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Captain America

Marvel 80th Anniversary
by yo go re

Nothing like celebrating Veterans Day with the ultimate veteran.

As World War II unfolds, and super-powered beings emerge around the world, the patriotic hero Captain America is revealed, ushering in a new age of Marvels.

Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and debuted in 1941 - or possibly very late in 1940: the cover date is March, but those were often set several months in advance. Publisher Martin Goodman was confident the character would be a success, so he had Cap premiere in his own title, rather than an anthology. (Although to save money, it was "Vol. 2"; postal regulations required companies pay a fee to register new series, so for legal purposes Captain America Comics was technically a reboot of Timely Publications' failed Popular Digest, which had only managed to publish two issues in a year and a half.)

Cap's costume underwent a lot of little tweaks after its debut - like, at first the neck was left bare, and the stripes on his stomach didn't continue around to the back - but this is still the classicest of classic designs. It's mostly the Capwolf molds (that's one place the boots, gloves, and even the belt have been seen before), though there are a few new parts. More than you'd expect, certainly.

We begin with the medium body, logically, but then add a "shirt" piece over top of it to create his famous scale mail armor. (You'll recall that when the Retro Collection figure wanted to achieve the same look, it simply painted the lines on.) The shoulder balls are sculpted the same way, but the real surprise is that mail contines down onto the biceps just a little. It's only a millimeter or two, but it necessitated molding entirely new upper arms, so it's surprising. An even subtler change is found on the hips and butt, which are now molded with cloth wrinkles this body's never had before. Since his re-emergence in Avengers #4 added little shorts instead of trunks, this makes sense.

The figure includes two heads, but they're not that different: Iron Man got two different helmets and an unmasked Tony Stark, but all Cap gets is one head with stylized wings, and one with wings that look like feathers. That's not enough. Where's Steve Rogers, with a dropped-back mask to hang against his shoulders? The A on the forehead is a raised element and the expressions are slightly different, but these two aren't unique enough to warrant including them both. Or at least only them.

And the rest of his accessories don't make up for it, either. You know what we get? Fists. Not even the pointing and saluting hands Capwolf had, just fists. And the shield-flinging effect from Secret War Captain America. Those new bodyparts must have been mad expensive if this is all we're getting. And also, I think we can all agree the figure would be better if it also came with a werewolf head. Can't be the ultimate version of the character without one.

Joking aside, this is the best Captain America there is. He costs $5 more than a regular Marvel Legend and doesn't have any Build-A-Figure pieces, and the accessories are less than they should be, but not being as good as theoretically possible doesn't mean he's not the best around.

-- 11/11/19

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