Content Warning: this article contains Nazi imagery and images of Adolph Hitler, though it is in the context of an anti-Nazi story.
So, we learned that not only is Captain America a Hydra Agent now, but that Evil Steve Rogers apparently makes for excellent clickbait! In case you haven’t heard, there’s been a great deal of furor about Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, in which, toward the end of the comic, it’s revealed that Steve had a link to Hydra as a child, and then signs off with a “Hail Hydra” after pushing Jack Flag out of an airplane. Good job, Steve. What might be even more impressive is Marvel’s ability to plaster this story everywhere, including major international news and entertainment publications.
It’s certainly not the first time Cap’s decided to go Full Evil. And of course, there’s speculation that this current incarnation of Steve has been somehow affected by rifts in the space-time continuum or the multiverse—a place where there have been plenty of Evil Captains America throughout history. Some Evil Captains aren’t Steve Rogers himself—he’s been impersonated by everything from Skrulls to other supersoldiers along the way—but there are plenty of times that the one and only Steve Rogers has fallen prey to the pull of the dark side. Hydra Cap aside (for now), here’s a tour of some of the best Evil Steves to grace the pages of comics.
1. The Very First Silver Age Captain America
Not technically Steve! But it’s too good to resist! In 1963, before bringing Steve out of the Ice, Marvel decided to run a “test” to see if fans were interested in a revival of the character. In order to do this, Cap appeared in a Strange Tales comic, alongside Johnny Storm. Things were going pretty swell, but when Johnny tries to give Cap a hand in a fight, the two of them start fighting instead.
Johnny gets pretty peeved and even flies into a jealous rage.
But is it Cap at all? Johnny removes Cap’s mask to discover The Acrobat!
Fortunately, the next time we see Cap, it’s good ol’ Steve Rogers himself, being rescued from the ice by the Avengers.
2. That Time An Alternate Universe Steve Popped in to Fight Capwolf
Everyone knows about Capwolf! But did you know that Capwolf isn’t the bad guy in his story? The werewolf version of our own Steve Rogers is pretty much a cuddly New Deal Democrat at heart: He overcomes his werewolf instincts to essentially organize a werewolf union. BUT that doesn’t mean there’s no Cap Gone Bad in the Capwolf story arc. No, just as Steve is beginning to transform back into his human self, a portal opens conveniently in the room he’s already in and an evil refugee from the Infinity War drops in to, uh, say hello (I mean kill him).
A transforming Steve handily dispatches this Cap in spite of his cool sawblade shield and bitey fangs, and then happily returns to being human just in time to accept John Jameson’s resignation.
3. That Time Steve Stayed CapWolf Forever
After that last bit, I’m sure you’re in grief that Steve turned back from Capwolf into the significantly less-hairy Steve we know and love. But fear not! In Secret Avengers, Hawkeye and Captain Britain travel to a parallel universe where CapWolf and the Undead Avengers rule. Unlike his cuddly counterpart from 616, who leads his newly-organized werewolf friends in a fuzzy revolt before fighting the evil Starwolf—who is, I kid you not, a wolf made entirely from the night sky—this Steve’s ideals run counter to what we’ve come to expect from our beloved Winghead:
4. That Time Steve Was Captain Hydra
In Exiles #90, the Exiles visit a world with a Madame Hydra bent not only on global domination, but cross-universe domination, once she discovers that the Exiles are a team of dimension-hoppers. This Madame Hydra? None other than Sue Storm herself:
The Exiles join up with Reed Richards’ and Elektra’s small group of resistance fighters, and Sabretooth takes on a Captain America who leads a complement of Hand warriors.
(Hey, look, it’s MCU Steve’s favorite line!)
5. That Time Steve Threw A Tantrum And Stormed Out of a Restaurant Because a Girl Whose Name He Didn’t Know Turned Down A Marriage Proposal
Haha, just kidding, there’s nothing technically wrong with Steve here; he’s just the worst date ever.
(Note he still didn’t bother to ask her name.)
6. That Time Steve Was Deathlok
In X-Factor #231, Jamie Madrox travels to a world where Wanda’s famous “no more mutants,” was “no more humans,” instead. Here, we see Deathlok-Steve on the hunt to destroy the last remnants of humanity.
As seems to be the case on a semi-regular basis, he can’t resist flirting with Tony Stark while he tries to murder him in cold blood.
7. That Other Time Steve Was a Werewolf
In Marvel Zombies/Evil Dead, at the end of the series, Doom gets bitten by zombies! But before he succumbs, he sends Ash through a portal to a “sanctuary” full of—you guessed it—WEREWOLVES.
Okay, so, to be completely fair, we don’t actually know if these furry folks are evil or just hungry for human flesh. But they’re worth including for Werewolverine.
8. That Time Steve Made Kang Emperor-For-Life
Can we count “easily exploitable and of questionable ethics?” as evil? Because Steve from Giant Size Marvel Adventures: Avengers pretty much takes the cake. In this story, Kang rewrites history so that the Agents of Atlas find Steve in 1958. The Agents of Atlas are then “tragically” lost to a black hole that Kang directs them toward, and Steve becomes President of the United States, resigns his post, and names Kang High Councillor of the entire planet.
They then promptly attempt to have the Avengers arrested for violating a law against secret identities. I mean, in a way, this is actually more directly terrifying than some of the Steves who are putting effort into being evil.
9. That Time Steve Was a Colonel
In Ultimate Fantastic 4, Reed accidentally visits a dystopian wasteland where Steve Rogers is a Colonel instead of a Captain. The implications of the devastation caused by this change in Cap’s rank can be seen below.
Oh. He’s also a zombie. Minor detail. In this universe, Steve leads a group of zombie superheroes in hunting down the last surviving living humans, led by Magneto, for food.
10. That Time Steve Was a Fascist Jerk to Lady Deadpool
In her homeworld, Wanda Wilson fights the tyrannical fascist government of the United States of North America (combination U.S. and Canada!). And one of the biggest pains in her neck is Steve Rogers—General (that’s right, General to you) America.
She always bests him in good old Lady Deadpool-style, sometimes with help from Vanilla-Flavor Deadpool and Headpool (who bites one of General Steve’s arms; it gets replaced with a cybernetic prosthesis).
11. That Time Steve Was Not Only a Werewolf, but Also a Spider
Steve sure does have a history with turning into a werewolf. So, what’s better than a werewolf? How about a werewolf AND a spider IN THE SAME COMIC??!?!?! This Steve wasn’t evil on purpose. The Spider-Queen turned most of the island of Manhattan into spider-people, including Steve, who became her Spider-King. Lucky guy!
After trapping the remaining Avengers, it seems like humanity might be done for, but naturally, we all know the cure for spider-dom is lycanthropy!
12. That Time Steve was a Vampire
I bet you thought I was going to say “werewolf.” In an alternate universe, Steve was bitten by Baron Blood and became a vampire and then assumed the throne of Vampire King. Steve turned the other Avengers into vampires and enslaved them to do his bidding as he hunted down the blood of the living until the Exiles destroyed the vampire Avengers.
13. That Time Steve Was a Vampire in a Significant Marvel Universe
The entire plot of Ultimate Comics Avengers 3 revolves around a vampire attack on the Avengers. Steve is bitten by Kid Daredevil, and when the authorities attempt to monitor him, Blade tries to kill him before he can do anyone else any harm. This goes badly.
Steve escapes and leads an army of vampires to attack the Triskellion. Unfortunately, for those of us who like vampires, and fortunately for everyone else, Steve’s supersoldier serum rejects the vampirism and he quickly transforms back into good ol’ heroic Steve Rogers and saves the day.
14. That time Red Skull Brainwashed Steve and Made Him a Nazi
If you’ve ever been confused over whether Hydra, historically, was intended to be tied to the Nazi party, most early Cap stories make it crystal clear, and Tales of Suspense #67-68 are no exception. Whether or not modern creators or fans position Hydra as an offshoot of Nazism, it’s undeniable in the pages of this comic, where Red Skull brainwashes Steve and attempts to use him to attack Allied military leaders.
This comic is a flashback to World War II, and notably features Adolph Hitler in the flesh. There’s a lot to be said about the way Nazis were portrayed in comics in the 1960s. Remembering that these comics were being created by men who had actively fought the Nazis (this one was drawn by Kirby himself), they’re depicted not only as agents of terror, but with the kind of mocking humor that is so often part of a very human effort to face and diminish our fears.
In that spirit, possibly the most gratifying part of this entire comic, for me, is what happens when Cap and Hitler meet.
This whole issue is just leading up to a joke about Hitler punching Captain America. That’s right. He tries to punch him back. In fact, we learn here that it’s one of Hitler’s greatest dreams to punch Captain America in the face. But Hitler is stymied even by the brainwashed Captain America and does nothing more than hurt his hand on the shield. Even brainwashed, Steve manages to render Hitler impotent, and he successfully fights his mind-control at the critical moment before anyone is hurt (apart from Nazis, of course).
Now, just imagine what Werewolf-Zombie-Spider-Vampire-Steve could do to Hitler.