origins: Captain America: The First Avenger, the 2011 film as part of the Greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also known as Earth-199999 because Marvel picks weird numbers.
played by: Jae
contact: booglyboo145 @ AIM
When we first see Steve we're in 1943, our time primarily spent in New York for the first half of the film; it's four years into World War Two, with rationing, propaganda, and fearmongering in full-swing despite America's grind upwards out of the Depression thanks to the industrial necessities of war. It's the world we know, really - unlike with the other films, the only piece of Marvel Movieverse canon to date that really effects Steve's reality is the idea presented and proven in Thor - the Norse gods exist, but not as gods in and of themselves. They're an alien race of vast technological superiority, former visitors to the earth - which is how the Norse legends came to be. They don't practice magic, but a science so advanced that it appears to be magic (hereafter referred to as 'voodoo science').
Certain personalities believe the legends are more than just that, and have devoted themselves to proving it. Johann Schmidt, the man who becomes known as Red Skull, is the only other person in the world to undergo the serum injections that changed Steve Rogers into Captain America. But his change was prompted by a search for a power left behind by the Asgardians, and the belief that man is man's best weapon. Schmidt finally does locate the power source he's hunting for, and uses it - in the span of a year - to develop technology that puts anything up to and including modern military weapons to shame. The Tesseract is a source of explosive power that, when channeled properly, literally annihilates living tissue and can rip chunks from some of the strongest metals in the world. Schmidt leads the Nazi's deep science division, called HYDRA - but breaks away from Hitler and his followers to pursue his own ends once he has all the pieces in place. His followers are fanatics, their faith in Schmidt cultlike, their willingness to die for him absolute.
The division Steve joins to help fight Schmidt and HYDRA is called the SSR - the Strategic Scientific Reserve - and is, in Marvel continuity, the direct precursor to SHIELD. Serving much the same purpose as special forces during Vietnam, they perform hit-and-run raids on Schmidt's facilities deep behind enemy lines, and are to all intents and purposes not acknowledged as existing by the military at large. It seems to be a coalition made up primarily of American and British military and intelligence forces. They're HYDRA's non-evil twin, essentially, though their tech levels are nowhere near those of HYDRA itself and their manpower is limited.
As far as the world at large is concerned, the conflict between HYDRA and the SSR isn't even happening; there might be occasional stories about strange technology (or, you know, UFOs, that sort of thing) seen in regions where HYDRA is active, but Schmidt and the SSR are tangled in their own very private battle for dominance. The only information people outside of the conflict are liable to get with any consistency are propagandist articles about Captain America's exploits, carefully edited to make it seem as though the missions are part of the every-day war effort.
Steve was raised until age ten by a selfless nurse and a heroic story - his father, a soldier in the army's 107th heavy armor division during WWI, was also one of the 2% of victims killed in the field by mustard gas. To say it colored his psyche would be one massive understatement; he's tried to live the life he thought his father would want him to since he was old enough to self-actualize. Considering the fact that he'd always been unhealthy - extremely unhealthy - it's taught him a resilience and stubbornness bordering on the moronic. Once he gets an idea in his head he does. Not. Quit. He won't lay down in a fight, and he won't lay down for a bully. He'd have to be literally incapable of getting off the ground to keep himself from a fight once he's involved. One of the last things his mother said to him was to understand the difference between fearlessness and foolishness, which - while it is something he understands - doesn't always stop him from stepping past the edge of what's reasonable when it comes to standing up against bullies.
The Great Depression hit the US in a bad way shortly after his mother's death - shortly after Steve was moved from his Hell's Kitchen home to an Orphanage in Brooklyn. All things considered, he was lucky. The populations in orphanages exploded in the years after 1929, orphanages becoming refuges for children whose parents never came back after they left their kids to the state while they went elsewhere to find work, as well as the simply abandoned, the runaways, and those whose parents died. Considering the priority parentless children were given it's something of a miracle that Steve turned out to be as selfless as he did; though he couldn't have been without friends, I doubt he was close to any of those he knew. For all his warmth and empathy, he doesn't trust easily, and his first expectation has always been that he'll be tested somehow by the company of others - either physically or in his ability to take or ignore a joke.
This constant testing has instilled in him a pathological need to prove himself. To be more resilient, more persistent, more disciplined, more responsible than everyone else. If he didn't have the physical benefits that others did, he would distinguish himself in other ways.
The most significant thing about him, however, is the bottom-line reason Erskine picked him for Project: Rebirth in the first place. Steve Rogers is, plain and simple, a good man. Whether through his mother's influence, his father's legacy, his own self-depreciation, or just some peculiar accident of fate, he's an exemplar of selflessness, humility, empathy, and sensitivity to the needs of others. Even as he tries to prove himself, he values others above himself, and sees in them all the potential that others can overlook. What drives him in the film to put down the mic and pick up the shield is the determination to free 400-odd heroes imprisoned behind enemy lines, to track down his best friend/virtual brother. In every instance where he's given the opportunity to either take on the bad guy or try to save someone's life, he goes first for the save without a second thought. He values humanity. He has faith in people, faith in their ability to do the right thing if given the chance, and faith in his country and what it stands for if not all those who manage its policies.
In spite of all that, his initial relationship with the persona of Captain America was shaky at best. He wasn't the kind of person to embrace the stage - too used to being laughed at or ignored for that - and he wasn't expecting the offer of a patriotic job and a promotion to entail singing, dancing, and speeches. Over time, however (the USO and publicity circuit lasted about six months) he started to realize not only how happy his appearances made people, but how important the symbol he represented was to them. His final, true step into the position of Captain America came when he rescued Bucky and his fellow prisoners - when Bucky himself called for the soldiers to cheer the icon they'd been mocking and jeering just days before. One of the reasons Steve remains humble despite the attention and accolades is his own mental divide between himself and the hero; people aren't cheering for Steve Rogers. They're cheering for the Captain. Bucky knows him well enough to realize this, which is probably why he makes the distinction between who he's following into war. Not Captain America. The skinny kid from Brooklyn who was too stupid to run away from a fight.
It's understanding that difference that sets his WWII colleagues apart from the (movieverse) Avengers, or will at least at first. The former know Steve Rogers and Captain America; they see where the man and the character meet, and value both for who they are and what they mean. Through experience, they're able to marry the symbol and the individual, and both are stronger for it. Pull Steve out of that time period, away from those who've experienced him as a person, and suddenly you take away that portion of humanity so essential to Captain America himself; he becomes simply the hero without the man Erskine put such faith in. Yes, Steve is still there, who he is hasn't changed, but the way those around him react to his presence does. You can't truly be friends with a charicature, which is what the public face of Captain America was during WWII. He was the USO hero who went overseas to become a real one; an image attached to headlines, not a man. Until his new companions start to see the kid from Brooklyn standing behind the shield, he just won't really be one of them.
That's not the only thing that will create distance between them. As untested as the emblematic Captain America might be in their eyes, the Avengers are equally unreliable in his. His Commandos were proven in the field, loyal and trustworthy. They'd saved each others' lives and could be counted on to do it again. Perhaps most importantly, Steve hand-picked them himself with Bucky's help, whose judgement he trusted without fault. The Avengers were (or will be) thrown together by circumstance, a conglomeration of egos and leaders whose goals might be the same but whose differences make achieving them a hair-pulling exercise in Rube Goldberg reasoning.
He's also set apart from them because of the values of the era he grew up in, the era whose ideals he embodies, and his own reservedness in all areas, not the least of which is personal and physical pleasure. He's never believed in indulgence - from growing up in a frugal single-parent home to the scarcity of the Depression to the rationing of the War, he's been raised to believe you take what you need and no more, and even that should be shared if there's a need. Selflessness and restraint are ingrained in him too deeply for the excess and gratuitous selfishness of the 21st century not to disgust him in some way. Heroes and true leaders in particular have no business indulging in more than their subordinates are allowed. He didn't when he was on the ground and in the field, his Colonel didn't, his peers didn't, and he holds those around him in the modern day to that same standard. Howard was an exception to the rule, but he proved himself in enough other ways that his excesses were forgiveable, even endearing.
As far as physical pleasure is concerned, Steve is still a virgin and not particularly ashamed of it. As he tells Peggy, there are several reasons for it; it's not just that no one was interested in the twiggy asthmatic who would probably break before getting half way to the finish line. He never had the confidence to get intimately involved with a woman, for one, and then after the War began it wasn't even worth considering a priority any more. There were more important things to do. He views sex as something private, intimate, and personally important; if there's no love, there's no point. Even though he fell hard for Peggy (like a giant superweapon-loaded plane into a glacier), he knew - as did she - that there was a time and a place for a relationship like the one they wanted, and put duty to country and mission first. It's kind of what he does; his own desires, needs, and dreams are all tied up in the success or failure of the mission at hand, and if it comes to a question between personal fulfillment and a selfless act for the sake of others, he'll go the second route, without question, every time.
Abilities & WeaknessesEdit
HE'S A GOOD MAN. IT'S SUPERPOWER NOW. ALSO, IF YOU GO BY THE MOVIE, VULNERABLE ONLY TO FIRE.
But no really. As Erskine puts it, the serum takes what is already there - inside - and amplifies it. It took, in essence, the spirit of the man that Steve was and made him into more than that - it's voodoo science, we don't question. As far as what he displays during the movie, he has vastly heightened stamina, a healing and recovery rate that far outstrips that of an ordinary individual, is more difficult to injure generally speaking (he went flying off the top of a capsizing cab and hit the ground before rolling and came up without a scratch until the dude shot him, I mean really), and is strong as ten regular men, definitely. He also has a metabolism four times faster than average, which means (I suppose unless he's trying really, really hard), this here 26-year-old-virgin can't get drunk. Other than that, he's flesh and blood - he can be injured, he can be killed. All it takes is a well-placed bullet or more injuries than his body can heal.
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