ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at Creators.co
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

(Warning - SPOILERS abound below for a bunch of classic Captain America comic-book storylines...as well as, just possibly, for a future Marvel Studios movie or two. Proceed with caution, etc.)

Now, if there's one comic book character who can always be relied upon to do the right thing, it's surely Captain America. With decades of legendary service behind him, it's seemingly impossible to imagine the Star-Spangled Avenger being anything less than a truly decent guy - and a true icon for truth, justice, and doing the right thing no matter what it costs, goddammit.

As it turns out, though, 75 years of comic book history has the habit of leaving more than a few skeletons in even the very cleanest of closets. And, so, here are:

The Five Darkest Things Captain America Has Ever Done

Being a snappy dresser not included...
Being a snappy dresser not included...

Now, for the sake of fairness - and to avoid getting bogged down in the multitude of alternate versions of Cap floating around - I'm keeping this limited to the 'big three': The original Marvel comic book Cap, the more recent 'Ultimate' comic book Cap, and the movie Cap, as played by Chris Evans.

Also excluded? Any time a super-villain turned out to be just dressed like Cap - since otherwise this list would basically just be the whole of Old Man Logan:

Which got DARK...
Which got DARK...

First up, then?

5. He Walked Away

While humming a Craig David song, presumably.
While humming a Craig David song, presumably.

Or, rather, he walked away from being Captain America at a time when his country needed him as much as ever.

Aka, the 1970's.
Aka, the 1970's.

Now, sure, that was in the immediate aftermath of the Watergate scandal, and Cap had basically just watched Richard Nixon turn out to not only be the leader of a dastardly secret society (The Secret Empire, fact fans), but to subsequently blow his own head off...

Not NIXON. That guy seemed so honest...
Not NIXON. That guy seemed so honest...

...and, in fairness, he not only kept superheroing, but returned to his original costume not long after, but even so: When America (and the world) needed him, Cap (briefly) walked away...

That, though, was a rare lapse in confidence. Next up is a far more frequently repeated issue...

4. He (Continually) Punched First and Asked Questions Later

In this instance, he's punching SPIDER-MAN.
In this instance, he's punching SPIDER-MAN.

Now, in fairness, there aren't too many superheroes who carefully investigate for days before jumping in all punches blazing, but over the years, Cap has very much become one of the leading proponents of 'punch first, ask questions later.'

That classic scene back in The Avengers, for instance?

The one with the elaborate pissing contest.
The one with the elaborate pissing contest.

Tony Stark may have been being his ever-aggravating self, but Cap was still the one who suggested fisticuffs first...and seemed awfully close to beating the snot out of his old war buddy's bratty (non-super-powered) kid.

Now, that's all well and good when you're walloping Adolf Hitler...

Not pictured, Cap wedgieing Mussolini.
Not pictured, Cap wedgieing Mussolini.

...but when you're hoping to act as the un-elected representative of an entire nation, a little more punch-related discretion might be in order the rest of the time...

Next up? Cap does drugs. That's right...

3. He Did a Whole Bunch of Meth

Also, SEXISM.
Also, SEXISM.

Now, putting aside the fact that Cap's powers essentially come from the 1940s equivalent of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal...

Just off camera, there's a racing bike...
Just off camera, there's a racing bike...

...there was also that whole time where he inadvertently found himself addicted to meth.

And he wasn't a natural at it.
And he wasn't a natural at it.

So much so, in fact, that it basically ended up bonded to the super-soldier serum flowing through his veins, leading Cap to turn crazier than The Joker's weirder cousin, Nigel.

Yup, that's Cap making chicken noises...
Yup, that's Cap making chicken noises...

Now, sure, he got better pretty soon after, but if that's Cap's response to being on meth, let's just hope no-one ever gives him any cocaine...

Meanwhile:

2. He Got Incredibly Offensive for a While There

Waaay more than this, in fact.
Waaay more than this, in fact.

Now, somewhat inevitably, the 1940s Captain America comic books were...well, 'of a different time.' Which is to say, they were periodically incredibly racist and xenophobic.

Ah, the greatest generation...
Ah, the greatest generation...

By the time Cap returned to Marvel comics in the 1960s, though, he was a far more tolerant and progressive figure - one unlikely to party to xenophobia or racism of any kind.

Except, of course, in the Mark Millar-penned Ultimates comics, in which Cap really, really didn't like France:

You should hear what he thinks of the Dutch...
You should hear what he thinks of the Dutch...

The mainstream Cap may not have shared the Ultimate Cap's views (as Ed Brubaker made incredibly clear during his run on Cap's solo comic)...

Not pictured: casual xenophobia.
Not pictured: casual xenophobia.

...but there was still a major mainstream Cap out there who had the same opinions as that cranky old dude who lives down the street from your parents.

Arguably darkest of all, though?

1. He Started an Entire Civil War

All while still wearing the flag-based costume...
All while still wearing the flag-based costume...

That's right: whichever side of Marvels' mid-2000's Civil War you were on - and a whole lot of us were on Cap's - it's still important to remember that when it came down to it, Cap was willing to lead an armed rebellion against his own country.

Not pictured: UN support.
Not pictured: UN support.

Now, sure, he had the very best of intentions, and Tony Stark was definitely just as much - if not way more - to blame for things escalating as much as they did, but there's no getting away from the fact that for a while there, Cap was only distinguishable from a terrorist by the fact that we pretty much agreed with him.

After all, there's a reason the crossover event ended with him being tackled by emergency service workers in New York city...

Mark Millar has never been one for subtlety...
Mark Millar has never been one for subtlety...

For a little while there, Cap lead an armed insurrection against the United States of America - and the best part? That insurrection is coming to a movie theater near you next year...

What do you think, though?

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