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Bucky

by Brett White

Casual Captain America fans might have been surprised when Sebastian Stan appeared onstage during Marvel's Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con, what with his character—Bucky—having famously died in "Captain America: The First Avenger." But, and Stan's public appearance and onset photos proves it, Bucky's back in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"! But how did the character survive that epic fall down a mountainside into an icy river? The clues, Stan told Empire, are in the first film.

"There were actually some clues in the first movie that this was going to happen, believe it or not," said Stan. "I didn't even know about that... There are some clues in some of the scenes, actually in some of the set pieces that the guys put in there that I didn't even know about, particularly in that rescue scene. If you freeze [frame it], you go, 'Oh!' But it's so subtle, I mean, that's one of the great things about it. There's a reason he survives that fall."

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Captain America

by Brett White

The geniuses over at Hot Toys don't know how to make a bad figure. The company regularly produces 1/6th scale figures that faithfully recreate the looks worn by superheros in their big screen outings, figures that eventually wind up in the hands of the actors themselves. The company has done it again with their just announced Captain America: Star Spangled Man figure.

The new figure lovingly recreates Captain America's first duds from "Captain America: The First Avenger," which you can now use to re-enact the great Alan Menken song and dance number from the Marvel film. Like all Hot Toys figures, the new Cap comes with enough alternate hands to shake, well, a fist at, as well as Steve Rogers' original shield.

You can check out pics of the figure in action below, and go on and browse the Hot Toys tag while you're at it. It's worth it.

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Captain America

From the same people who brought you this wonderful Batman motorcycle suit comes an equally cool Captain America suit. As our pals at MTV Geek rightly point out, this makes cosplaying as Marvel's finest super-soldier super easy. Read more details over here!

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Avengers

If you're not one of the five zillion people who assembled for "The Avengers" this past weekend, well, we're not sure why you're here. You should be at the movies watching Iron Man and Hulk kick some serious alien ass with Loki cackling all the while. It's one of the most fun superhero experiences we've ever had at the movies, and we have the fine folks at Marvel Studios to thank for that.

Of course, while Marvel chief Kevin Feige and the filmmakers he brought on over the years delivered some amazing movies in addition to "Avengers," a few entries in the Marvel cinematic universe have been… less than stellar. With the crowning jewel now officially out in the world, now's as good a time as any to look back on all of the films Marvel Studios put out on the road to "The Avengers," and rank them from worst to best. Keep reading for our picks!

6. "Iron Man 2"
I do not like this movie. There are a few redeeming qualities: a reliably wonderful but underused Sam Rockwell, an admittedly sweet War Machine design, and Robert Downey Jr.'s continued ownage as Tony Stark… to a point. Iron Man was too much of an ass, even for him, and became fairly unlikable by the end of the film. The final battle was a mess. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, with the exception of the awesome hallway fight scene, was more or less useless. All told, "Iron Man 2" felt like a hollow two-hour commercial for "The Avengers." Not an awesome time at the movies. Thankfully, this is by far the low point of the Marvel Studios flicks.

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It’s been a four-year road to "The Avengers," so you’ll be forgiven for not remembering a few details: the color of Pepper Potts’ hair, the number of eye patches Nick Fury has, the actor playing Bruce Banner, etc. There’s a lot to catch up on.

In order to capitalize on the film’s May 4 premiere, AMC Theaters will be holding an all-day Marvel marathon on May 3 with the five movies that have gotten us this far: "Iron Man," "The Incredible Hulk," "Iron Man 2," "Thor," and "Captain America," capped off by a midnight showing of "The Avengers." It’ll cost you just $40, a whale of a deal for moviegoers with nothing better to do.

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Scarlett Johansson is about to play Black Widow for the second time in "The Avengers," but she wasn't always the first choice to star as the secretive S.H.I.E.L.D. spy.

Once upon a time, the role was Emily Blunt's for the taking. Of course, that never played out; Johansson won the "Iron Man 2" role. But that wasn't the only Marvel character Blunt was up for — she also had a fighting chance at playing Peggy Carter in "Captain America: The First Avenger," but that too never happened.

Why has Blunt passed on not one, but two roles within the Marvel universe? We're not the only ones wondering. New York Magazine spoke with the actress and learned her reasons for saying no to the comic book movie space.

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Hayley Atwell

In the past few weeks, a number of characters from the Marvel Universe have popped up as potential villains or cameos for this summer's tent pole "The Avengers." Most recently, merchandise for the upcoming movie may have revealed one key "Captain America" character's involvement in the film, but could Cap's long-lost love show up too?

Hayley Atwell talked about the prospects of seeing Peggy Carter again while promoting "Captain America: The First Avenger" on Blu-ray, and it doesn't look like she'll be joining the team in "Avengers."

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Captain America

Comic books weren’t always such a big deal. Back in pre-war America, comics and their characters were produced by the dozen, each hoping to capitalize on some zeitgeist or current of interest to make its company some money before moving onto the next potential concept. When Joe Simon co-created Captain America in 1940, literally no one could have seen where the comic book industry would eventually find itself -- and that 71 years later, his patriotic creation would see the silver screen en route to a larger “Avengers" film.

According to Newsarama and confirmed by Marvel Comics, Simon passed away yesterday at the age of 98, from unknown causes. Despite his age, Simon had remained a vital figure in the comics world -- this year, he released an autobiography, “My Life in Comics," and was active from the sidelines in supporting the Captain America film.

“The people out in Hollywood know what they’re doing, and what they got from me and [Jack Kirby] is the most important part—the origin story and the comic books we produced," he told the AV Club in July. “Marvel sent a crew to interview me, and I’m sure everyone will see that before long, but otherwise, I’m happy to let them do their thing."

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Sometimes a superhero isn't lucky enough to have superpowers, but hey, it never stopped Batman. Even those fortunate enough to have a few tricks up their mythical alloy sleeves can use the help of a great gadget once in a while.

This year's comic books movies were filled with amazing gadgets, doohickeys and thingamabobs that gave their respective superheroes or villains the extra boost they needed. Here's a look at the top five comic book movie gadgets from 2011.

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Tony Stark might be ahead of the pack when it comes to owning a veritable vault filled with superhero costumes, but his "Avengers" ally Steve Rogers is no slouch in that department either. In "Captain America: The First Avenger," the star-spangled superhero appeared in multiple different iterations of his iconic red white and blues, from a hokey version of the classic Cap costume to the considerably more souped-up Howard Stark design.

It's all the more impressive that Cap has so many different uniforms when you look at the fact that his Marvel debut took place in the 1940s — he doesn't exactly have access to the modern tools at Stark's fingertips. You can chalk that up to the extraordinary eye-popping efforts of the "First Avenger" costume department, who show off their work and the reasoning behind each of Cap's different suits in this exclusive behind-the-scenes clip from the "Captain America" Blu-ray and DVD, in stores on October 25. Check it out and let us know what you think in the comments section and on Twitter!

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