The new Captain America volume dropped a bombshell on readers just recently, turning our entire concept of the Star Spangled Avenger upside-down. Steve Rogers, as it’s been revealed, has always been an agent of HYDRA. As expected, the same fans who once believed Dr. Octopus would always possess Peter Parker’s body were outraged. However, this twist is hardly the most outrageous reversal for a Marvel superhero, or even just Cap. Did you know he was a dog at one point? Yes, he was. Read on, and question how well you truly know these characters’ storied identities.
Cap’s social circle at one point included J. Jonah Jameson’s son, John Jameson–an astronaut better known as the Man-Wolf. And when the Captain went searching for his disappeared pal in one story arc, he came back with the hair of the dog that bit him. Yep. Captain America was a werewolf for a while. He doesn’t like to talk about it much, now. He got over it pretty quickly, at least, but not before some dog-eat-dog scuffles where he clashed claws with the feral mutants Wolverine and Wolfsbane.
Remember when Iron Man went insane and fought the Avengers? The “Crossing” storyline revealed that shellhead had actually been in cahoots with Kang the Conqueror for years. Their secret deception came to a head when the A-team had to pluck a 19-year-old Tony Stark out of the time-stream to vanquish his evil older self. “Teen Tony” adventured as Iron Man for only a few months before being swept up in the Onslaught crossover which ultimately dropped nearly every hero into another timeline. How was this all fixed eventually? Well, Tony re-emerged as his adult self again, and all past indiscretions were simply waived off.
The Punisher MAX series re-interpreted Frank Castle as a figurative Frankenstein monster, built in the lab of the Vietnam War and designed by the military industrial complex. Then this later volume made that connection literal. After Big Pun is maimed and murdered by Wolverine’s son, Daken, the living vampire Morbius stitches him back together and thusly re-christens him “Frankencastle.” It wasn’t even the first time the character had gotten a supernatural bent, either. A short-lived volume made him an unearthly, angelic hitman for a while.
For a couple years in the 90s, Spider-Man was a blonde guy named Ben Reilly who might’ve been the real Peter Parker. Confused? So was everybody else. The “Clone Saga” story saw a new vigilante, the Scarlet Spider, arrive in New York, insisting the Spidey we all thought we knew was actually a clone created by the villainous Jackal. There were a whole bunch of twists and turns after that, and just as many spider-clones, but for a long stretch this Scarlet Spider served as Spider-Man while the old Peter enjoyed suburban retirement in Portland with his wife, Mary Jane.
Turns out, Bruce Banner’s psyche isn’t fractured into two neat halves. He’s got multiple, color-coded personalities. So, in addition to the green-skinned incredible/savage/rampaging Hulk, with his infamously limited vocabulary, there’s also the gray-skinned “Joe Fixit,” who’s a far more articulate gangster. In the late 80s, Banner turned into Mr. Fixit, and carried out a whole mess of lucrative dirty work in Las Vegas. It’s been a while since this gray Hulk has held dominance, but a Red Hulk was introduced a few years ago to show how Hulkin’ out looked in another hue. He turned out to be Banner’s nemesis, General “Thunderbolt” Ross.
Remember any other times when superheroes looked totally unrecognizable from who they usually are? Hit the talkback with suggestions. We might list them here. Oh, and Hail Hydra.
Image Credits: Marvel