Why is Captain America an Avenger?

There has probably been a lot written about The Avengers, but the question I would like to discuss is: why is Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America even a member of the avengers?

Captain America was created in the 1940s by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics. At the time a super soldier seemed like something that would be very popular among the target demographic of comic readers, primarily children and soldiers fighting in World War 2. I understand that Captain America was important to the sales of comic books for Marvel in the 1940s, but is he really a “super hero”? And furthermore, is he as good or as powerful as all of the other people in The Avengers.



I have always found the inclusion of Captain America as a member of The Avengers to be quite perplexing. In essence, Captain America is a genetically modified human, who is very strong and very fast. However, he has no super powers or amazing technology like the other members of the Avengers. When the Avengers go to fight someone, Thor and Iron Man have the ability to fly there to confront their foe, but they then need to carry Steve Rogers? Or possibly Steve Rogers simply takes a plane to meet them there? At any rate, Captain America seems like a burden more than a help to the Avengers.

So, we have covered that clearly Captain America is not a member of the Avengers for his amazing abilities, then why is he a part of the group? I believe the reason is because he is mediocre and simply not as fantastic as the others, he is the bridge between mediocrity and the awesomeness which is the rest of the Avengers. He allows the public as well as the reader to be able to sympathize with the group. After all, it is hard to sympathize for an eccentric billionaire, a god, and a really angry scientist. Without Captain America, the Avengers are really just a collection of very strange people.

Like Captain America’s role in the recent 2011 movie, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America is shown as a super soldier who rallies support for the war effort by collecting war bonds which is a parallel for his role in the eye of the reader for the Avengers. He needs to rally support and sympathy from the reader for the cause of the Avengers.

To me it seems that Captain America is always out of his league. Captain America has no awesome super powers, he has no robot armor, and he certainly cannot transform into an incredible green monster. But, without him the Avengers would be missing a certain something that makes them appealing for the reader. If anything I think we should feel bad for Captain America, he has to fight the enemies of comrades without much more than being an especially athletic individual.


-James Lai

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5 Responses to Why is Captain America an Avenger?

  1. jsexner says:

    I do agree with your post James,

    I too feel that Captain America does not really deserve the title of being a superhero, let alone being a member of the Avengers (although I feel the same could be said for Tony Stark A.K.A. Iron Man since he is just using a billion dollar suit of armour). I do believe that without Captain America the Avengers would be a group of misfits who would ultimately implode on each other.

    As it was shown in the movie “The Avengers”, Captain America is a true leader, and is able to communicate to with each individual Avenger in a way that the others cannot, and because of this, he is a vital and integral part of the Avengers team. He has a sense of poise and rationality that the others seem to lack, and is therefore able to lead the team into battle.

    Although he may not have any special abilities (besides having wicked aim with his shield), I feel he is deserving of being a part of the Avengers, because without him, I don’t believe there would be a team to lead at all.

    Jared Exner

  2. mflittle says:

    I disagree entirely.

    Saying that he possesses no superpowers is pretty inaccurate. Being genetically modified to the absolute peak of human development makes him capable of bench pressing 1200 pounds and running a mile in 73 seconds (according to Wikipedia). Although this doesn’t compare to the powers of some superheroes, he certainly isn’t a pushover, and when coupled with his mastery of several martial arts, makes him a capable fighter.

    You also say he has no amazing technology. His main weapon is an indestructible shield. Sure it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles Iron Man’s suit, but it is without a doubt an amazing piece of technology that serves him well.

    Captain America’s biggest strength is his leadership, he is the heart and soul of the Avengers. I agree with your point that he is the character that draws the most sympathy, however that is not his main reason for being part of the Avengers. He is a master tactician, and his training and experiences in the war have made him a potent commander, earning the respect of his superhero teammates who willingly follow his orders in battle.

    Captain America is not a useless Rah-Rah character. He is a capable fighter and an excellent leader, which makes him an invaluable member of the team.

    Matt Little

  3. hmnewt says:

    I’m going to start out with: I disagree with you entirely. Steve Rogers, Captain America, has been modified to the “peak of human perfection.” Perhaps his powers aren’t as impressive as many other heroes or as flashy, but he’s still an incredibly capable fighter who is leagues above “normal” humans who aren’t super-soldiers.

    Also, if we’re going to run by “his powers are unimpressive,” then what about all of the non-powered superheroes running around? Steve is a super-soldier, he’s been modified to the peak of human perfection. So, what about superheroes who are like, say, Hawkeye (Clint Barton) who have no super powers to speak of except for the fact that he’s “the best marksman alive”? Clint is still as much of an Avenger as Steve is, and he has no superpowers whatsoever. So, why is Steve being singled out here? Is it really just a matter of “whose superpowers are more impressive” that nets you a place on the team, or is it something more?

    Maybe his abilities aren’t as impressive, but Steve is also a master tactician and strategist. He knows what he’s doing in combat – he has experience, has fought in wars, and knows how to command. Maybe he’s not a genius like, say, Tony Stark or Bruce Banner, but he’s still a very intelligent person.

    Also, in terms of amazing technology. There’s his shield, which is both his primary weapon and his primary defence. That shield is indestructible. It also bounces off walls and such and returns to Steve – that takes a lot of concentration and know-how to pull off. He’s throwing that around in battle and catching it like it’s nothing. He knows how to utilize it and few people would be able to pull off what he does in battle with it – he can process things and react to them much faster than a “normal” person could.

    But that’s not the sole reason Steve is an Avenger. You focus on his powers – or lack thereof – while completely neglecting who Steve is as a person. Steve Rogers might not be a “superhero” the way you seem to think, but Steve Rogers is a hero.

    He’s the little guy constantly bullied and put down. He became a hero because he didn’t like bullies; he stands up against them and fights because that’s simply who he is. Steve Rogers might not be a perfect soldier or a perfect superhero, but he is, at his core, a good person. He’s the hero that others aspire to be: Someone who stands up for what is right, regardless of the benefit to themselves, and fights for that reason.

    Steve Rogers isn’t just the member of the team we, the audience, are supposed to identify with the most (people are all unique and different; some might identify more with other characters than they would with Steve), but a valuable member of the team itself. He’s the tactician and very much the heart of the team. He’s not a useless character tacked on for any reason – he’s been a part of the Avengers since issue four – and has left an indelible mark on the world that he exists in.

    So, in short, Steve Rogers might not be a “superhero,” but he’s definitely a hero and he most definitely is an Avenger.

  4. qaisjanmohamed says:

    Yeah man, he is definitely an avenger.

    I dont think I have to reiterate how being genetically perfected is a super ability. But what he brings to the team is one thing most of the Avengers dont and his ability to be a leader. Iron Man, Thor, Hulk…they may all have super powers or super strength but all of them never belonged to a team before the Avengers.

    Captain America served on a team when he fought during the world wars, in fact he was the leader of them. Without him bringing a sense of unity and leadership to the Avengers the Avengers would just be a roster of super heroes as suppose to an actual team….just my thoughts though.

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