Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Steve Rogers, leader of the Avengers, made his first appearance in Captain America Comics #1 (1941). Known as one of Marvel’s first superheroes, Rogers became Captain America after being chosen to take an experimental formula called the Super-Soldier serum, which enhanced his agility, strength, speed, and endurance.
Despite not being the most powerful Avenger, Rogers’ courage and determination make him one of the most respected superheroes in Marvel history. As such, it’s so hard to believe that Captain America would ever do anything unethical.
After combing through multiple storylines from comics and film, here are 15 times Steve Rogers acted in ways unbecoming of the Captain America name.
15. Goodnight, Mystique
Published in 2011, “Age of X” follows an alternate reality where anti-mutant sentiment is at an all-time high. A major reason for this – Professor X never formed the X-Men. I’m not saying the breakdown of human-mutant relations was his fault, but without his guidance, Jean lost control and the founding members of the X-Men were never assembled. So actually yes, I’m blaming you, Charles.
What does this have to do with Cap?
In this timeline, Captain America is the leader of a newly-formed Avengers team, responsible for tracking, capturing and, if need be, terminating any mutant they see fit. I’m not kidding. In Age of X Universe 2, Cap straight-up kills Mystique, who was only trying to protect young mutant survivors.
14. Hail Hydra
During the Secret Empire series, in a timeline where the Nazis had won World War II, it’s revealed that Steve Rogers is actually a double-agent working for Hydra. He joined the organization in an effort to infiltrate the Super Soldier Program and become Captain America.
Angry fans have pointed out that the storyline has many plot holes, but sometimes you have to shake things up. DC did the same with Flashpoint, so I don’t see any problem with Marvel doing the same. Many of the items to come will go into more detail about the evil acts Cap as a does as a sleeper agent, so I won’t spoil it for you.
13. The Perfect Couple
Most fans know Hank Pym (Ant-Man) as one of the founding members of the Avengers, but what’s not always remembered is how much of an abusive jerk he was to wife Janet Van Dyne (Wasp). Growing tired of Pym’s ongoing abuse, Captain America confronts him, which results in a very public fight. In large part because of the fight, Wasp files for divorce and shortly after begins dating Steve Rogers.
In other words, Cap basically beat up Ant-Man in front of everybody and then stole his girl before the ink on the divorce papers had time to dry. Sounds pretty evil, but still not as terrible as a majority of the items on this list. Having said that, given the way Hank is portrayed in the Universe series, it’s hard to blame Wasp for kicking him to the curb.
12. Family Drama
Depending on what storyline you read, Steve Rogers’ relationship with both Peggy and Sharon Carter is a complicated one. In one storyline, before being frozen following World War II, Captain America was semi-dating Peggy. After being thawed out decades later, Rogers met and started dating Sharon Carter, the great-niece of Peggy Carter. While this scenario is a little weird, Cap arguably didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not his fault that he spent decades on ice, after all. Having said that, there is an alternate storyline where Sharon and Peggy are sisters and Rogers is dating both at the same time, and when confronted, he thought it would hurt the girls too much to come clean, so he just didn’t. Sounds like an episode of Maury to me!
11. Captain America Hires The Merc With The Mouth
After agent Phil Coulson discovers that Captain America is actually a double agent working for Hydra, Rogers hires Deadpool to knock off Coulson in order to keep his Hydra allegiance under raps. To throw some salt on the wound, Deadpool was actually wary of the hit at first but follows through after some motivation from The Sentinel of Liberty.
Given that Coulson has always idolized and supported Rogers for the freedom he represents, it makes the gravity of this act that much worse – especially considering he hired Wade to do it. At least have the guts to do it yourself!
Having said that, we shouldn’t expect much less from the Secret Empire Captain America. The guy is flat-out EVIL!
10. Captain America Offed Black Widow
Considering how close Black Widow and Captain America have been throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe and most comics canon, I was shocked to learn that Cap was responsible for Natasha’s death in the Secret Empire series. In this series, Captain America is a member of Hydra and will stop at nothing to carry out his mission, regardless of who he has to take out in the process.
While attempting to intervene in a fight between Miles Morales and Cap, Black Widow subsequently takes Cap’s shield to the jaw, killing her instantly. In response, Morales unleashes his full power on Cap, leaving him bloody and battered.
9. Captain America Takes On Terrorism
Sometimes stories write themselves. Three years after the tragic events of 9/11, Marvel released a new Captain America series that centered around terrorism, pitting Cap against terrorist Faysal Al-Tariq. It was an emotionally charged series that ended in a way that might not have sat well with some fans.
After stopping Faysal Al-Tariq and freeing his hostages, Captain America, on live television, kills Al-Tariq, but not before unmasking and letting the world know that he wasn’t ordered to do this – he wanted to do this. Definitely not the Steve Rogers we’re used to seeing in the MCU!
8. Ali Avalanche Baba
In Captain America Comics #32, Bucky and Rogers begin investigating a Nazi agent named Ali Baba, after discovering that he was responsible for the death of multiple American soldiers. Following a failed capture, Cap learns that Baba is planning another attack, this time on an American military base.
Learning of his whereabouts once again, Rogers and Bucky track Baba and his men to a secret cave in Yanni, where they are attempting to smuggle explosives needed for the military attack. Rather than capturing Baba and his men, Captain America triggers an avalanche that sets off the explosives and whips out Baba and his men in the process.
7. Cap Buries Norman Osborn
During a timeline where Earth failed to prevent the Skrull invasion, within the What If? Secret Invasion series, the Avengers Alliance for Freedom are the world’s only hope of stopping every human from being converted into a Skrull.
Under the direction of the Skrull, Norman Osborn is ordered to take out the remaining members of the Alliance hiding out in Wakanda. Posing as Iron Man, Osborn infiltrates the city looking to finish them off for good, but before he can, Rogers takes Norman out with one swing of his shield.
6. Captain America Breaks Red Skulls Neck
During the Secret Empire timeline, a young Red Skull obtains Professor Xavier‘s brain in an effort to fuse it with his own; giving him the ability to mind control. Fearing that Red Skull has become too powerful, Captain America hunts Red Skull down and, without a second thought, break his neck. Outside of the fact that Red Skull was using his newfound abilities for evil, as a double agent, Cap feared that if Red Skull became aware of his allegiance to Hydra, he might out Rogers as the anarchist he was.
5. Cap Hits Nathan Summers With Lightning
In an effort to change his painful past, Nathan Summers, son of Jean Grey and Scott Summers (Cyclops) steals the Eye of Agamoto (Time Stone), kills Apocalypse, and attempts to open a portal to change the past. Before he succeeds, Captain America kills Nathan using Thor’s hammer, sending a bolt of lightning straight through Nathan’s body.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning this one, but when does changing the course of history ever end well? He had no choice. I don’t consider this an evil act, but he still killed someone in epic fashion, so it makes the list.
4. Say No To Drugs
After years of beating up Nazis and fighting overseas, Captain America turns his attention to the war on drugs. Unaware of how bad things have gotten, Cap attempts to help, but ends up being part of the problem.
One night while investigating a lead, Captain America is tricked into entering a meth lab that’s set to explode upon his arrival. As a result of the Super Serum in his blood binding with the methamphetamines, Rogers develops a massive drug addiction. While this is hardly his fault, it’s hard not to forget that gross beard and the beat down he put on Daredevil.
3. Who Gave Cap A Gun?
Written by Fabian Nicieza, Kevin Maguire and Terry Austin, The Adventures of Of Captain America, Sentinel of Liberty (1991) were released as a four-issue series that not only updated the character, they tossed the rules aside, making it okay for Captain America to use guns. Like Batman, Captain America has a no guns policy, which is probably why it feels so weird to see Cap carrying and using a pistol throughout the series.
2. He Throws His Sidekick Out Of A Plane
After explicitly telling his protege Jack Flag not to pursue Hydra high-council member Baron Zemo, Flag disobeys Cap’s orders anyway. Upon learning of this betrayal and being that this is the Secret Empire storyline, Rogers does what you’d expect: he throws Flag out of a plane – Con Air style.
As a result of his superior healing abilities, Flag survived the event but was left in a permanent coma. Fearing the kid would wake up, Rogers planned to finish the job, but before he could, Flag’s parents took him off life-support.
1. Nazi Vampires
During Captain America #254, Steve Rogers travels to England to investigate Union Jack’s Nazi vampire of a brother, Baron Blood. After going to toe-to-toe with Blood on multiple occasions with little success, Rogers decides to take things up a notch, using his shield as a guillotine once again.
I included this not because I thought what he did was wrong, but because of the way Cap did it. This comic was published in 1981, so given the time frame, Cap offing someone like that was quite rare.