In light of Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel casting announcement and Captain America’s 75 year anniversary, let’s explore some of the Marvel Universe’s most decorated military individuals. Like Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, there is a vast amount of heroes that, before obtaining superpowers (and even after), have served their country and the free world proudly. Here are 10 of them that have risked their lives on the battlefield and beyond.
10. Corporal Eugene 'Flash' Thompson (US Army) | Agent Venom
After being the primary high school bully of Peter Parker for quite some time and the biggest Spider-Man fan, Flash went to college, but soon left to join the United States army. During a mission in Iraq while saving a fallen soldier, Flash lost his legs, but even so, managed to survive and get his comrade to safety by thinking to himself, “what would Spider-Man do?” After the US military got hold of the Venom symbiote, Flash volunteered to bond with it and became Agent Venom. Flash Thompson will be portrayed by Tony Revolori in next year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.
9. Colonel James 'Rhodey' Rhodes (US Marines) | War Machine
Before donning the War Machine armor, James Rhodes served in the US armed forces, particularly the Marines. He later became War Machine when best friend, Tony Stark, gave him the armored suit for combat missions. Many times in the comics, Rhodey has also donned the suit of Iron Man and one time even became the CEO of Stark Industries. James “Rhodey’ Rhodes is portrayed by Don Cheadle in the MCU.
8. Marc Spector (US Marines) | Moon Knight
The vigilante we know as Moon Knight used to serve in the US Marines and later became a CIA agent. Marc Spector made a name for himself in the CIA but soon left the agency and became a mercenary. During one of his jobs in Egypt he was betrayed by his partner, who left him dying next to the ancient tomb of Khonshu, the moon god. It is there that the spirit of Khonshu resuscitated him and Spector became the masked hero of the night, Moon Knight. Moon Knight has Dissociative Identity Disorder and is also an entrepreneur who has garnered great wealth throughout his arc in the comics.
7. Prof. Charles Xavier (US Army)
When the young professor taught at the University of Oxford, he was drafted into the US Army and was deployed to the battlefields of the Korean War. While fighting on the front lines, he also gained fame among his military superiors for his accuracy (mutant abilities) in search and rescue missions. When the war was over, he dedicate his time and life to mutants and the X-Men, becoming one of the most intelligent individuals in the Marvel Universe. Professor Charles Xavier was recently portrayed by James McAvoy in X-Men: Apocalypse.
6. Frank Castle (US Marines, US Navy Seals) | Punisher
Probably the most decorated military personnel after General Thunderbolt Ross, the man who we know as Frank Castle was once named Frank Castiglione. Under that name, Frank enlisted into the US Marines and quickly rose among the ranks. Soon, after more military training, he became a US Navy Seal and was deployed to the Vietnam War. During the war he became a legend as a pointman for his special forces unit. He earned various honors and medals while serving as Frank Castiglione, including a Purple Heart, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Honor. When his tour in the war was over, Frank changed his last name to Castle and re-entered the war one more time. After the war was over, he became the Punisher after his family was brutally murdered in front of him. Frank Castle/Punisher is portrayed by Jon Bernthal in the MCU and has now been greenlit for a solo Netflix series.
5. General Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross | Red Hulk
Born to a family of military prestige, Thaddeus Ross became a member of the US Air Force early in his life. He would eventually rise among the ranks and earn the title of General. Most known in the comics for his clashes with Bruce Banner, Ross would eventually become the thing he detested most. His transformation into the Red Hulk came first as a proposition from the villains MODOK and the Leader. At the time, Ross’ daughter, Betty, had died. With the offer of bringing Betty back from the dead if he would lend himself to MODOK and the Leader, he became the Red Hulk through their experiments. Thaddeus Ross was recently portrayed by William Hurt in Captain America: Civil War.
4. James Howlett 'Logan' (Canadian Army, Allied Forces) | Wolverine
Before joining the X-Men, Wolverine served in the Canadian Army in both World Wars. He even fought alongside Captain America and Bucky Barnes in World War II. He later became a CIA operative and carried out missions in Japan. In some incarnations of his history he’s also served in the Union Army in the American Civil War (as seen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Due to Wolverine’s advanced healing factor, he became a war legend and a hero. Hugh Jackman is Wolverine in the X-Men cinematic universe.
3. Major Carol Danvers (US Air Force) | Captain Marvel
Before donning the name of Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers was a pilot in the US Air Force. She was then recruited by the CIA and became an intelligence officer working alongside Wolverine. After her time with the CIA, Carol became head of security at NASA, where she would meet the first Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell). The two of them grew close and formed a romantic relationship. A Kree enemy of Mar-Vell took advantage of their bond and kidnapped Carol. She would eventually become Ms. Marvel when a Kree machine that made wishes into reality exploded in her proximity, granting her the powers of Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel will be portrayed by Brie Larson in the MCU.
2. Colonel Nick Fury (US Army)
Nicholas Joseph Fury became a war hero during his service in World War II. He fought the Axis powers and Hydra alongside Captain America and became the leader of the Howling Commandos. During his time in the military he reached the rank of Colonel. After the war was over he joined the CIA and soon after, left the agency to become the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury has been part of many of the Marvel Universe’s most important story arcs. He is portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in the MCU.
"I recognize the council has made a decision, but given that it's a stupid-ass decision, I've elected to ignore it." — Nick Fury
1. Steve Rogers (US Army) | Captain America
Most of you know the story of Steve Rogers, the kid from Brooklyn who became a symbol of hope and freedom in America and the world. Even before his super soldier transformation, Steve Rogers was a man who wanted to defend his country, down to the bullies who menaced his home town. After becoming Captain America, Steve led the United States and the rest of the Allied Forces to victory in World War II. During a mission though, he was trapped under ice and was found many years later by S.H.I.E.L.D. Even with the war over, Captain America still fought for freedom, this time leading the Avengers. Steve Rogers/Captain America is portrayed by Chris Evans in the MCU.
Because the Marvel Universe is filled with many military characters, some unfortunately couldn't make the the list. Nonetheless, here are are some honorable mentions:
One of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D., Peggy Carter served in World War II and had a close relationship with Steve Rogers. She is portrayed by Hayley Atwell in the MCU.
Glenn Talbot has aided General Ross in their attempts to apprehend the Hulk. He is portrayed by Adrian Pasdar in the MCU, mainly appearing in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Bucky Barnes | Winter Soldier
Before Bucky Barnes became the Winter Soldier, he served in the US army alongside Captain America. Sebastian Stan is Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier in the MCU.
Wade Wilson | Deadpool
Before becoming the merc with a mouth, Wade Wilson served in the Canadian army. Ryan Reynolds is Wade Wilson/Deadpool in the X-Men cinematic universe.
Who should've made the list? Who's your favorite Marvel military character? Leave your thoughts down in the comments!
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