|Captain America (Joint Venture)|
|Real Name||Steven Grant Rogers|
|Current Alias||Captain America|
|Alias(es)||Steve, "Grant Stevens," other aliases used to apply for the US Army in 1941|
|Relatives||Joseph Rogers (father, deceased), Sarah Rogers (mother, deceased), Sarah Rogers, Jr. (sister, presumed deceased)|
|Affiliation||Avengers (leader), formerly Howling Commandos, Sentinels of Liberty|
|Base Of Operations||Stark Tower, NYC, New York|
|Universe||Joint Venture Universe|
|Unusual Features||Born in 1920, but looks in his early 30s.|
It's always worth standing up. Even if they beat you back down.' ~Captain America, excerpt from a World War II newsreel, Europe, 1944
Captain America is a World War II-era superhero, and frequent leader of the Avengers. This is the Joint Venture Universe version of the character.
Steve Rogers was born in Brooklyn, New York, on July 4, 1920, to Irish Catholic parents Joseph and Sarah Rogers. Frail, stick-thin, and sickly, Steve was not expected to live to see his tenth year. He had a myriad of physical health problems that at the time were considered incurable. Even his younger sister, Sarah Jr., could outperform him in most physical feats, a fact that brought no end of mockery from other boys in school.
However, two of Steve's classmates rose to his defense every time: his best friend James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes and his next-door neighbor, Arnie Roth.
The Great Depression
Despite living a relatively comfortable working-class life, the Rogers family suffered greatly during the depression. Steve's father Joseph, unable to find even a low-wage job, turned to drink, and though he never laid a hand on his wife or son (21st century tabloid rumors to the contrary), his alcoholism eventually killed him when he fell into the Hudson River, leaving Steve's mother alone to care for her two children.
Steve's sister did her best to help their mother provide for the household and support the sickly Steve. Steve himself even pursued his passion for writing and drawing to make comic strips to sell for a nickel apiece. However, it was just barely enough for them to scrape by, and nowhere near enough when Mrs. Rogers came down with a case of pneumonia.
The death of Mrs. Rogers made one thing crystal clear to young Steve: The world was manifestly unfair, and if no one protected the small, weak, and helpless, they would be crushed between its gears.
Start of World War II - The Road To Captaincy
In 1939, everything changed for Steve. World War II had begin in Europe and Asia. Horrified by newsreel footage of the atrocities being committed by the Axis Powers, Rogers tried to enlist in the Army, not to kill people, but to protect people from those who would do them harm.
Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, he was rejected as 4-F -- unfit to serve -- because of his frailty and sickness. Undaunted, he tried again, under a different name, and was rejected again.
Steve's friends Bucky and Arnie tried to console him, to reassure him that he could still serve his country at home. However, their words rang hollow as they themselves were drafted following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and America's official involvement in the war. The night before they went to the front, Bucky, Arnie, and Steve had one last night on the town, visiting a World's Fair Expo where genius industrialist Howard Stark was demonstrating "the technology of the future" to rapt audiences. It was there that Steve discovered a love for science that matched his love of art.
After Bucky and Arnie both left for the front, Steve kept applying, again and again. Finally, word of the young man's earnest desire to fight for his country reached the ears of those who could listen, and change Steve's fate forever.
Doctor Abraham Erskine, a contemporary of Albert Einstein's and a refugee from the brutality of Nazism, convinced US Army General Chester Phillips to finally recruit Steve, and offer him the opportunity to take part in a top-secret experiment called Operation Rebirth. Steve eagerly agreed.
"Good Becomes Great, Bad Becomes Worse"
Steve went to boot camp, where he met Peggy Carter, a British secret agent, and liaison to the United States who passed intelligence back and forth between the two countries. Though he was shy at first, she offered support and encouragement in a place where he received precious little of either, and the two became fast friends.
Steve did poorly in boot camp, as everyone expected he would. Physically, he was not up to the challenges posed by basic training. However, where his body failed him, his mind succeeded -- he managed to capture a flag by pulling the pin that held its flagpole upright. More importantly, his strength of heart and courage made an impression -- when a grenade was thrown into the barracks, Steve leapt on it without hesitation and screamed at everyone else to "get back!". It was only after the grenade failed to detonate that Steve realized it had been a test of Phillips and Erskine's, to ensure that he qualified for Operation: Rebirth.
The day after the grenade test, Steve was taken to a secret laboratory in Washington DC, where he was introduced to the concept of the Super-Soldier Serum in full. The serum, Erskine explained, was actually only one part of a great network of procedures and experiments that would transform Steve into "the ultimate expression of himself". That was why he had been put through tests of character as well as tests of physical fortitude -- because while he had failed the latter badly, he'd passed the former with flying colors. Erskine explained that the serum had been tested one time before -- on a Nazi named Johann Schmidt. Schmidt, Erskine explained, had become a monster -- a demonically-featured psychopath called the Red Skull, who swiftly rose to a position of power rivaling the Fuhrer himself. It was that horrific transformation that had caused Erskine's defection, and that was the reason for the character tests. Knowing this, Steve still volunteered for the procedure. If it would help him do his part to keep the world safe, he would endure anything.
It is unknown exactly what happened to Steve in that laboratory -- some suggest he was injected with the serum and subjected to exotic forms of radiation, others suggest he simply downed the serum in a single gulp and was then suffused with "Vita-Rays." Some even say there was an arcane component in the procedures he underwent, and that the serum was infused with the DNA of some otherworldly being.
Whatever the details, Steve Rogers walked into that lab the stereotypical "98-pound weakling", and came out with a physicality advanced beyond the capabilities of most mortal men. More importantly, his personality, despite Erskine's fears, had remained intact -- he wanted the same thing coming out of the procedure that he had going in, to protect people.
Unfortunately, the birth of the Super-Soldier was also the death of the man who created him. An agent of HYDRA, Johann Schmidt's organization of Nazi occultists and extremists, shot and killed Erskine, and attempted to flee with his research on Operation: Rebirth. Steve had barely a moment to process his grief before chasing down the HYDRA agent, whom he easily overtook with his new enhanced physical attributes, but the agent killed himself with a cyanide capsule before he could be interrogated. Saddened by the loss of the good scientist, Steve's will to stop HYDRA and the Nazi regime from hurting more innocent people was galvanized that day, and he joined the Army, taking on the name and mantle of "Captain America" for the first time.
"The Star-Spangled Man (With The Plan)"
Captain America did not take off right away. Even though he had witnessed the transformation with his own eyes, General Phillips could still not shake the mental image of the completely physically unfit cadet who couldn't run a half-mile without getting winded. He saw Steve's new body as a propaganda tool, rather than a weapon, and so Captain America's early career was spent performing shows alongside chorus girls, selling war bonds, rather than in the midst of any real combat.
A show, "The Star-Spangled Man (With The Plan)", was created, with Steve as the centerpiece, in an effort to drum up grassroots support for the war. It is in this show that the iconic "Captain America" outfit Steve Rogers is associated with was created, complete with his famous shield, though the old one was simply a prop constructed of polyethylene, the most commonly available plastic of the period.
"Star-Spangled Man" sold out theaters and caused the sale of war bonds to skyrocket. but it wasn't what Steve had signed on for. Being used as a near-literal poster boy grated on Steve so much so that his free time would often be spent making angry sketches of himself as a trained circus animal, usually a monkey. Nonetheless, orders were orders, and he had to prove he was a good soldier somehow.
The Good Captain
His chance to truly prove himself came when the propaganda show went to Germany to raise the morale of Allied soldiers on the front. While the show did not fare as well there as it had with the civilian audience (though it was well-received by weary soldeirs desperate for some form of entertainment), Steve did overhear reports to General Phillips about a POW camp just inside Nazi territory -- a POW camp that held, among others, his friends Bucky and Arnie.
Now more determined than ever, Steve snuck out that night, with help from Howard Stark -- contracted by the government to provide the troops with weapons and technology -- and Peggy Carter. Taking Howard's private plane, they flew over enemy lines, and Steve and Peggy infiltrated the camp -- in reality, a test laboratory for HYDRA experiments with magic and science alike, being run by Arnim Zola, the Red Skull's second-in-command. When they rescued them, Arnie, along with several other POWs -- including Sergeant Jack Fury and his squad, the Howling Commandos -- had made it through unscathed, but Bucky was being subjected to an experimental procedure when Captain America burst in, and was delirious and weak from pain. Nonetheless, the lab was liberated, Zola captured, and out of 200 POWs in the camp, Steve, Peggy, and Howard brought back more than 180, the remainder having either perished in captivity or sacrificed themselves to help the others escape.
The Sentinels of Liberty
Emboldened by their success, Captain America and Peggy Carter began to form a new team, a squad of people with special abilities that would operate behind enemy lines and fight HYDRA on its own terms. In addition to themselves and Bucky, they recruited nine other superhumans, including foreigners, sorcerers, and what the public called 'Witchbreed' -- people born with special, genetic abilities, who would later be called mutants -- all bound together by a shared desire to bring HYDRA and the Third Reich down, preserving freedom for all the world. These "Sentinels of Liberty" would go down in history as some of the greatest heroes of World War II...eventually.
"His Mighty Shield"
When it became evident that "Captain America" wasn't going anywhere, Howard Stark, by now a firm supporting fixture in Steve's career, created a weapon for him from an alloy that combines two of the most powerufl metals in the world: vibranium and adamantium. Vibranium was chosen for its unique ability to absorb and redirect vibrations (hence the name), from sound to kinetic impact, and adamantium is one of the rarest and strongest synthetic metals ever created; while a super-heated liquid metal, it can be shaped and molded just as any other metal, but once cooled past a certain point, the metal becomes indestructible, to the point where it cannot be heated to a second melting point, worn down by abrasion or erosion, corroded by acid, oxidized, or even cooled to a shattering point like most metals. Armed with this indestructible shield in addition to the conventional firearms of the time, Steve became a truly formidable fighter, eventually learning to use the shield as a weapon as well as for defense.
The Howling Commandos
The Sentinels of Liberty proved themselves a formidable force time and again, and Steve and Bucky started to feel as though they weren't needed. Conversely, however, the Howling Commandos still struggled just to hold the line on their battles; despite a varied skillset, none of them possessed superhuman abilities of any kind. Steve and Bucky left the Sentinels to go to their aid, and they turned the tide on many battles. Between the Sentinels, the Commandos, and the Invaders, a second team of superhumans Steve had had no influence in forming, the war looked to be drawing to a close.
Last Flight over the Atlantic
In May of 1945, the Allied Powers publicly declared victory in Europe. However, HYDRA was not ready to quit just yet. Over the following months, Intelligence finally pinpointed the location of HYDRA's base and the three teams -- the Invaders, the Howling Commandos, and the Sentinels of Liberty -- were all set to attack it. Finally, on June 12, 1945, they laid siege to Roterschädel Castle, the Red Skull's base and HYDRA's headquarters.
Unfortunately, the Red Skull had a failsafe in place. As soon as the allied squads attacked, he launched a massive array of bombs at Allied nations engineered with science far beyond the time period -- they were not nuclear, but they could easily cause the same devastation as an atom bomb. Furthermore, he planned to take to the sky himself in a flying wing equipped with bombs that he would drop on the US, the country that had produced Captain America and so many of his problems.
The Allied forces split themselves -- while some, like the Howling Commandos and a few of the land-bound Invaders, would continue the siege of Roterschädel, Steve and a few of the fliers from both the Sentinels and the Invaders would stop the bombs. He and Bucky hijacked the Skull's bomber plane, and Steve confronted him there while Bucky went to work disabling the bombs. During the struggle, the controls were wrecked and the plane began to go down. The Red Skull tried to escape, using the same strange energy source that had been powering nearly all of HYDRA's weapons, but it backfired, and he seemed to disintegrate right before Steve's astonished eyes.
However, there was one last problem. The bomb that had been build for New York couldn't be disarmed. Before Steve could protest, Bucky opened the hatch and dropped into the Atlantic with the bomb, sacrificing himself to save an entire city, and leaving Steve alone in a crashing plane that he could not pull up. Over the radio, Steve said a heartfelt goodbye to Peggy, Howard, and Arnie, and then the Red Skull's bomber dropped into the North Atlantic, with Steve Rogers still aboard.
HYDRA had been defeated, but at a cost. The Invaders had disappeared, the US government wanted to shut down the Sentinels, and Captain America and Bucky Barnes were dead. After years of searching Howard Stark eventually discovered the crash site of the Red Skull's bomber, but no sign of either Steve or Bucky. Decades passed, teams came and went, and the war heroes' legacies were built and lost.
In the opening decade of the 21st century, Steve Rogers had long been presumed dead. However, during an archaeological expedition in Skraeling Island, Professor Donald Blake discovered a piece of history that, while far more recent than the usual Norse artifacts he had expected to find in the region, would prove to be far more impactful -- Steve Rogers' body, frozen solid in ice, looking exactly as it had on the day the bomber went into the North Atlantic. Much to Blake's surprise, Captain America was not dead, but simply trapped in a state of suspended animation. He and his team immediately began work on freeing the Captain from the ice.
However, Steve would not meet Professor Blake when he awoke. Once word of his discovery reached their ears, SHIELD (under its director, Nicholas Fury, Jack's only son) came and confiscated nearly all of Blake's findings, including Steve himself. Thus it was that when Steve did awaken, it was in SHIELD custody.
Fury told Steve the whole story -- the Allied victory he had helped assure, Bucky's death, and the sixty years that had passed since then. Steve was distraught to learn that his entire world was gone.
In the wake of his reawakening, Steve struggled to build a new life for himself in the modern age. Fortunately, he did not have to do it alone for long.
Founding the Avengers
To be disclosed
It is unknown exactly what happened to Steve Rogers in Operation: Rebirth to transform him into Captain America. The secrets of both the procedure and the Super-Solider Serum were lost upon Dr. Erskine's death.
What is known is that the procedure permanently enhanced Rogers' body beyond the maximum level of human potential. Several scientists have described Steve's physiology as being "the next step in human evolution," despite remaining completely human. This makes him the most viable candidate for the scientific term homo sapiens superior.
Artificially Enhanced Physiology: As a result of the Super-Soldier Serum, Steve Rogers was transformed from a frail young man into a "perfect" specimen of human development and conditioning. Rogers possesses peak human strength, speed, stamina, endurance, and intelligence. The serum's effects are permanent.
Peak Human+: Steve Rogers' Strength, speed, durability, agility, reflexes, stamina, mental faculties, and senses have all been described as "Peak Human," which is to say, the maximum potential a human being can attain. However, Rogers has displayed several feats that have pushed past that into superhuman, including:
- Leaping: Captain America can leap distances that surpass those of Olympic gold medalists, with or without a running start.
- Running: Steve Rogers can catch up and keep pace with a modern car driving at full speed for roughly half an hour.
- Lifting: Steve can lift objects weighing roughly 1 ton over his head with ease.
- Master Shield Fighter: Steve's years of training and experience with his unique shield, as well as its physical properties, allow him to accomplish amazing feats with it. Aside from bashing foes and blocking incoming attacks, he is able to throw it with nearly perfect aim. Rogers can hit multiple targets with the same throw by means of ricochet, and could even achieve a boomerang-like return effect, allowing him to strike enemies from behind or retrieve the shield without objects to ricochet from.
- Master Acrobat: Despite little to no training in the art, Steve possesses the instincts and abilities of an expert acrobat, gymnast, and aerialist. He often utilizes these talents in combat for both evasive and offensive purposes.
- Accelerated Healing: While not on a par with mutants like Wolverine or Deadpool, Captain America can heal from wounds or injuries with remarkable speed. He is immune to all known, naturally-occurring diseases and highly resistant to poisons, and is even incapable of getting inebriated (much to his chagrin at times).
- Advanced Longevity: While at first thought to be an effect of being frozen in ice, Steve's survival in the North Atlantic was discovered to be partly due to his extreme longevity; as the Asgardian Loki found out when he tried to cast an aging spell, Steve does not age, nor do his muscles atrophy, nor any of his incredible attributes diminish in the slightest, no matter how much time may pass or what kind of lifestyle he leads.
- Indomitable Will: Even before Operation: Rebirth, Steve Rogers was an extremely strong-willed person. He is able to overcome most forms of temptation and resist the effects of extreme pain and weakness to an astonishing extent. Rogers is extremely liberal, and refuses to rob any sapient being of their freedom, unless they abuse it to take away the freedom of others. He is also capable of resisting many forms of mind control; during the Avengers' first battle, Loki could charm Iron Man, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, and the Wasp, but he could not control Steve. Powerful telepaths, like Jean Grey, can affect him, but it requires intense concentration due to his incredible mental force.
- Suspended Animation: Lastly, when Steve is injured to the point of being near-death, his body will shut down temporarily, placing him in a heaing coma somewhat similar to the "Odinsleep" of the King of Asgard, while his body heals its wounds. When his body judges itself fit again, he will reawaken, however long the healing process takes.
Shield: Captain America's primary weapon and most recognizable symbol is his signature shield, created from a unique vibranium-adamantium alloy by Howard Stark. Between the physical resistances of vibranium and the elemental resistances of adamantium, Captain America's shield is considered truly indestructible, though it remains able to conduct electricity and vulnerable to certain types of non-destructive transformative magic. However, during convneitonal fights with soldiers or supervillains, the shield serves both as a defensive tool and a weapon, used for heavy bashing strikes or thrown long-range. Steve's superior strength and coordination enable him to perform amazing trick shots with the shield, using ricochets and angles in a manner only matched by the X-Man Cyclops' optic blasts.
- Temporal Dislocation: Steve is plagued by his status as man out of time. Modern society and technology sometimes confuse him, although he is adapting quickly; within a week of thawing, he already grasped the basics of computer use and Internet browsing. Furthermore, seeing how idealized his legacy has become throughout the years, Steve sometimes believes that he cannot fulfill the image the world has of him.
- Moral Inflexibility: Steve is extremely idealistic, and often seems rigid in his beliefs in right and wrong. While this stubbornness is part of what made him a legend in World War II, he worries that his idealism might be considered outdated in the modern world, and it does make him relatively easy to manipulate.
- Closeted: Unknown to anyone but his oldest and closest friends, Steve Rogers is a homosexual, having had brief flings with several of his World War II compatriots, including Arnie Roth, one of his childhood friends, and Sentinels of Liberty Zephyr and Thunderfist (before they became a couple). However, even upon thawing in the somewhat-more-tolerant 21st century, he learned that the legends and history surrounding "Captain America" paint him in such an incorruptible light that to reveal his sexuality would only serve to create controversy, so he keeps it to himself. This makes him seem unapproachable romantically, and creates controversy of its own, of the tabloid "Captain America A Virgin!" variety.