Marvel’s Captain America has many different superhero costumes, but one of its latest has a confusing design choice that completely undermines its mission. Steve Rogers’ suit is one of the most durable in comics, rarely changing drastically (compared to Iron Man, who has over 60 individual suits of armor, each built for a specific purpose). But the Star-Spangled Man suit worn on a mission to Mars has a terrible design flaw that makes one wonder if the superhero forgot his last team: the secret avengers.
Captain America debuted in 1941 in Captain America BD #1 by now-legendary comic book writers Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. The hero debuted in a costume that has barely changed in the modern era. The costume echoes the American flag, with a predominantly blue bodysuit, a massive white star across its chest, and red and white vertical stripes across the torso. A cap with a white “A” and wings on the sides completed the look (although wings are often the first design element to be incorporated into modern incarnations of the costume, as seen in 2011 Captain America: The First Avenger in the MCU).
Although Steve Rogers would end up receiving several different costumes (including his rather bizarre blue and yellow Nomad costume), a standout uniform would arrive in Secret Avengers #2, written by Ed Brubaker with art by Mike Deodato with Will Conrad. Here, Captain America recruits Black Widow, Moon Knight, War Machine, Ant-Man, and Beast to become the Secret Avengers’ black ops team, taking on missions that require covert and stealthy tactics. On Mars, the team tracks down an artifact at a Roxxon factory on Mars – and they each wear brightly colored custom suits.
Adorned with a massive red star, Captain America’s spacesuit doesn’t exactly promote stealth and subterfuge. All nearby enemies will know exactly which superhero is inside which suit and target accordingly. Even the very existence of the Secret Avengers is a secret to the general public, and the other heroes’ costumes make the same mistake: Moon Knight’s all-white costume has a crescent moon in the center, while Beast’s uniform has a huge Avengers. logo on the chest (at the very least, it replaces an obvious X, but again, he’s operating as a member of the Avengers here).
Captain America doesn’t travel to space as often as other Avengers heroes (especially Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and Thor), but his suit still has the appropriate Avengers mark. Unfortunately, this defeats the very purpose of the Secret Avengers and Steve Rogers would be easily spotted on the surface of the Red Planet wearing a mostly blue suit. Here again, Captain America is meant to act as a symbol of the United States, and the symbols are meant to be seen regardless of disadvantage in a tactical situation.
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