Is Captain America worthy? That question could possibly be answered in Avengers: Infinity War.
Marvel Studios has now shown off the first footage from Avengers: Infinity War at two different major industry events. The first was D23 Expo and then they replayed the footage for the Hall H crowd at Comic-Con International: San Diego.
The Avengers: Infinity War footage still hasn’t been released online, but fans can’t stop buzzing about it. One of the things that most caught fans’ attention and imagination was Chris Evans’ new look at Captain America.
Previously, Evans’ Steve Rogers was clean shaven and decked out in the red, white, and blue appropriate for someone calling themselves Captain America. Avengers: Infinity War seems to change that. Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, including the adoption of the Sokovia Accords regulating the superhero activity, Captain America and his allies have gone underground and Steve Rogers looks the part.
Rogers has grown a full beard and the bright, primary colors of his Captain America costume are gone. Instead, Cap’s costume is turned all-black and his signature star has apparently been removed leaving only stitch-marks.
As speculated previously, this look seems to be based on Steve Rogers’ time as The Captain, back during an era of his Marvel Comics history when, just like currently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he and the government were not exactly seeing eye-to-eye.
Though Steve Rogers only operated as The Captain for about a year, there’s one moment from the era that remains a standout for fans of Captain America and it involves Thor and his mighty hammer, Mjolnir. That moment has led us to speculate about the possibility of Captain America possibly picking up Thor’s hammer in Avengers: Infinity War, a moment that was foreshadowed back in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
However, Steve Rogers has actually lifted Thor’s hammer on more than one occasion, and each time it was under very different circumstances. Here’s a rundown of each time it has occurred.
The moment that first comes to mind in relation to Avengers: Infinity War is from The Mighty Thor #390, released in 1988, during Steve Rogers’ time as The Captain.
Thor visits Avengers mansion to find a very different Avengers team than the one he remembers, including Captain America now simply known as The Captain. His visit is cut short when he discovers that Asgard is under attack by the Egyptian god Seth.
Seth sends Grog, the Egyptian god of death, and his Death Demons to attack Thor on Earth. Thor is aided by The Captain and at one point Thor is knocked down and Mjolnir falls from his hand.
Much to everyone’s surprise, The Captain is able to lift Mjolnir. He uses the hammer to give himself some room and then tosses it back to Thor, who then easily finishes off Grog’s minions. At that point, any doubt Thor had about The Captain washes away.
The next time that Steve Rogers lifted Mjolnir was at the end of another long period where he was no longer Captain America.
Steve Rogers was believed dead at the conclusion of Marvel’s Civil War event. It was later revealed that he was actually lost in time. When Rogers returned to the present day he found that James “Bucky” Barnes, his former sidekick and the Winter Soldier, had taken over the mantle of Captain America.
Rather than take reclaim the Captain America persona from Bucky, Rogers began operating as the commander overseeing and coordinating the various Avengers teams that existed at that time. That all changed in the Fear Itself event when Bucky was killed in battle by Skadi, the daughter of the Red Skull who was in possession of an Asgardian hammer (it was later revealed that Bucky actually faked his own death).
With Earth seemingly in its darkest moment, Thor was slain by his malevolent uncle, The Serpent. Steve Rogers once again becomes Captain America and lifted Thor’s hammer to deliver a battle cry rallying the remaining Avengers and citizens of Earth for their final stand.
This moment, drawn perfectly by Stuart Immonen, is one that could definitely be recreated in Avengers: Infinity War with Rogers lifting Thor’s hammer and becoming Captain America once more to rally the Avengers against Thanos and the Black Order.
The most recent example of Captain America lifting Thor’s hammer is also easily the most controversial.
Nick Spencer’s time writing Captain America has seen Steve Rogers share the mantle with former partner Sam Wilson, formerly known as the Falcon, who had taken over the mantle previously when the super soldier formula was removed from Steve Rogers’ blood, leaving him frail and elderly.
Rogers had continued operating in a command position but had his former vigor restored to him by a sentient cosmic cube called Kobik. What nobody else realized was that Kobik also rewrote Captain America’s entire history, making it so that Captain America was and always had been a Hydra sleeper agent.
To kick off the Secret Empire event that was the culmination of this storyline, a massive battle took place in New York between the forces of Hydra and the forces of the Avengers. The battle came to a sudden halt when Thor (Jane Foster at this time) simply vanished from the battlefield and left Mjolnir behind.
Captain America strode up to the hammer and lifted it into the sky with ease. The matter of how a Captain America corrupted by Hydra’s influence could lift Mjolnir has yet to be fully resolved.
A lesser known example of Captain America wielding Mjolnir comes from the 2006 comic book What If? X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, a tale by Rick Remender and Dave Wilkins that somehow makes one of the X-Men’s darkest timelines even darker.
The original Age of Apocalypse imagines a timeline where Professor X was killed before he could form the X-Men. Magneto goes on to form the team instead, but not in time to stop Apocalypse’s rise to power.
The What If? Age of Apocalypse story imagines what would have happened if both Professor X and Magneto were killed and the X-Men have never been formed at all. Instead, Captain America, wielding Mjolnir, leads a small band of heroes under the name the Defenders, including Captain Britain (in Iron Man armor), Colossus, Logan, Brother Voodoo, X-Man, Molecule Man, The Thing, and Sauron.
Despite being an X-Men story, What If? Age of Apocalypse centers on Captain America and the struggle for an unflinching idealist like him to maintain that clarity in a dystopian wasteland. Cap finally seems to break when he uses Mjolnir to kill X-Man and prevent him from going back in time and trying to "fix" the future again.
For moviegoers, the idea of Captain America picking up Thor’s hammer likely conjures up memories of Avengers: Age of Ultron, where the moment nearly happened.
During the Avengers’ victory party of Stark Tower following the defeat of Hydra the team all took turns trying to lift Mjolnir (except for Black Widow, who didn’t want to know if she could). All the Avengers failed, though Captain America did manage to make the hammer budge a bit. Only Thor seemed to notice, and the look on his face was priceless.
Of course, the Vision showed them all up when he lifted Mjolnir easily later in the film, but the exact meaning of that moment is still up for debate.