(Warning - the following contains potential SPOILERS for multiple Marvel comic-books. Proceed with whatever level of caution that suggests is wise...)
Now, there are a whole lot of things to love about Captain America - from the general awesomeness of his costume, to the consistency of his heroism, all the way through to the fact that he as a shield that helps him fight crime. One of the most fundamentally intriguing things that makes him great, though, is the fact that his entire identity is, despite his name making him sound like a poster-boy for American military action and recruitment (which he of course was), bound up in a very particular kind of idealism.
He is, more than any other superhero (short of a certain Man of Steel), defined by his belief in doing the right thing, no matter what it costs him personally - an idea of what it is to be American often lost in the constant battling of political opinion.
The reason that matters right now, though? Well...
We Have a New Captain America... and SHE'S Awesome
Yup, that's right - there's a new Captain America in town, and there's not a Y chromosome in sight. Fear not though, Sam Wilson fans - this new Cap seems set to only appear in the (alternate reality-based) Spider-Gwen comic-books... which doesn't, as it turns out, make her any less awesome.
Y'see, after first appearing back in Spider-Gwen #1, and interrupting Gwen's pursuit of some lizard-folk...
...we've now finally had the chance to properly meet Earth-65's Cap... and she's pretty darned great. Not only is she in possession of one of the most magnificently old-school Cap costumes we've seen in years, but she's also got the kind of origin story that makes your average alternate universe superhero look like a cheap knock-off:
(With bonus references to some of Cap's more recent - and fan-favorite - stories, too...)
What's more, you did in fact read that right - not only is Peggy Carter this universe's Nick Fury analog, but Cap's Falcon is none other than... a clone of herself. Yup. Not content with having a past version of Sam 'The Falcon' Wilson becoming Captain America in the 1940's, the Spider-Gwen universe doubled down and cloned the original Wilson, creating a gloriously snarky sidekick (who's as much Bucky as The Falcon) for Cap: Sam-13.
Which, considering we're currently only up to Spider-Gwen #2, suggests that a whole lot more awesomeness is heading our way soon, care of the creative team of Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi.
The best part?
Remember that ideal of what it is to be Captain America I was talking about earlier? Well, if anyone out there still needs proof that gender, race or sexual identity doesn't make the slightest bit of difference to a superhero being awesome - this is it:
Captain America is Just as Awesome When She's an African-American Woman as When He's a White Caucasian Male
The reason? Like all the greatest superheroes, Captain America is more than just his/her origin story, gender, or skin color. He/she is an idea - one that we connect with because it speaks to our hopes and dreams for the future, and the better selves we strive to be.
We don't love Captain America because we are Steve Rogers, seeing as very few of us are blonde soldiers who were transformed by a super-soldier serum in the 1940's. Instead, we love Cap because the ideals that the suit embodies are the same ones that the vast majority of us do as well - irrespective of our nationality, political opinions or petty prejudices. Truth, honor, decency, doing the right thing - all of that is what ultimately makes a hero, not the color of someone's skin, or the presence or absence of a certain chromosome.
Not everyone is Steve Rogers, but anyone (and everyone) can be Captain America. It's just a matter of doing the right thing...
What do you reckon, though?