Despite the fact that Captain America is one of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe with a legacy that transcends time and space, it is constantly being thrown in his face that he is the weakest member of the squad by some of the other Avengers–a hurtful and demoralizing opinion that is actually shared by Captain America himself as he has admitted that he is, in fact, the weakest Avenger.
Steve Rogers aka Captain America became the iconic star-spangled Super Soldier after volunteering for an experimental program during World War II that made him the perfect weapon for the Allied forces against the Nazis. While Captain America was the champion the Allied Nations hoped he would be, his career came to a devastating end after he and his sidekick, Bucky, attempted to take down a Nazi warplane while it was flying through the air. During that mission, Bucky seemingly sacrificed his life to take down the aircraft while Captain America was thrown from the plane and landed in icy-cold waters where he was frozen in a block of ice and, for years, was presumed dead. Eventually, Captain America was discovered and revived only to jump right back into the action as a member of the Avengers, though despite his impressive record, Cap didn’t quite get all of the respect he had earned during his years of service.
In Avengers #22 by Stan Lee and Don Heck, the Avengers are forced to disband after the villainous duo Enchantress and the original, non-Luke Cage, Power Man framed them for a number of crimes across New York City. However, Captain America was not going to take that sitting down and launched a solo mission to clear the Avengers’ name. While in disguise, Cap infiltrated Enchantress’ lair and forced a confession out of her and Power Man before being violently confronted by the two villains. During his fight with Power Man, who was clearly much stronger than Captain America as he had all of the power of Wonder Man but with an added edge of villainy, Captain America finds a way to get the better of the seemingly superior warrior. Rogers tells Power Man, who had continuously spoken ill of the Avengers since the start of their fight, “Still think the Avengers are easy game, Power Man? And remember–you’re fighting the weakest one!”.
In an earlier Avengers issue, the Avengers believe Captain America is dead after he is sent flying through the timestream by Kang. While his fellow teammates were coming to terms with Rogers’ apparent death, Giant-Man says that the void created by his absence would leave a lasting impact on the team even though Captain America was the weakest among them. This was the first time Captain America was regarded as ‘weak’ in the eyes of his fellow soldiers–an idea that seems baffling to modern day readers given Captain America’s lasting legacy through the decades. In the current continuity, Captain America is still the one Avenger that Captain Marvel doesn’t want to fight as his opinion of her carries the most weight out of everyone else on the team. Plus, Captain America’s presence makes the younger generation of heroes star-struck, including Hazmat who recently went on a mission with Cap and thought the whole experience was incredibly cool.
Not only has Captain America left an impact on Earthbound heroes of the Marvel Universe, but also intergalactic ones with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Vance Astro being the most obvious example. However, even though Captain America is the gold standard for superheroism, he is physically one of the weakest heroes in the Marvel catalog–and this early issue of the Avengers proves that he knows it.
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