It’s a well-known fact that violence in comic books has long been a controversial topic. Brutal vigilantes like The Punisher blur the line between good and evil, spreading gore and carnage across the page. However, there remain a few superheroes who can still be described as wholesome. Chief among them is Captain America, the personification of an eagle draped in an American flag carrying an apple pie.
Cap is the greatest of the good guys, always standing up for what’s right and what’s honorable. Sure, he may have killed some Nazis and punched Hitler, but nobody should have a problem with that. There just aren't that many times when Captain America went crazy in his comics. He’s generally as civil as a professional villain fighter can be. The guy carries a shield into battle, how much more peaceful can someone get? No one would suspect Captain America of committing the same sort of acts that Frank Castle regularly does, but the truth is there are some really dark moments in Captain America comics. Keep reading below to learn more about them.
When Captain America went to work with Hydra, he didn’t half-ass it. Just before revealing his intentions to readers with the now-infamous “Hail Hydra” panel in Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, Cap decided to do something irredeemable just to seal the deal. He casually threw fellow superhero Jack Flagg from a plane, sending him crashing down to the concrete below. Flagg survived thanks to his healing powers, but has been in a coma ever since.
Right off the bat, what actual newspaper would publish a photo like that on the front page? Way to go, J. Jonah Jameson! Captain America’s death at the end of Captain America 2004 #25 was a surprise to all, especially because it came from an unseen sniper while Cap walked up the courthouse steps in handcuffs. It was, on the whole, a less than dignified end for the legend, although it was not to be a permanent one.
During Rick Remender’s run on Captain America Vol. 7, Cap was stuck in Dimension Z, an alternate dimension created by Arnim Zola. While there, Cap rescued a young clone from Zola, and raised the boy as his own in the hellscape setting. After countless adventures together, the pair was on the cusp of finally defeating Zola, but fate would intervene. Tragically, Sharon Carter, Captain America’s girlfriend, chose that exact time to come to Cap's rescue and, amidst the confusion, shot and killed Ian right in front of Cap. Great timing, Sharon! Luckily, Ian was later revealed to have survived due to a healing factor.
For whatever reason, violence against animals always tugs at the heartstrings in ways that other violence just can't match. This makes Captain America’s brutal slaughter of the super-powered and super-intelligent Soviet Super-Apes particularly uncomfortable. This was an act committed by the recently revealed Hydra-following version of Captain America from Captain America: Steve Rogers #4, so it’s a bit more understandable that he would commit such horrors. However, it’s still really difficult to watch the Sentinel of Liberty bash an orangutan’s head.