On a list of creators who know Captain America's history best, Ed Brubaker has established himself as part of the top tier with his award-winning run on Captain America. And after the release of The Marvels Project, Brubaker will be the crafter of the definitive origin of the characters who first appeared as part of the Marvel Universe 70 years ago.
Written by Brubaker with art by his Cap collaborator Steve Epting, The Marvels Project is part of Marvel's 70th anniversary observance this year, which commemorates the company's history since the Golden Age of comic books. Known as Timely Comics in its infancy, Marvel Comics debuted adventures of characters like the Human Torch, The Angel and The Sub-Mariner in late 1939, followed by Captain America in 1941.
As part of our ongoing series looking at The Marvels Project, we earlier spoke with Epting and Brubaker about their roles in the project, which will begin next week. Then we started looking closer at the characters who will drive the story of Marvel's past, beginning with The Angel and The Human Torch.
Since Brubaker's Captain America: Reborn #2 is released today, we decided to take a look at that character and the pivotal role he plays in The Marvels Project.
Exclusive Steve Epting CoverCaptain America
Secret Identity/Origin: When Steve Rogers tried to enlist in the U.S. Army, from a sense of patriotism and a hatred for the actions of the Nazis in Germany, he was rejected. A scrawny and sickly man, Rogers had to beg to be allowed to join the Army and was only granted the chance to serve his country when he agreed to be part of a top secret experiment.
Chosen as the first human subject for the Super-Soldier serum developed by Dr. Abraham Erskine, Rogers becomes a perfect human specimen with enhanced reflexes and muscles. Although the government intends to produce more Super-Soldiers like Rogers, Dr. Erskine is killed by a Nazi spy and the knowledge of key parts of the formula die with him. Soon after, Steve Rogers becomes Captain America, wearing a uniform incorporating the American flag and carrying a bulletproof shield.
"There's not as much to add to his origin, and in fact, some of it I'm dealing with in Captain America: Reborn," Brubaker said. "So I'm trying to just approach his story from a different point of view in that we see him as the 98-pound weakling and that side of it more. And we see Dr. Erskine and the government people working on the experiment, so we'll see those two storylines dovetailing. And we'll get to see his early days before he's officially called Captain America. We'll get to see his training and things like that."
Powers: Although he technically has no superpowers, Captain America possesses reflexes, strength and durability of a person in perfect condition, with even more endurance than a normal human. He is an expert at battle strategy and is a trained commander. He's trained in martial arts, and his skill with his shield is one of almost perfect accuracy.
Epting's Approach: "We will see the birth of Captain America certainly, and I assume we'll see some of his early adventures. We haven't gotten that far into the story yet," he said, and Brubaker confirmed that Steve's story doesn't really pick up until Issue #3. "As to how I'll be drawing him, it's something I'll probably just go by instinct on when the time comes.
"Also, the story is similar in tone to what we were doing in Cap with some espionage and cloak and dagger stuff, so yeah, I'm not veering too far away from what I've done before," he said.
First Appearance: The character first appeared in Captain America Comic #1 in March 1941, which is a little later than some of the other characters who are playing a part in The Marvels Project.
"In the very early days, I haven't had as much time devoted to him because I have so many other characters, and it's all moving on a timeline," Brubaker said. "Starting with Issue #3, he becomes a much bigger player in the story."
How He Fits in The Marvels Project: "Steve Rogers is one of the main characters in the story. He and Dr. Erskine and the Super-Soldier experiment in general is one of the things that runs through the whole story," Burbaker said. "You know, because he's going to become Captain America and eventually, the leader of The Invaders. So he's going to be a prime character.
"It's not as much of stuff we haven't seen before with him, but it's all really important because the Super Soldier experiment itself is what the book is about in many ways," the writer said. "Everything that's going on, these secret government experiments going on around the word and the things that tie together, all kind of lead toward the Super Soldier program. It's the culmination of all of it."