What happened in a reality where Captain America awoke to discover a world where Red Skull had taken over the world?
Captain America was one of the key figures that led to the Marvel Universe’s victory over the Nazis in World War II, helping ensure that the evil empire was contained, even though he was lost in the process. But one story introduced a world where the loss of Captain America ended up setting up the defeat of the Allied Nations.
Now, we’re taking a look back at what happened in the world of « Captain America Lives Again » by Dave Gibbons, Lee Weeks, Tom Palmer, Dave Stewart and Randy Gentile, and how it introduced a twisted reality where the Nazis won World War II and Red Skull got to take over the world in 2003’s Captain America #17-20.
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« Cap Lives » imagines a world where Steve Rogers finds himself in a decidedly darker world than most. In this reality, the disappearance of Captain America came at a turning point in World War II that allowed the Nazi Party to overtake the Allied forces, ensuring their victory. By 1964, the Nazi regime has spread across the globe, leading to a successful campaign to take over the planet — with the United States (spiritually broken by the nuclear destruction of Detroit) succumbing and becoming the capital of the new Nazi regime. A patrol discovers Captain America frozen in the ice, leading him to be brought to New York and presented to the Red Skull.
The world has become an industrialized and terrifying place, with a defiant but cowed American population forced to adhere to the laws installed by the Nazi regime. Red Skull reveals that all « non-Aryans » in America have been detained, while « semi-humans » like Namor and the Atlanteans have been eradicated. A handful of notable scientists — such as Reed Richards and Tony Stark — have been forced into the service of the Nazi Party, developing weapons such as the Iron Men for Red Skull’s armies. But both men are also tied to an underground resistance that consists of this world’s Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm, Rick Jones, Henry Pym, Janet Van Dyne, Luke Cage, Bruce Banner, Edward Jarvis, Matt Murdock, Nick Fury, Stephen Strange, Donald Blake, Peter Parker, Frank Castle and Bucky Barnes.
The group helps Captain America avoid capture and hints at the sheer scope of the resistance that has been brewing and waiting for a chance to strike. Meanwhile, Red Skull works with one of his greatest scientific minds — Victor Von Doom — to perfect a Time Platform that could give them access to all of time and space. When Parker is captured, Captain America leads a rescue alongside Storm and Grimm — only for Parker to reveal that he’s been strapped with bombs just as Red Skull activates it, killing the three men.
After being captured, Captain America is able to break free of containment thanks to Stark, who is revealed to have a heart condition decides to stay behind and cover Captain America’s escape. Pym is able to deactivate all of the legions of Iron Men, allowing the resistance across the nation to fight back and rebel against the Nazi regime. The final stretch of the battle costs more heroes (including Pym) as they storm the lab. Captain America tackles Red Skull onto the Time Platform, resulting in both of them being thrown across the multiverse. This lands this version of Captain America back into the ice in 1964, where he’s found by a more traditional version of the Avengers.
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