hulk-like superhero called A-Bomb.  But currently, he has to have his butt saved by all that’s good and wonderful about the US of A — the captain, a motorcycle, and bloodying terrorists.

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Thus begins the coolest comic battle of 1969.  I’m just saying this issue is followed by us landing on the moon two months later.  It was a good year to be an American.  I mean, if you ignore Vietnam.

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While I admire the grandiose speech Lee wrote, I imagine the Hydra goons thoughts were less of “How do you destroy an ideal — a dream?” and more of “Aaargh, my face!”  But who knows?  Even henchmen can be poetic during moments of trauma.

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She doesn’t actually die.  Fake death applies to supervillains as well.  Though as we wrap up our story today and watch as the next phase of Captain America’s life begins, remember that despite all of America’s problems (so, so many problems) — at least our heroes totally rock.  I mean, Captain Britain uses magic.  Wuss.

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