AVENGERS #4 (1964): 1st Captain America

This is the one!

Cap joins the team!

Y’all know the story: It starts with Namor attacking some Eskimos who are worshipping a man frozen in a block of ice.  Sub Mariner hurls the ice-body into the sea, where it starts to drift, and melt.  The Avengers find it, and we get one of the most iconic panels of all time.

When Cap wakes up, he’s disoriented and combative–which is actually pretty damn realistic.

And he feels lost–a man out of time.

And hallucinates Bucky is there.

So much of the richness and complexity of the character is here, in this simple, brief comic.

For those who weren’t familiar with the character–and because he was new to the 616–we also got an origin.

Or not an origin so much as an explanation of how the WW2 hero is able to be in the 616 timeline.

This sequence has been redrawn and put into movies and cartoons, over and over, and often Cap and Bucky are in costume during it.

Interesting that in the original they’re not.

And of course there is action.

Namor and his Atlantean army, who wear deep sea diver suit to survive on land, fight the team–and Cap gets a good solo showing how he can stand on his own beside super-powered heroes.

Also, Thor drops his hammer and Namor is…

…Not worthy!

And after the threat is neutralized…

There is even the seed for future Rick Jones Bucky.

I’m not a fan of Rick Jones, but he’s better than the JLA’s Snapper Carr.

Hulk’s not the only one who leaves this adventure alone…

Poor Subby.

There are only a few comics better than this one. It’s one of the top 10 comics of all time, according to this objectively accurate list of the 100 best Marvel issues of all time. It is also one of the best Avengers Lineup Change issues of all time.

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