Captain America: Reborn is a six-issue (originally intended to be five issues) monthly comic book limited series published by Marvel Comics between July 2009 and January 2010. Written by Ed Brubaker, and illustrated by Bryan Hitch with inking by Butch Guice, the series reveals the “truth” regarding the death of original Captain America Steve Rogers and revives him in the contemporary Marvel Universe.
On the first anniversary of the death of Captain America there is a dispute between people, whether to honour him as a patriot, or hate him for being a traitor. Sharon Carter is also looking for the agent to whom she gave the gun she used to kill Steve Rogers. She tracks him down, and using a device from Nick Fury, she hypnotizes him and makes him tell her where he put the gun.
As “Bucky Cap” reflects on what’s happening to the country, Rikki Barnes talks with Eli Bradley (aka Patriot), telling him that she wants to be Bucky’s new partner. Patriot says that Bucky is not looking for a new partner right now, but he wants Rikki to meet him, like Steve would have wanted him to. Meanwhile, Crossbones and Sin escape from a H.A.M.M.E.R. holding facility in Colorado, and the Red Skull returns, still trapped in his robot body. In Central Park, Falcon, Natasha, Bucky, Luke Cage, Jessica Drew, and Clint Barton are there without their costumes, but have a teleportation spell ready in case Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers attempt to capture them. Osborn, Sentry and the new Ms. Marvel manage to find the group while hovering over the park, but Osborn decides not to attack them. Instead, Osborn appears in front of the crowd, and says that the gathering, thought to be illegal, was approved by H.A.M.M.E.R. He declares that they will honour Captain America for who he was, and the crowd shouts his name, which upsets the Avengers present. Sharon Carter then appears to them, saying that there is still a way to save Steve.
Sharon, Falcon, Vision, and Hank Pym are meeting together at Hank’s lab. While Bucky and Black Widow infiltrate a H.A.M.M.E.R. helicarrier, Sharon explains to everyone how she shot Captain America. However, when they examine the gun, which she recovered in Captain America #600, they discover that it is technology sponsored by none other than Doctor Doom. The gun didn’t kill Steve, but as Zola explains to Osborn during a meeting, “froze him within space and time”, and while Sharon was captured by Red Skull, she was used as part of a device to bring Steve back, or “unstick” him from time. When she damaged the machine, Steve did become “unstuck,” however, no one is sure where. As Bucky and Widow are attacked by Ares and Venom, there are flashbacks to Steve Rogers, who appears on D-Day, his mother’s death, and then back in D-Day with Bucky from that time. He questions what is happening to him, but appears to prepare to go along with where he is, and fight the battles of World War II all over again.
Norman Osborn approaches Sin and Crossbones for a mission. Captain America then ends up in the point of time where he is subjected to the Super Soldier serum by Dr. Abraham Erskine. Meanwhile, Bucky and Black Widow have been apprehended by H.A.M.M.E.R. Agents. Norman Osborn then advises Black Widow to seek out Sharon Carter and order her to turn herself in before the current Captain America is also killed.
Captain America is now in the event in his life where the Inuit have found his frozen body and then flashes toward the Kree-Skrull War event where he is able to briefly talk with the Vision, giving him a message that he is to subsequently forget until the right time. Back in the present, Bucky is freed by Ant-Man and then rescued by Falcon who fights Ghost. However, Sharon has turned herself in. Meanwhile, Sin and Crossbones locate the Red Skull and take him to Latveria so that he could be given a living body.
When Red Skull arrives in Latveria with Sin and Crossbones, Arnim Zola has created a machine that will bring Captain America back. Captain America is now in the point in time where he and Rick Jones (under his Bucky alias) are fighting HYDRA. Back in the present, Norman Osborn holds a press conference about Sharon’s surrender as it is watched on the airplane where Victoria Hand has Sharon. At the Infinite Avengers Mansion, Mister Fantastic reveals to Henry Pym that the gun used to shoot Captain America used tachyon particles and the unidentified nano-particles in her blood are linked. He also theorizes that Captain America’s body is somehow out-of-sync with their reality, which is why Sharon is the key to bringing him back. The Vision interrupts them, Reed’s comment having activated a secret message in his deep storage memory banks from Captain America himself. Ronin, Black Widow, and Bucky attack H.A.M.M.E.R. Mobile Data Collector demanding the whereabouts of Sharon. Once Vision shows the message to the two scientists, Mister Fantastic deduces that when Sharon destroyed the Skull’s machine, it caused Rogers to be lost in time. Sharon is brought into Latveria and hooked up to the machine that she previously destroyed where she will be hooked up to that machine alongside the Red Skull. In 1945 at the English Channel Islands, Captain America and Bucky attempt to stop the Nazis and Baron Heinrich Zemo from moving the drone plane armed with an explosive. Captain America realizes that this is the same event at which they both get frozen and his sidekick becomes the Winter Soldier. Then suddenly, he is pulled through his entire life before the Red Skull comes on top of him. By then, his physical form is brought back to its proper reality. However, it is not Steve Rogers who is in control, but the Red Skull.
Aboard the A.I.M. transport ship, Sharon tries reaching out to Steve Rogers telling him to not “let him win”. Captain America responds by kicking her in the face. When Sharon argues that it is Norman Osborn that is “pulling the strings”, Captain America responds by telling her that Norman Osborn has gone to great lengths for him, even striking a political deal with Doctor Doom and that he would be following Osborn’s plan…for now. Captain America then informs that they will be meeting with the President to inform him on Captain America’s return, right after he takes care of Avengers who have been tailing them in stealth for the last hour. Immediately the Vision phases through the Transports walls but is quickly frozen by Sin using a new weapon developed by Zola and A.I.M. The Avenger’s Quinjet is then shot down, crashing in Washington D.C.’s Reflecting Pool. The A.I.M. transport lands and a battle then ensues between the Avengers and the A.I.M. agents. The real Steve Rogers is now stuck in an alternate New York, one run by the Red Skull. After being discovered by Nazi soldiers, Steve escapes down a dark alley where he finds Uncle Sam posters, refashioned in the image of the Red Skull. Steve Rogers punches through the wall, where he catches the Red Skull off guard, and the two fight. Aboard the transport ship, the Red Skull-controlled Captain America becomes disorientated from the mental attack of Steve Rogers. Captain America then informs Zola to release the shock troops: the Super M.O.D.O.K. Squadron (Military Organisms Designed Only for Killing Super Heroes) led by Crossbones. Bucky spots Captain America and Sin emerging from the transport. Sin charges towards Bucky only to be knocked away by Bucky’s shield. Upon the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Captain America and Bucky fight while Steve Rogers and the Red Skull fight in the alternate New York. As they fight, the Red Skull reveals to Steve Rogers that it was, in fact, Sharon who had assassinated him, but Steve Rogers passes it off as a lie. Sin then shoots Bucky in the back from point-blank range before Captain America takes the shield. Bucky draws his gun, with Captain America daring him to shoot. Bucky tries to reach out for Steve to give him a sign, but in his hesitation has his bionic arm cut off at the wrist. Captain America takes Bucky by throat and prepares to strike the killing blow.
During the battle, Henry Pym enters the Red Skull’s ship and frees Sharon Carter. Meanwhile, Rogers, determined to stop the Skull at all costs, tackles the representation of the his enemy’s consciousness and began to strangle him in hopes of killing his body. Surprised that Rogers would go that far, the Red Skull consciousness evacuates Rogers’ body, allowing Rogers to reassert control. The Red Skull returns to his robot body, just as Pym and Carter stop Arnim Zola from hacking into Vision’s operating system. To prevent him from escaping the area, Sharon Carter uses Pym’s size changing technology to enlarge the Red Skull into a giant. While Rogers leads the Avengers into a coordinated attack on the giant menace and thus holding him in place, Vision accesses the ship’s weapons systems to fire on the Red Skull. As the Skull falls against the attack, Rogers is seen by the civilian bystanders for the first time and they cheer his return. Although Rogers is certain that the Red Skull’s consciousness was destroyed along with the robot body, Black Widow reminds the team that Norman Osborn and his Avengers will be on the scene momentarily and they leave the area immediately. Back at the H.A.M.M.E.R. Helicarrier, Osborn is briefed on the incident, and begins his plans to deal with his newly strengthened enemies. He also comments on Sin, who was too close to the destruction of Red Skull, and caught in the explosion. She is alive, but her face was burned in the explosion, leaving her with a Red Skull just like her father. In Brooklyn, Rogers broods about the apocalyptic visions of the future he experienced and wonders how to avert it. As he ponders, Sharon arrives to take him to the party in his honour downstairs, but Rogers asks for one peaceful moment with her first.
The Captain America: Reborn series concludes with the one shot, Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield?. In Captain America’s hideout, in Brooklyn, Bucky brainstorms ideas for a new costume. After Natasha Romanova poses the question why there couldn’t be two Captain Americas, Bucky states “there’s only one Cap…and it’s Steve Rogers”. Meanwhile, in another room, Sharon Carter expresses concerns about Steve not being able to sleep for the past four days. Steve explains that, after the recent ordeal, he fears sleeping because he does not want to “skip away again”. After not being able to devise a new costume, Natasha (now in her Black Widow costume) convinces Bucky to don the flag and shield and “go out for one last hurrah”. Steve leaves Sharon asleep as he too dons the flag and goes to the rooftop for some time to think. Steve sights Bucky and Natasha leaving the loft on a motorcycle and follows them. Steve watches on from the rooftop, Bucky and Natasha confront Mister Hyde and other prisoners who had escaped from the Raft prison in the morning. As Hyde is about to escape, Bucky spots Steve and throws the shield to him. Steve leaps from the building, grabs the shield, and dives into Hyde. Steve offers the shield back to Bucky who declines. The two then take a stroll along the East River, where they discuss who will continue on as Captain America. Steve expresses that he wants Bucky to continue on as Captain America, even though Bucky explains he does not want it. Steve holds out the shield and asks Bucky to “do it for [him]”. Back in the loft Steve explains to Sharon that he couldn’t tell Bucky the real reasons for letting him carry on as Captain America. After reliving not only the past but the future as well, Steve feared Bucky would die if he did not continue on as Captain America, even if Steve had to sacrifice the future that he wanted. Steve then visits the White House where he meets the President (although the president’s name is not addressed and his face is never shown, the papers are signed ‘Barack Obama’ with his right hand; Obama in reality is left handed) where he is granted a presidential pardon for the events of the Superhuman Registration Act. He then explains to the president that he is not ready to carry the shield, to which the president accepts but states that he has a feeling shortly “this country’s going to need to call on you for something much bigger…”.