Background After enduring the process that transforms him into a peak human physical specimen, Steve Rogers, the man who would become Captain America, witnesses a Nazi assassin strike down Dr. Abraham Erskine, the inventor of the Super-Soldier Serum responsible for Rogers' change. Rogers watches Erskine die in his arms, then performs his first heroic act in his new body: He kicks the crap out of the killer.
Background Being on the losing side of the super-hero civil war, Cap has been arrested and is being escorted to court. That's when he notices a sniper rifle in a nearby window and takes the bullet meant for his guard. Then he's unknowingly shot by his lover, Sharon Carter (technically, he's displaced through time and space a la Desmond from Lost or Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five).
Background Cap leads a two-prong attack against an organization bent on detonating a "mad bomb" that would enslave humanity in, um, madness. While a strike team disables the bomb, Cap faces the leader of the group, who just happens to be the ancestor of a colonial traitor who was slain in a duel by Cap's ancestor. What? That hasn't happened in your life?
Background A group of alien Kree are kidnapping and genetically experimenting on humans on Earth. Cap is called in by fellow Avenger Ms. Marvel (going by Warbird here) to help stop them. Fisticuffs ensue, and Cap loses his temper after discovering a warehouse packed to the rafters with dead bodies.
Background Spider-Man has switched sides in the super-hero civil war, and public opinion has turned on him like a rabid zombie dog. Now on the same side in the conflict, Cap seeks out the Web-Slinger and gives him a pep talk that put Knute Rockne and Bluto from Animal House to shame.
Background A group of friends discouraged with the government's treatment of the working man (FYI: this story was published in 1984) blackmail New York City through a series of arsons that turn deadly. Cap tracks down the perpetrators, but the ringleader decides to go out in a blaze of deluded glory instead of face the shame of being apprehended. Cap can't save him, but he does save the flag.
Background A religion based on worshiping Thor creates instability in Eastern Europe, pushing countries to the brink of war. It also pushes Iron Man and Cap to confront their fellow Avenger. As tensions rise, Cap tries to convince a U.S. military detachment to go against presidential orders and stand down from the conflict.
8. Avengers-JLA #4
Background I'm going to radically simplify this cross-company team-up: The heroes from the DC Universe team up with the heroes of the Marvel Universe to defeat a Big Bad of cosmic proportions that threatens to destroy the fabric of existence. The heroes strategize before their final battle, and a leader is chosen to lead the attack.
Background Thanos, the mad Titan obsessed with death, comes into possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, an artifact that bestows godlike power on its wearer. And like any mad Titan obsessed with death, Thanos decides to destroy everything. A band of heroes desperately--and unsuccessfully--tries to stop him. Guess who steps up to confront Thanos?
Background A government commission decides it wants to exert tighter control on Captain America, claiming he's a government employee. The commission gives him an ultimatum: Fall in line or quit.
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