For every one hero, there is a plethora of sidekicks, a dime a dozen. Batman alone has had five different Robins, in addition to the countless non-Robin sidekicks. Similarly, Captain America also has had many sidekicks, but with the difference of a bit more creativity in their names. Outside of the older and expensive Golden and Silver Age ones such as Bucky, Falcon, and Golden Girl, here we will be focusing on a few of the more recent and affordable sidekicks. Sidekicks on a budget if you will. It is entirely possible to collect all the key first appearance issues of the Captain America sidekicks featured here for under $20.
Dennis “Demolition” Dunphy, the mohawked man who would later become Demolition Man, made his first appearance in The Thing #28 (1985). In the issue, Dunphy is a wrestler who happens to be trying out for the same Las Vegas wrestling team as the Thing. After both make the cut, Dunphy is secretly approached by the owner to throw his first match against the Thing, but he keeps his dignity and refuses. After the fallout from the owner’s underhandedness, the Thing and Dunphy close out the issue with a match in front of a packed house.
A few years later, Dunphy finally takes on the Demolition Man moniker and dons the Wolverine/Daredevil remixed costume in Captain America #328 (1987). When Captain America’s search for information about the Super Patriot leads him to a wrestling gym. There he meets Dunphy who tells him about his origins, which include getting his superstrength from the Power Broker’s strength treatment machine. As Captain America investigates this further, Dunphy backs him up as the Demolition Man; even saving a captured Captain America towards the end of the issue.
Demolition Man’s superpowers are a combination of his wrestling expertise and the superstrength from the Power Broker’s treatment. Unfortunately, as a result of the strength treatment his heart is severely weakened; so much so that he suffers a heart attack.
While Captain America is busy on a mission out of the country, a new hero Jack Flag (aka Jack Harrison) jumps in to stop a robbery in his first appearance in Captain America #434 (1994). After King Cobra shows up on the scene in a twist, Jack Flag offers to join the Serpent Society. Jack Flag’s true secret plan is to destroy the organization from within; his desire for revenge is due to the past events of Serpent Society infiltrating his hometown and crippling his brother. To test Jack Flag’s loyalty, King Cobra challenged him with stealing from Mister Hyde.
It is also Jack Flag’s mission to steal from Mister Hyde that he gains his superpowers, as a result of being exposed to Mister Hyde’s experimental chemical, the Hyde Formula. The powers he gained is typical of the Captain America sidekick starter-pack: strength, healing, etc.
In Captain America #431 (1994), college student Cathy Webster is approached by a professor to volunteer for her research experiment that could enhance her physical and mental proficiency. At first, Cathy resists because she valued hard work and didn’t want to take any short cuts, but eventually agrees to participate. Cathy wakes up with the Captain America-like powers of super-strength, agility, healing, etc, but was brainwashed by the professor. Cathy would only, later on, discover that the professor was actually the villainous Superia.
Under the cloud of Captain America’s deteriorating health due to side-effects from the supersoldier serum, Cathy fights by his side as the Free Spirit. They stop Baron Zemo from using Superia’s tech, the same one used on Cathy, to turn a group of kidnapped kids into brainwashed supersoldiers.
“The sidekick business has been good to me.” – Sean Astin
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