Captain America has undertaken his last mission — at least for now. The venerable superhero is killed in the issue of his namesake comic that hit stands Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported.
On the new edition's pages, a sniper shoots down the shield-wielding hero as he leaves a courthouse, according to the newspaper.
It ends a long run for the stars-and-stripes-wearing character, created in 1941 to incarnate patriotic feeling during World War II. Over the years, an estimated 210 million copies of "Captain America" comic books, published by New York-based Marvel Entertainment Inc., have been sold in a total of 75 countries.
But resurrections are not unknown in the world of comics, and Marvel Entertainment editor in chief Joe Quesada said a Captain America comeback wasn't impossible.
Still, the character's death came as a blow to co-creator Joe Simon.
"We really need him now," said Simon, 93, who worked with artist Jack Kirby to devise Captain America as a foe for Adolf Hitler.
According to the comic, the superhero was spawned when a scrawny arts student named Steve Rogers, ineligible for the army because of his poor health but eager to serve his country, agreed to a "Super Soldier Serum" injection. The substance made him a paragon of physical perfection, armed only with his shield, his strength, his smarts and a command of martial arts.
In the comic-book universe, death is not always final. But even if Captain America turns out to have met his end in print, he may not disappear entirely: Marvel has said it is developing a Captain America movie.