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The Evilest Captain America Is… A Vampire Gorilla?!


Captain America has gone on many strange adventures throughout his existence, and the weirdest comes from Marvel Apes, where Cap is a vampire gorilla.

The Silver Age of comics is often regarded as the strangest era of comic books. Adult superheroes would transform into babies, superheroes developed new superpowers once an issue, and talking gorillas became prominent villains. Though it’s easy to make fun of the Silver Age’s goofiness, many of its most ridiculous elements persist to this day. Nowhere is that more evident than in Marvel Apes, where Captain America is a nazi-vampire-gorilla.

Published in 2008, Marvel Apes follows the obscure Marvel hero, the Gibbon. The Gibbon, aka Marty Blank, is a man who has the strength and appearance of a gibbon ape. Having felt like an outcast his whole life, Marty is thrilled when a scientist tells him that he is actually from an alternate universe. Using an interdimensional portal to travel there, Marty discovers a universe filled with ape versions of Marvel’s heroes, but things quickly turn dark when the Ape-Vengers encounter Doctor Ooktapus. The Ape-Vengers quickly defeat the villain… and then proceed to beat him half to death. The group’s leader, Captain Ape-Merica, then has all the other heroes leave and calls in the group of World War II heroes known as the Invaders. The group then feeds on Doctor Ooktapus, revealing themselves to be vampires.

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Related: The Real Reason There Are So Many Talking Gorillas in DC Comics

Horrified by the Ape-Vengers’ brutality, Marty is relieved when the scientist who brought him into the world of Marvel Apes tells him that in two days she and the universe’s Reed Richards will have a portal back to the main Marvel Universe. When Marty comes to the lab to be transported, he is stopped by Captain Ape-Merica. Cap reveals that he wants to use the dimensional portal to conquer other universes. As he attacks Marty, Reed Richards breaks through a window and grabs a wooden stake. Cap turns the tables with no effort and uses the stake to kill Reed. Marty manages to escape but is quickly met by a group of heroes who oppose the Ape-Vengers.

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This group of outsiders tells Marty that Captain America isn’t Steve Rogers, but longtime villain Baron Blood. In the last days of World War II, the Baron bit Steve Rogers. The strange properties of his super-soldier enhanced blood transformed Baron Blood into Steve, giving him the opportunity to replace Captain America. With the rogue heroes’ help, Gibbon finds the real Captain America trapped in ice, and together they kill the impostor. In the process, though, the inter-dimensional portal is destroyed, stranding the Gibbon in the world of Marvel Apes.

While the idea of a nazi vampire gorilla Captain America is undeniably ridiculous, it works in Marvel Apes. Instead of just being a cheap reveal for shock value, it shows how brutal this alternate world is. Though the fake Cap is obviously evil, the non-vampire Avengers don’t end up looking much better. Most of them had no problem with nearly tearing Doctor Ooktapus apart. Even typically upstanding heroes like Spider-Man are totally fine with ritualistically killing villains. It takes the outside perspective of Marty to convince these heroes that what they’re doing is wrong and that there is a better way.

Too often superheroes are reduced to their powers and strength, but the reason someone like Captain America is a hero isn’t because of their physical ability but is instead because of their moral character. Marvel Apes shows that a world dominated by strength is a world without heroes.

Next: Marvel Replaced A Fallen Superhero… With A Chimpanzee

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