Ultimate Origins #2

Issue Date: 
September 2008
Story Title: 
Ultimate Origins – part 2

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Butch Guice (artist), Justin Ponsor (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Gabriele Dell’Otto & Dean White (cover), Paul Acerios (Production), Lauren Sankovitch (assistant editor), Bill Rosemann (editor), Ralph Macchio (senior editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

In 1942, Steve Rogers, a weakly young man desperately wants to serve his country, but is always told he is too weak. After his umpteenth visit at the recruitment office, Sergeant Dugan recruits him for a secret project and he becomes the test subject for professor Erskine’s superman formula. In Steve’s case, it works, transforming him into a perfect specimen as apparently the subject’s will played a role. However, Steve remains the only successful subject, as Erskine is murdered by a Nazi spy. As Captain America, Steve is ordered to win this war and promises the president to do so. First, he tells his longtime crush Gail of his love, though and promises to come back to her.

Full Summary: 

Project Pegasus. Devil’s Point, Wyoming. Today:

The Fantastic Four and Captain Carol Danvers, acting director of SHIELD, have come here. She informs the complex’s armed guards that she brought the FF because a couple of them are super brainiac big brains. Say hi, superbrains. “Hi,” Reed says, as does Johnny. Ben hisses at him that she ain’t talking about him!

Where’s Nick Fury? the guard asks and gets he curt reply not here. Uh, where are the Ultimates? he presses. She replies the FF are better suited for this. Who is she again? She reminds him there was a distress call. They are here to relieve that distress, agent…?

He introduces himself as Wendell Vaughn. Project Pegasus Director, she realizes. Project Pegasus was not something she knew existed until about an hour ago. Yes, it’s top secret, he agrees. Where’s Nick Fury? Why doesn’t he show her what the problem is? she asks. Um, it’s top secret, he stutters, then reluctantly asks them to follow him.

Inside, it’s dark and lifeless. Is it like a museum? Johnny asks. It’s where SHIELD keeps all objects of mysterious origin or unexplained power that the United States authorities have accumulated over the years. They keep all those objects in one place? Reed protests. Obviously every precaution is taken to keep the objects safe, Vaughn replies defensively and finally exclaims he didn’t invent the place.

Are there flies of this? Carol asks. Not for the public and not on everything, comes the reply. Nick Fury just threw anything he didn’t understand into a mountain and hoped for the best? Sue asks incredulous.

This place dates back wayyyy before Fury’s time, Vaughn replies. As hard as it is to imagine something could go wrong in a place, like this, Carol remarks, what went wrong? What’s the emergency?

Wendell shows them a strange black monolith with something that resembles a red eye. It was just sitting there for decades and this morning it turned on. Is it lookin’ at them? Ben asks nervously.

New York 1942:

A skinny blond young man sits in the cinema, listening intently to the news reel.

The world at war and we take you there. Hitler’s armies goosesstep toward Berlin as a reign of godless terror sweeps cross Europe.

American troops come by boat, by plane and by the thousands… while here at home the women do all they can.

Here we see American soldiers firing at German paratroopers just past the battlefield.

Our president shakes hands with heroic soldiers wounded in the call of duty.

Vice-President Truman is at the christening of a new battle ship called the Defender of Tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler addresses his masses calling for a strong and mighty end to the nations which threaten their --

A couple steps past the young man, looking for seats. The woman addresses him as Steve Rogers. “Hey Gail,” he replies. Is he here by himself? Gail asks. Umm, Steve replies indecisively. Gail introduces her friend to Steve whom she knows from school. The other main is Patrick Loika, who just enlisted. He’s shipping out. Gail asks where Steve has been and suggests they should get together. Yeah, sure, Steve replies with a smile. She means it, Gail assures him as she and Patrick take seats in front of Steve. In the back, someone calls for them to be quiet. The movie’s starting!

Steve watches.

A hospital in the United States: army nurses arrives in Port Moresby to care for the troops wounded in the furious fight for New Guinea. The more serious cased are sent back to the Australian mainland.

Steve gets up, shoots one last look at Gail and her beau and leaves the cinema, walking alone through the snowy streets. He walks to a recruitment center, not for the first time as it turns out.

How many times do they have to go through this, the recruitment officer asks him. Isn’t there something he could do? Steve asks. The officer reminds Steve that he failed the physical. That means he stays here. Work at the factories. With the dames? Steve shouts anxiously. They all gotta do their part, comes the reply. He could do the recruitment officer’s job, Steve offers. He wants to do his part. He wants to help stop this war. Tell him what to do and he’ll do it! The officer tells him he understands but he doesn’t make the rules and the rules say Steve ain’t fit for combat.

The phone rings, he listens to the other side, then he tells Steve to enter the door behind him. Sergeant Dugan expects Steve and asks him: How many visits to the recruitment office have these been? Steve apologizes for being a pest. He only…

No one is angry with him, Dugan tells him. They want to talk with him about his passion. Why does he want to enlist so badly? Because the Germans and Japs’re going to take over the world, if they don’t stop them!

Dugan leads him to a darkened room. What is this place? Steve asks agitated. Who is he? His name is Sergeant Dugan of the United States army. His job, to be blunt, was to find him. There’s someone who’s dying to meet him. He leads Steve down darkened stairs.

Steve nervously announces he feels like he is in trouble. Dugan promises him he’s not. They’ve had their eyes on him. Orphaned… gimpy leg… patriotic… smart. After his third trip to the recruitment office, they pulled his file. He has a file? Steve bursts out. Everyone has a file, comes the reply. They are at war. He fits. He’s a perfect candidate. For what? Steve asks.

Dugan tells him he wants to introduce him to… Doctor Erskine. He runs Project Rebirth. The eccentric-looking scientist asks Steve for a blood and urine sample… and so it starts. Steve is examined and tested.

Erskine’s notes:

On paper, the results are very promising. Steve Rogers fits every physical and mental criterion needed for this project. His bloodwork is perfect. His reaction to the steroids cocktails has been well within acceptable range and his heart and mind are exactly where the president wanted our subject’s to be.

Could it be that the missing ingredient was pure intent of the subject’s will? Could that be what was missing?

If Rogers survives tomorrow’s injections, this will be one of the most important days in the history of medical science. This will turn the tide of the World War.

This concludes phase three of my notes.

Steve is visited in his room by Erskine and Dugan. Erskine asks how he is feeling. He threw up this morning, Steve admits, but he’s okay now. Erskine checks his temperature and points out Steve has a lot of chemicals in his system. Nothing to worry about.

He’s ready though, Steve assures them. He’ll be ready soon, Dugan corrects him. He has more reading to do, as he hands him some notes. What is this? Steve asks. Dugan explains this is everything the American government knows about people who live on this planet who were not born here.

He explains to an incredulous Steve that, on top of the Nazis and the Japs, he’s going to learn that there are those working with them that are not from here. Obviously they assume them to be the most dangerous and immediate threat. Little green men from outer space? Steve scoffs. No. Dugan replies curtly.

The next day, Steve is led to a lab and strapped to a chair as Fury before him. He looks up to see a soldier standing above. He is injected. Steve begins to moan in pain, but his vital signs are in acceptable range, Erskine notes. He’s having trouble breathing. Above the solider draws his gun.

Like Fury before him, Steve screams, glows with energy and breaks loose from his bonds. The soldiers get ready to shoot him but Erskine orders them to hold on.

Steve stands still and looks down disbelievingly. He has become a perfect muscular specimen.

Suddenly the soldier above shouts Heil Hitler and fires at Steve, hitting him in the right shoulder. Erskine runs toward him to protect his creation. Before the US soldiers can overwhelm the spy, he has fired again, wounding Erskine lethally.

The Nazi spy still keeps the other soldiers at arm’s length with his gun. Steve takes a metal disc ad throws it at the spy, hitting his target. Then, he jumps up and takes him out with one blow.

Down below there is chaos with some people trying to help Erskine and calling for medics. One scientist asks the hell is that, looking at a small black monolith with a glowing red circle…

Steve Rogers waits alone, until the President of the United States is wheeled in, addressing him as son and telling him to stand at ease. Roosevelt explains that he is sending Steve overseas. He has to. They need him. Yes, sir, comes the reply, but there’s a lot going on that he doesn’t understand.

The President agrees. There’s a lot to take in. Plus, he’s one of a kind now. The Nazis saw to that. It’ll take… he doesn’t know how long… to figure it all out again. The doctor’s notes are incomplete. It was half in his head. But he wanted Steve to hear it from him. He has to help them win this war. He’ll do his best, Steve promises.

That’s not enough, the president replies. Best. Good intention, it’s not enough. He’ll have to wear their flag and win this war. Because without him out there, the next thing they’ll be forced to do is drop a bomb on a country… a bomb that kills everything in it. Every woman and child, They’ll have to commit genocide. And he just can’t have that on his shoulders. He didn’t start this war. He didn’t want to be in this war, but by golly, he’s going to end it. Is Steve going to help him do that? Yes, sir, comes the certain reply.

Some time later, Steve Rogers meets Gail on the stairs of some building. He apologizes for keeping her waiting and tells her he’s shipping out. They are both embarrassed, unsure what to say. Finally, he tells her he loves her. He’s loved her since middle school and he didn’t have the guts to tell her. He doesn’t know why. Now it’s so easy. But he does. Love her.

She loves him too, comes the reply. She doesn’t need to say that. It’s true! she assures him. He didn’t know that. She’s a hell of a gal. They kiss. When he gets back, Steve continues, he’d like to…

Say it when he gets back, she tells him. He walks away. When is he coming back? she calls after him. When I’m done, comes the reply and Captain America springs into action.

Characters Involved: 

in the present:

Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

Carol Danvers (Acting commander of SHIELD)

Wendell Vaughn (director of Project Pegasus)


in the past:

Steve Rogers / Captain America


Gail’s boyfriend

Sergeant Dugan

Recruitment officer

President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Professor Erskine


Nazi spy

Story Notes: 
Issue Information: 
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