American Eagle doesn’t need Captain America’s powers

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American Eagle’s triumphant return proves he doesn’t need super-soldier serum to be a hero.

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for “Captain America: Not Dead Yet” from the pages of Marvel Voices: Heritage #1, available now from Marvel.

Captain America’s centuries-old war against the forces of tyranny has made him one of the most influential figures in the Marvel Universe. Having almost single-handedly turned the tide of World War II in favor of the Allies, Captain America inspired a long line of patriotic heroes, many of whom are linked to failed attempts to recreate the long-lost super-soldier serum that was his. gave his superhuman abilities. Unfortunately, many of these heroes failed to live up to Captain America’s noble legacy for one reason or another before they faded into obscurity.


Unlike similar patriotic heroes, Jason Strongbow, aka American Eagle, didn’t receive powers through a recreation of the super-soldier serum, but he too had all but disappeared in the years since his debut in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #6 (by Doug Moench, Ron Wilson, Gene day, George Roussos and Pierre Bernand Jr.) However, Voices of Marvel: Legacy, an anthology series celebrating Native American heroes, just put the Navajo hero back in the spotlight, and American Eagle’s triumphant return proves he doesn’t need super-soldier serum to be a hero .

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After discovering that a mining company was planning to dig a sacred mountain for his tribe, Jason led a peaceful protest against the company that ended tragically when one of Jason’s tribesmen was shot by a guard. Outraged, Jason chased the guard into the depths of the mine, where he discovered that the mining company was in cahoots with Ulysses Klaw. Upon discovering Jason, Klaw attempted to kill him with his sonic blaster, accidentally triggering an explosion that caused a collapse. While escaping the collapsing mine, Jason was exposed to a seam of radioactive minerals that gave him superhuman strength and stamina, allowing him to emerge from the rubble unscathed. Hailed as a hero by his tribesman, Jason decided to use his newfound powers to protect his people and his land, taking on the name “American Eagle”.


While not the first Native American superhero, American Eagle broke the mold when it came to Native American depiction in comics by being one of the first whose powers weren’t tied to an ethnic source. Native American heroes who came before American Eagle were often given their powers by mythological beings tied to their heritage, who were not only grossly inaccurate in relation to actual Native American spiritual practices and beliefs, but overtly stereotypical in their presentation. By comparison, the origins of American Eagle’s powers were much more realistic (at least by comic book standards), and this small change helped pave the way for less stereotypical portrayals of Native American heroes and culture in comics.


Unfortunately, American Eagle’s powers aren’t as impressive as those of other patriotic heroes like America Chavez, and his appearances have become increasingly sporadic as more powerful heroes have been introduced. Marvel Voices: Legacy“American Eagle: Not Dead Yet” (by Steven Paul Judd, David Cutler, Jose Marzan Jr. and Paris Alleyne) charts American Eagle’s recent absence due to his advanced age, and a series of flashbacks show excruciating detail how he was removed from the Avengers to make way for younger heroes and slowly forgotten by the general public, with only a few fans still remembering he even exists.


Luckily, American Eagle gets the chance to prove he still has what it takes to be a hero when a team of masked bank robbers hold up the bank as he tries to cash a check. Although initially unwilling to stop the robbery, he is inspired to take action when he sees the leader of the robbers assaulting a young boy who had recognized him at a superhero convention earlier that day. . Refusing to allow old age or bitterness to keep him from helping someone in need, American Eagle single-handedly takes out each of the Rogues, even after being hit in the shoulder by a stray bullet.

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Although he nearly died from the shoulder injury, American Eagle’s win shows he doesn’t need his powers to be a hero. Despite knowing he wasn’t as strong as he once was, American Eagle is willing to risk his life to save others, staying true to the virtues that truly define heroes in the Marvel Universe. American Eagle’s triumphant return proves he doesn’t need super-soldier serum or a vibranium shield to be an American icon as great as Captain America, and he’s more than earned his place within of the superhero community.

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