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Captain America Finally Discovers the Official Limits of His Powers




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Summary

  • Captain America’s powers are not enough to defeat the Emissary, who has been enhanced with a version of the Super-Soldier Serum, gamma rays, and cutting edge armor.
  • Captain America must evolve, and he needs Doctor Strange’s help to fight magic with magic.
  • Captain America #5 is coming January 3 from Marvel Comics.


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As Captain America faces off against the Emissary, Steve Rogers is being forced to confront the limits of his powers and the existence of enemies he’s simply not qualified to beat. As the Sorcerer Supreme attempts to help Cap face a godlike threat, his best advice is to run and hide – even though he knows Steve won’t take it.

In a preview of Captain America #5, Steve Rogers debriefs with Doctor Strange following his fight against the Emissary. However, when Cap asks how he can beat his enemy in their next clash, Doctor Strange replies, “That’s the thing, Cap. You can’t.”

While Captain America’s mind and body were enhanced by the Super-Soldier Serum, what he’s dealing with in the Emissary is outside his wheelhouse. This demonic assassin has been given his own version of the Serum, bombarded with the gamma rays that enhanced the Hulk, and fitted with cutting edge armor – however, all of that Steve could fight against. What he can’t beat is the Emissary’s magical talents, which allow him to incinerate his targets with a glance.

Captain America #5 (2024)

CAPTAIN AMERICA 5 COVER A YOUNGER STEVE ROGERS IS SHOT IN A PHONE BOOTH

  • Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Artist: Lan Medina
  • Colorist: Espen Grundetjern
  • Letterer: Joe Caramagna
  • Cover Artist: Taurin Clarke

Related

Captain America Explains Why His Shield Works Better for Him Than Anyone Else

Captain America’s iconic shield is great at defense and offense, but only because its wielder knows how to use it to its full potential.


Captain America Can’t Beat Demons By Himself

Steve Rogers’ Powers Have Nothing to Take Down the Emissary

The Emissary is Henry Cavenaugh – a serial killer who is serving as the host of the demon Asmoday, working to prevent human progress by killing select ‘change agents’ who would otherwise bring about major societal improvements. Asmoday is an ancient and powerful demon, and his eldritch powers are the exact kind of abilities that Cap’s strength and tactical genius can’t overcome. As Doctor Strange warns, “Your power set is physical and mental. But you can’t just hit or overpower a demon.” In their last battle, Captain America didn’t just lose – he nearly died. Steve only survived because his shield was so super-heated by demon fire that when he was thrown into water and started drowning, the plume of steam told his allies where to find him.

While Captain America is the de facto leader of the Avengers, it’s interesting to see Marvel address his limits in this way. Captain America’s tactical genius means that he’s taken on pretty much every villain in the world, whether in direct combat or by directing other heroes against them. He’s brawled with Kang, fought Thanos one-on-one, and broken Ultron to pieces with his shield. Steve’s will and powers have often done the impossible – he’s even beaten the Hulk unconscious simply by being the better fighter. However, for once he’s up against a demonic force who doesn’t operate according to the same rules – there is no way to be strong or tough enough to beat a demon lord, because they don’t even exist on the physical plane.

Steve Rogers Is Forced to Face His Limitations… And Evolve Beyond Them

captain america shield eye of agamotto doctor strange

Of course, Captain America won’t let a thing like certain doom influence his quest to save the Change Agents, which even Doctor Strange admits. The only option is to upgrade Steve’s capabilities, with hints from Marvel that Doctor Strange will enhance his shield with magic to give him a weapon against Asmoday and the Emissary. Marvel doesn’t often emphasize Captain America’s limitations – it’s far more fond of showing Steve Rogers achieve the impossible – so it’s a major comment on Asmoday’s power that Captain America genuinely can’t beat the Emissary alone.

Captain America #5 is coming January 3 from Marvel Comics.

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