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The Many Deaths of Captain America

Throughout the years, Captain America has died and faked his death a ton of times. We discuss all of them in the 616.

There's only one person that sucks more at dying than Mr. Immortal, and his name is Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America. He's died quite a few times since his appearance in CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 back in late 1940 and he's even tried to fake his death numerous times, unbeknownst to the reader.

What follows are some of the times in comics where Steve Rogers has duped the world by dying and resurrecting or by faking his death and coming back. Let's take a stroll through history to check out all the times that Cap has gotten capped. We will just be discussing Captain America of the 616 universe.

1. AVENGERS #4 (1964)

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Steve Rogers' first "death" happened back in 1964, in AVENGERS #4, when the character was retconned and joined the Avengers for the first time. Before this point, Captain America actually had a career after World War II beating up communists and Russia. He never actually died though. He just stopped appearing in comics.

However, to add a little dramatic flair and to make Captain America the true American hero fans know him as today, his back story was retconned and now, he "died" after being thrown off an exploding plane over the Atlantic ocean, saving everyone through his heroic deeds. All of this was done by the sinister Baron Zemo.

This is the first time in the Captain America mythos where things were changed up to further his development as a character. Because Rogers had the super-soldier serum within him, the "suspended animation" gimmick made it a tad more believable that a man could "live" (without food, air, or drinkable water) in the frozen depths of the ocean for 20 years.

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2. CAPTAIN AMERICA #111 (1969)

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By 1969, Captain America had been fighting on his own and with the Avengers for a grueling 5 years. Since evil never sleeps, and everyone knew Rogers was behind the costume, Rogers wanted to make a change. He got it in CAPTAIN AMERICA #111 after he was shot to death by Hydra.

Rogers was supposed to meet Nick Fury at an amusement park, the best place for secret S.H.I.E.L.D. meetings, but instead he finds himself caught in a trap set by Hydra! He is attacked by the aptly named Hydra robot, Mankiller and Cap dives into the water to escape, with Mankiller firing at him. Rogers never comes out of the water and the police later pull a bullet-ridden costume out of the water along with a Steve Rogers mask. Could Cap be dead?

Nope. He faked his death to trick people into thinking that Steve Rogers wasn't Captain America. He wanted no one to know who was actually behind the mask and the only way to do that was to kill himself off. He tried to reinforce the idea that Captain America isn't a man. He's a mantle. While this is the first time Cap faked his own death, it was written by Jim Steranko and it provided readers with a pretty thrilling read, and at this point, it was completely unexpected and shocking.

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3. AVENGERS #177 (1978)

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Retcons and faked deaths aside, this is the first time Steve Rogers actually dies. In AVENGERS #177, the powerful Korvac lays the smackdown on the Avengers, but don't worry, no one remembers it.

During the Korvac Saga, the almighty Korvac was busy traveling the galaxy, downloading information, to become this super-powered being. Korvac started a fight with the Avengers because he was afraid they would get all the cosmic forces together to stop him. What happens next was Korvac killing all the Avengers, including Captain America.

Don't worry though because Korvac resurrected everyone afterwards because he showed everyone he wasn't evil. Then, Moondragon erased everyone's memory of the fight in one of the weirdest villain turns in Marvel history. Apparently, it's cool to murder people, as long as you resurrect them right afterwards, even American heroes who can't stop dying.

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4. & 5. SECRET WARS #11 & #12 (1985)

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It's been 7 years now since Captain America's last death, so SECRET WARS #11, back in 1985, seemed like a great time to kill him off again. Once again, it's not just Captain America that meets the sweet taste of death. It's also his fellow heroes.

In an ultimate fanboy move, The Beyonder decides to transport some heroes and villains to a planet to have them duke it out because the battle forums just weren't working for him. After some battles and Spider-man getting that sweet black suit (nothing can go wrong with that, right?), the heroes all sit at a table and everything explodes.

Yet again, Captain America meets his fate. Don't worry. They come back, but towards the end of the series, Captain America fights Doctor Doom, who has a hold of The Beyonder's powers, disintegrates Captain America, but Klaw, whose body has been taken over by The Beyonder, brings him back. Technically, Cap is destroyed twice during this scene, but let's just count it as one.

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6. INFINITY GAUNTLET #4 (1991)

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Another giant event and another time Captain America dies. However, it wouldn't be a truly memorable event without tons of people dying, only later to be brought back to life by someone else. This time, the threat is cosmic. Enter Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet.

The focus here isn't on the Avengers or Captain America. It's all about the space tyrant, Thanos, looking to grasp as much power as possible. The Infinity Gauntlet made him into a god and what does someone with an almost unlimited amount of power do? Well, you kill almost everyone.

While it's not 100% certain he kills Captain America, in INFINITY GAUNTLET #4, we have to assume as much after he gives Cap a tremendous backhand, then clears the battlefield with the power of thought and by thought, we mean the Infinity Gauntlet. As always, Captain America comes back later on through the power of the gauntlet, so all is not lost.

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7. PUNISHER/CAPTAIN AMERICA: BLOOD & GLORY #2 (1992)

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It's another case of of Steve Rogers faking his own death. It's been a year since he's died, so during this three-part miniseries, Cap dies again, but this time at the hands of the Punisher, who loves shooting people.

The same year that Superman died, so did Cap, again. However, the events of PUNISHER/CAPTAIN AMERICA: BLOOD & GLORY #2 came out before Doomsday punched Superman into his coma. In the first issue of this mini-series, Punisher ends up shooting Captain America because he was under the influence of someone else.

In issue #2, Rogers is wheeled into a emergency room, but tells Nick Fury to let him die. There's a funeral and lots of crying, but don't worry, he was just faking his death again! Cap and Punisher them team-up, covert ops style to beat the bad guy. Weirdly enough, we couldn't actually find the shot that lead to Cap faking his death, but we did find the panel of his funeral. Also, enjoy Punisher talking about binding testicles.

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8. CAPTAIN AMERICA #443 (1995)

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Captain America only has 24 hours to live! What do you do when you have so little time left? Maybe have some coffee with Batroc the Leaper? Here's a case of Captain America dying that ended up him not dying...

Steve Rogers learns from The Black Crow that the super-soldier serum is deteriorating and his heart will stop in 24 hours. Captain America spends some facetime with Crossbones and Batroc before he lays in bed and goes for the long sleep. There's a funeral and everything, in which President Bill Clinton is a pallbearer.

However, he's not really dead! A couple issues later, Cap awakes in some ice and learns that someone stole his body, moments before his death and saved him! Don't get too excited. It was actually Red Skull, who now lives in a body cloned from Rogers. Now, they are equals in power and skill.

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9. ONSLAUGHT: MARVEL UNIVERSE #1 (1996)

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One year later, after being cloned by Red Skull, Captain America meets his fate once again, but this time, at the hands of the most mind-bending villain anyone in the Marvel U has ever faced: Onslaught.

At the end of the Onslaught Saga, in ONSLAUGHT: MARVEL UNIVERSE #1, Captain America, with his fellow Avengers, are doing anything they can to stop the Professor X/Magneto hybrid, Onslaught. The entire world is at stake and in order to stop this super-villain, the Avengers join with him, knowing that they may never return.

They all died, kinda. Young Franklin Richards created a pocket dimension where all of the heroes ended up living. Things were much different in this universe, and Rogers had no recollection of what happened to him in the 616. After a while, all the heroes regained their memories and all returned to Earth where they continued to battle bad guys left and right, and Steve Rogers never died again... Wait... No. He died one more time.

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10. CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 (2007)

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At the end of Civil War, Captain America had been arrested and hope was lost for the heroes who opposed the registration act. Fighting for his freedom, Rogers ended up losing his life as well by the hands of somone closest to him.

In handcuffs, Captain America spots a laser sight on the back of an officer, and pushes him out of the way, getting shot in the back, by Crossbones. As he falls, a brainwashed Sharon Carter runs to his aid, only to deliver the killing shots to his body. Captain America gave his life, thinking he was saving someone else.

A pivotal point in Ed Brubaker's run, Bucky AKA Winter Soldier wore the mantle of Captain America even after Rogers came back to life. How did he come back to life? Well, it was later revealed that the gun Carter used to shoot Rogers didn't kill him but froze him in space and time. He is eventually freed and returns, but continues to let Bucky wear the red, white, and blue.

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It's weird to think there have been 10 separate occasions where Captain America died or tried to convince the world he died. Sure, there's other moments, not taking place in the 616 universe, where he's died too, like when Punisher lost is and killed everyone in the Marvel Universe, but aside from Mr Immortal, it's hard to think of a character who has died and come back to life this many times. Death is a gimmick in comics. Sometimes it works and elevates a story, like with the end of Civil War, and other times, it's there for shock and nothing else, like almost every other time Rogers as died. We leave you now with Punisher shooting Captain America in the head, after Punisher shot everyone else.

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Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a writer on this blog he never updates and a tweeter on this site he's always on.