Captain America’s Biggest Nightmare Isn’t Red Skull


The worst version of Captain America was a murderous mutant from a dark reality — and would have been Steve Roger’s worst nightmare made real.

Captain America’s worst foes tend to be dark reflections of himself and his mission. Red Skull is perhaps the most famous, but others — like the various members of the Zemo family or his Hydra-aligned copy from Secret Empire — embody many of his strengths for dark causes. But none of them can compare to the most terrifying Captain America in the multiverse.

The Captain America variant introduced in Mutant X remains the worst version of Captain America from across the multiverse. A dangerous and deadly menace who almost started a global conflict in his reality, this version of Captain America embraced everything that Steve Rogers fears about the role.

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Mutant X introduced a wildly unique Marvel Universe, one where the fates of many heroes played out very differently. In this world, an unnamed mutant was forced to take up the mantle of Captain America after Steve Rogers’ death. Given the Super Soldier Serum, this seemingly amplified his latent mutant abilities. At the height of his abilities, he possessed all the powers of Captain America — as well as the ability to amplify his strength, create force fields, generate energy beams, and even some limited telepathy. However, the Super-Soldier Serum had an unintended effect. The Serum left him mentally unstable and caused his mutant abilities to increase in potential. Eventually leaving the Avengers, this Captain America joined the Earth-616 Havok’s team known as the Six (this world’s version of X-Factor).

However, towards the end of the series, Captain America became one of the world’s most dangerous beings. Losing control of himself and his powers, Captain America lashed out at everyone around him. In the ensuing chaos, he slaughtered his world’s Avengers and almost set off a war between the United States and Canada. Ultimately, Havok was forced to fight his friend and kill him — allowing his body to serve as a host for the returning Goblyn Force. In many ways, this version of Captain America is everything Steve Rogers fears about what being Captain America can do to someone. His powers began to define this Captain America, highlighting the potential for a “Super Soldier” to lose any sense of restraint. The Super-Soldier Serum transformed this man for the worse, highlighting the inherent danger of the serum.

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His inclination became to grow violent at the provocations of others, lashing out with lethal intent. Steve Rogers has only ever reluctantly fought anyone and has always showcased a level of restraint. But even the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of John Walker — who committed murder during Falcon and the Winter Soldier — didn’t go as far as Mutant X’s Cap. This Captain America slaughtered indiscriminately, not even slowing down when he killed his former allies. This version of Captain America became bloodthirsty and brutal, seeking out conflict. One of the inherent elements of  a good Captain America is their stated refusal to pick fights. This Captain America instead demanded more combat as his fight continued.

But the worst aspect of this Captain America became his views on himself and others. Declaring himself the only true Sentinel of Liberty, this Captain America began to see all of his foes as enemies of the United States. He became a twisted and jingoistic monster, slaughtering people for the sin of being “traitors” to his world view. This is a Captain America who doesn’t hold back against, and almost beats his world’s Iron Man to death with his bare hands.

This would have been absolutely horrifying to Captain America, who’s long remained loyal to the “dream” of America instead of any single government. The Mutant X Captain America instead believed so firmly in the inherent purpose of his America and his mission that he became a monster. The Mutant X Captain America, on top of being one of the most powerful in the multiverse, was also Steve Roger’s ultimate nightmare of who else could become that hero.

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