When I watched Captain America: The First Avenger I found myself a little dissatisfied. Not because the movie was sub par (it was) but because it could have been so much more. It was as though the Marvel Cinematic Universe wanted to rush the movie so they could get The Avengers going. But MCU missed the bigger picture. They obviously did not realise that Captain America comics were primarily set in WW2. Rogers has so many stories to tell but the First Avenger did not let that happen. The movie was just congested mess.
The story is set. Steve Rogers is a frail army soldier who can not fight due to his condition. He volunteers for a Super Soldier program. It works and he defeats Red Skull. He is then found in a block of ice and wakes up in today's world. That is it. What about the stories that were not told? Like going to Africa meeting the Black Panther. Or going to Atlantis and meeting Namor. Or him and Bucky fighting vampires. Or when Steve Rogers met a very young Magneto. All of these stories will never be told on screen and that is a shame.
Captain America The First Avenger did not do what Captain America did in the comics.
In the First Avenger character development was poor. Like the movie it was rushed. You really did not know who the Howling Commandos were. They were an imperative part of the story in the comics. They worked closely with Captain America. But in the movie, sure they looked the part (well some of them) but the audience did not know who they really are.
The Howling Commandos in the First Avenger. Not one character was properly introduced.
The same goes for Red Skull. A major character but he only got a weak voice over origin story. Red Skull is the reason why Captain America is doing what he does but again he was rushed.
The Red Skull was never done justice in the First Avenger movie.
Now another aspect of what makes Captain Americas role in WW2 was the fact that he was fighting the Nazis. It was the Nazis that were behind Hydra. Fighting the Nazis is meant to be a beacon of what Captain America and the millions stand for. However in the movie it was completely gone. They just focused on the Hydra element. This took away a large part of Captain Americas history.
Comic Red Skull compared to the movie Red Skull.
This is exactly what Captain America fought. He fought the Nazis. The First Avenger bypassed this completely.
Here is my point. I love Captain America. He is one of my favourite characters in comics. Being a fan of historical events I loved to read the adventures of Rogers in WW2. I also like the his stories of today but for me, it was about his time in WW2. WW2 is the pinnacle of what Captain America stood for but it was his adventures that captivated me.
Marvel embraced WW2 in the comics..
There were particular stories that stood out.
1. Tales of Suspense
Captain America teams up with the Underground Resistance. He meets and falls for a girl who is just as dedicated to the cause as him. However, she is seemingly captured in Nazi occupied Paris. Captain America goes to search for her in hostile territory. This is a classic read because it engages in Rogers emotions. When he falls for the girl (who is mysterious) he is even more determined to beat the Nazis.
2. The Invaders
People assume that the Avengers was Marvels first team. They were not. The Invaders were the special team who fought the Nazis.
The Invaders consisted of Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Namor, Android Human Torch, Toro, Spitfire and Union Jack.
The Invaders are in multiple issues in the WW2 arc.
First issue of the Invaders.
The Invaders were not only located in Europe..
Invaders in Egypt.
Namor. A member of the Invaders who is from Atlantis.
Android Human Torch. A prominent member of the Invaders.
Toro. Android Human Torchs sidekick.
Union Jack. A volatile but still committed to the Invaders.
Bucky Barnes. Captain Americas best friend and confidant. Second in command of the Invaders.
3. Flag of our Fathers
Captain America meets Azzuri. Azzuri is the legendary Black Panther.
Captain America goes to Wakanda in Africa. He encounters the Black Panther who is very much Captain Americas equal in fighting styles. After a brief conflict, Wakanda welcomes America. However, Red Skull is in Wakanda also...
Captain America and Azzuri battle the Red Skull.
Red Skull v Howling Commandos in Flag of our Fathers.
4. Captain America #601
Captain America and Bucky Barnes fight the Nazi Baron Blood. However, this is different to what they are use to. Instead of fighting Nazis and machines they also have to content with vampires. When the battle escalates, it is dangerously close to an allied base.
Indepth story of Isiah Bradley.
Set in WW2. This story focuses on the infamous Tuskegee Experiments. Black soldiers are forced to take the super serum that was successful on Steve Rogers. However, each of the subjects either die or are mutated. But one remains immune...Isiah Bradley. Bradley would then fight the Nazis in the war.
Isiah Bradley as Captain America.
Isiah Bradley and Steve Rogers.
6. Captain America Theater of war: Operation Zero Point.
Captain America must rescue a brilliant scientist. Who in turn, is being held by a psychotic Nazi commander. During the time, Captain America must engage in flying saucers, Nazi armies and a Cyborg Nazi!!
When I read Captain America I always believe that he is better in WW2. As I said before, Captain America was the beacon for freedom at a time when hope was dying. This is why I am focused on some of the classic stories. There are plenty more stories set in WW2. This is what frustrates me about The First Avenger. That movie did nothing for Rogers. With everything he has done in the war I would of loved MCU to dedicate at least a trilogy of the war based stories. There are plenty of interesting characters that will never see the light of day now such as the Invaders and the original Howling Commandos. Which the original Commandos had a young Nick Fury in it. That could of been another story in itself.
Nick Fury in WW2 Howling Commandos.
Captain America meets a young Magneto.
All these stories and characters could of been explored. Agent Carter has been a hit because of its timeline and quality stories. Imagine if they did feature movies on the same timeline? MCU could of done Captain America justice. Especially in a era that defined America. Hypothetically, it's like having a Thor movie without featuring Asgard or Hulk movie without the Hulk. Captain America essence is of WW2. Don't get me wrong I like Captain America in the Avengers. I like him in today's world but it's a better fit in WW2.
Captain America leading by example in WW2.
Invaders in action.
I hope and pray that MCU make a potential prequel. I would love to see the classic stories on the big screen. I would love to see the message that America portrays. That message is fight for freedom.