1. CAPTAIN AMERICA NO MORE (CAPTAIN AMERICA #332-350, 1987-1989)
Despite Cap’s recent success under writers such as Ed Brubaker and Mark Millar, Mark Gruenwald still holds the distinction of being the best talent to ever work on the character. His Captain America stories provided the comic book action that all fans crave, but they also contained a healthy amount of social commentary to elevate the book into something more.
Gruenwald’s magnum opus on the character was the sprawling epic Captain America No More, which spanned a then-unheard-of 18 issues. It focused on Cap’s forced retirement after his refusal to become a government sponsored agent. This was a groundbreaking premise as Captain America very rarely spoke out against the government that he admired so much. While the government scrounged to find his replacement, Cap began to work outside of the law and adopted a new identity, The Captain.
By having Steve Rogers stand up to the government in order to preserve his own beliefs, Gruenwald broke the mold of many other writers on the character and shocked readers in the process. Captain America No More is a seminal comic work that deconstructs the personality of the hero and reconstructs him as a vastly improved and more interesting character.