Every day we celebrate Captain America’s 75th anniversary by looking deep into the Marvel Unlimited archives and going through some of Steve Rogers’ most thrilling adventures. Happy diamond anniversary Sentinel of Liberty!
Oh to be young again! As we celebrate the 75-year anniversary of Captain America, it seems fitting to look back at what went into the character’s 50th birthday celebration back in 1991.
The story comes from longtime writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Ron Lim who also drew the cover with inks by Jim Lee. The issue itself starts with Cap chasing down the scythe-wielding Father Time who opens up a portal that swallows up first the star-spangled shield, then Time, and finally Cap himself.
In a spiritual successor to Jack Kirby’s BICENTENNIAL BATTLES, Cap finds himself tripping through legendary America meeting a variety of equally iconic characters like Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill, John Henry, Paul Bunyan, and even Uncle Sam who explains that Captain America stands on the verge of becoming legendary himself.
Eventually, Cap fights Father Time who claims to be an Elder of the Universe before the two tumble into darkness. When Steve comes to, he’s back in the real world, spots Father Time and smashes him with his shield. As it turns out, Hawkeye’s under the hood and he leads the hero back to Avengers headquarters where everyone celebrates his birthday.
The rest of the issue includes a WWII story that features Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Bob Petrecca as well as a U.S. Agent tale by Gruenwald, Mark Bagley and Dan Panosian and a Red Skull vignette by Gruenwald and Ron Wilson that stars the Steve Rogers clone Captain America, Arnim Zola, and Doughboy.
Anyone who remembers the “Streets of Poison” installment of Saluting Captain America will recall that our hero actually lost his super powers when Hank Pym cleaned out his blood to rid him of the drug Ice. Still, he seems to perform pretty well for a man who grew up during the Great Depression. In CAPTAIN AMERICA #384, Dr. Kincaid explains that the Super-Soldier Serum actually turns out to be a self-replicating virus instead of a drug. Since a few molecules of the virus remained in his system, they eventually reconstituted the serum back in his body.
Next, after celebrating Steve’s half-century mark, head back to a darker time when he felt the need to give up his hero identity after the events of Secret Empire from CAPTAIN AMERICA #169-174 by Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich and Sal Buscema.