Steel: In the times of war, when the enemy has a crucial advantage, militaries work to create a super-soldier to help turn the tide.
Ray: In the era of both World Wars, none stand out better than these two, though.
Ray: Captain America, the First Avenger…
Steel: And King Bradley, Fuhrer of Amestris.
Ray: I’m Ray and he’s Steel, and it’s our job to gauge the strengths, weaknesses, weapons, and tactics of these two home-grown super soldiers to see who would win a DEATH BATTLE.
True Identity: Steve Rogers
First Appearance: Captain America Comics #1 (1941)
Won crucial battles for WWII
Went toe-to-toe with several strong beings and held his own
Led the charge against the Registration Act
Ray: Steve Rogers was a frail and scrawny man growing up in the height of World War II. Wanting to stop the acts committed by the Nazis in Europe, he tried, repeatedly, to enroll in the army and failed each time.
Steel: You’d have to be an idiot to not see why. Surprised the wind isn’t blowing him away.
Ray: Steve was then given an offer that he couldn’t refuse. He underwent “Operation: Rebirth”. By taking a body enhancement formula known as the Super Soldier Serum, his body was advanced to its fullest potential.
Steel: WOW! Not so scrawny anymore, is he? Anyway, with his new body, he gained peak-human (and some superhuman) strength, speed, stamina, reaction time, and a slight healing factor. And to think he was just a college student when he got this.
SUPER SOLDIER SERUM…
Consists of injections, consumable formulas, radiation, and gaseous chemicals
Never been successfully replicated
Wore off or hideously warped other subjects except Steve Rogers
Kept Rogers alive after being frozen
Affects his brain as well
Ray: Steve took up the alias of Captain America, at first for propaganda, but would soon become the first true superhero in the Marvel Universe timeline. Then, tragedy struck. At the close of World War II, Cap saved all of America from a mass bombing by scrapping an explosive rocket before it could reach America. He was tossed into the Arctic Ocean where, thanks to the Super Soldier Serum, he went into suspended animation and became frozen in the Arctic’s icy hold. Don’t ask why, though, because unknown chemicals will do whatever comic books want them to.
Steel: He was thawed out decades later in the modern day and became the world’s First Avenger. Must’ve been some nap, huh?
Ray: Thanks to the Super Soldier Serum, Cap is stronger than even the best weightlifter, can run fast enough to catch a speeding car, and keep going as though he never tires. He can also make jumps that would be deemed ‘impossible’ by many, react fast enough to make it through a hail of gunfire unscathed, and perform extreme acrobatics without a problem.
-Max Bench Press: 1100lbs
-Lifted a tree
-Hauled a WWII supply van
-Broke chains binding him
-Can keep up with a car on foot alone
-Outran birdlike creatures that could run 50mph
-Doesn’t secrete tire-inducing toxins
-Can run and fight for hours on end
-Can weave around multiple attacks from multiple directions
-Runs through/into machine gun squad fire and emerges without a scratch
-Can see bullet speed
Steel: Whether it came from military training, the serum, or both, Cap is one of the best hand-to-hand combatants in comics, claiming to know all forms of hand-to-hand combat. He's fought Wolverine to a standstill and has even knocked out the Hulk.
Mastered several known martial arts
-Utilizes pressure points
Fights for hours without tiring
Fought and defeated Lady Deathstrike, Taskmaster, Black Panther, and Spider-Man
Claims to know all forms of hand-to-hand combat
Ray: His fighting style is augmented by his traditional weapon, his shield. The shield is almost three feet wide and weighs well under half the weight of a steel shield of the same size. The reason for this is because it’s made of an alloy composed of two of the hardest metals in the Marvel Universe, vibranium and adamantium. The shield is virtually indestructible, capable of taking a bullet, a gamma-radiated punch from the Hulk, a blast from Iron Man’s unibeam, even a pounding from Thor’s hammer without breaking. The only known way to destroy Cap’s shield is to disassemble it on the molecular structure.
Steel: The shield is not just a powerful defense. It’s a weapon, too. He can hit his enemies with the face of his shield and knock ‘em on their pants or hit ‘em with the rim and break their bones. It's capable of taking a guy's limbs off and he has beheaded people with it before. He can also throw it like a discus, taking in its flight trajectory and ricochet effects before actually throwing it. He’s so skilled with this shield that he can throw it so it will fly back to him like a boomerang.
Almost 3’ wide
-Blend of adamantium and vibranium
-Harder than steel, but half the weight
Used in both close- and long-range combat
-Thrown like a discus
-Once extinguished a lighter by throwing the shield and turned it back on with return trip
Ray: Because of the environment he grew up in, Cap is also very proficient with a gun. He’s skilled in the use of almost any known firearm from plasma cannons to machine guns to handguns. In fact, he can become good with any weapon that he picks up, learning its use seconds after getting his hands on it.
Steel: Captain America is one of the Marvel Universe’s best peak-humans, right alongside heroes like Black Widow and Black Panther. He has also shown that he can go toe-to-toe with some of the Marvel Universe’s most iconic fighters and put up a decent fight, even Thor and the Hulk.
Ray: Above all else, Cap’s greatest attribute is his leadership and determination. He will try to bring his team to good terms if a fight should arise and will coax them in any way he can to complete the mission. That being said, he is a bit on the naïve side when it comes to superheroes, believing in more simplistic ideals, fighting styles, and heroism even if a situation is anything BUT simple.
Steel: Well, whatever, he’s still a great guy! Now, if only his costume wasn’t so goofy…
(Buchanan: What happened to you?
Captain America: I joined the army.)
True Identity: Unknown
First Appearance: Fullmetal Alchemist Ch. 15
Matched Colonel Mustang move-for-move in strategy
Kept identity secret for many years
Defeated gun- and tank-bearing armies while armed only with his swords
Steel: The man known as King Bradley is a man shrouded in mystery to the people of Amestris, whom he proudly rules over. Little do the people know that Bradley, in the beginning, had no name, family, or any real form of identity. Must’ve been real hard to find him in the address book…
Ray: Bradley was born and raised to be a candidate of the title “Fuhrer”. All his life, he was primed to be a powerful warrior and to rise to become leader, branded as “candidate no. 12”. Then, as a young man, Bradley was injected with a philosopher’s stone, a reddish substance made from the souls of humans. This stone in particular was full of wrathful and vengeful spirits and reduced to just one that was the strongest and most vengeful.
Made from human souls
Allows alchemists to bend the laws of alchemy
The power source for any homunculus
Can create human-based homunculi
-Humans gain abilities based on stone’s contents
-Bradley first ever of this type
Steel: Every other candidate before Bradley had died in the injection process, and his survival made him the first human-based Homunculus known to others as “Wrath”. It means that he has to be tough, and he is in every sense of the word.
Ray: Bradley lacks the ability of most other Homunculi including an extreme regenerative ability and the inability to age. This doesn’t seem to be a setback for him, though. Years of physical priming combined with the effects of the Philosopher’s stone has given him enhanced strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, and agility far beyond most people his age.
-Deceiving for his age
-Can outpace swift homunculi and chimeras
-Fights for hours without showing signs of tiring, even when injured
-Escaped a train falling off a cliff
-Can deflect and avoid machine gun fire
-Slashed a tank round clean in two
Steel: Bradley’s go-to weapon is the sword, the weapon he was raised to use. Each sword is about three feet long, straight, single-edged, and strong enough to stab through tank armor. Yeah, scrap anti-tank rockets and landmines, I’ll take this guy instead.
Ray: Wielding up to two of these blades and carrying six, Bradley can take out small squads of gun-bearing soldiers, cut tank rounds clean in two, and hold his own against equally-skilled and younger adversaries. He’s also precise enough to render weapons useless, cutting them at just the right place so they won’t function.
Steel: While he does prefer swords, Bradley will work with whatever weapon he can get his hands on. Problem is that the sword is his preferred weapon and combat knives, though large and sharp, have too little range for his tastes.
Carries two at a time
Pierced tank armor
About 3’ long
Single-edged and straight
Ray: Bradley also possesses a trait called the “Ultimate Eye”. It has been suggested that it can allow him to read his enemy’s movements and perceive oncoming attacks based on muscle movement. The downside is that Bradley is well into his sixties and he has complained that his aging body can’t quite keep up with his eye. The eye also has the flaw of being unable to see through solid objects like walls or obstacles, thus being unable to recognize a threat behind or around it.
Obtained when he became a homunculus
Body can’t quite keep up with it recently
Cannot see through walls/obstacles
Steel: He may fight for long, LONG periods of time, but it seems even he has limits. That being said, he managed to trick all of Amestris.
Ray: Bradley had been Amestris’ fuehrer for years, married, adopted a son (who was also a homunculus), and even used the façade of a nice man to hide his true nature. What people didn’t see was that, if something came up, Bradley would take care of it quickly and quietly. He is a cunning and cold strategist, taking care of his enemies in secret so as to avoid all-out war in his country and forcing emerging threats into a corner, ensuring that they won’t interfere with his plans or the plans of his superior, known only as “Father”.
Steel: And when war did come, he survived an assassination attempt, walked right into the heat of battle, and started kicking butt all over the place. Tanks, machine gun fire, and alchemists didn’t even slow him down. He fought to the bitter end and earned the title of “Liveliest grandpa EVER”.
(Bradley: Not that you’d know, but growing old isn’t easy.)
Ray: These two super-soldiers have been sized up, so it’s time to end the debate once and for all.
Steel: Yeah, the young super soldier will face off against the old super soldier and the Ultimate Sword will face America’s Shield. Matchup of the century, so what’re we waiting for? It’s time for a DEATH BATTLE!
Out in the streets of Amestris, the air was heavy with a looming fight. Two home-grown super soldiers stood across from each other, a look of absolute hate for the other burning in their eyes. One was dressed in America’s colors and bore a circular, similarly star-spangled shield. The other wore the uniform of Amestris soldiers and had a pair of swords in hand.
There was only room for one in this city.
Bradley struck first, swinging one of his swords at Cap only to see him duck behind his shield and for his sword to slide off its surface, creating a shower of sparks in the process. Cap swung in a counterattack only to see Bradley step back and swing with his other sword. Cap, unable to get his shield back up in time, stepped out of its range and felt the blade pass so close to his face that he felt the wind of it as it passed him.
Cap jumped clean into the air to avoid a charging Bradley and, when met with another swing aimed to gut him in midair, he maneuvered his shield and blocked before hitting the ground. Cap’s fighting instinct kicked in and he rolled on impact with the ground, getting back to his feet to face his enemy.
Bradley was sprinting at him, a cold look in his visible eye and his swords poised to cut him to pieces. This time, Bradley took a different approach, taking a swing at Cap’s legs. The super-soldier’s reflexes saved him as he backed just out of the range of Bradley’s swing, then took his shield and swung at Bradley, hoping to nail him with the shield’s rim.
Bradley ducked right under the swing and thrust with one of his swords, Cap twisting his body to avoid it. He at least saved himself from serious injury, for when he looked down, he saw that Bradley’s sword had grazed him, leaving a small cut on his side.
Cap ducked under a swing aimed to cleave his skull open, then performed a jaw-dropping series of backflips, Bradley swinging at him with each touch down on the ground. Cap ended the combo by jumping on the roof of a car. Bradley chased after him, springing on the vehicle to join him, and swung his blade again only to meet the face of Cap’s shield and a shower of sparks.
Cap rushed forward, using his shield as a battering ram, and Bradley actually pushed against the shield with his foot before springing back to the ground and taking a swing at Cap’s legs from below. Cap jumped over it, then jumped down after Bradley, landed face-down on the ground, then swept the ground with his foot in an attempt to trip the fuhrer up. This didn’t work as well as he hoped because Bradley simply stepped back and lunged again only to narrowly miss the super soldier, who rolled back to his feet and put his shield in front of him again.
Cap realized that this was going nowhere fast and his eyes quickly scanned his environment. However, he had to do it while constantly evading and blocking Bradley’s relentless assault. He found just what he was looking for after a brief exchange of blows: a dark alleyway.
Cap blocked another blow with his shield, then thrust forward with it, pushing Bradley back far enough to momentarily stun him. When out of harm’s way for that brief moment, he made for the alleyway with Bradley hot on his heels. Cap could just barely outpace Bradley and stay out of striking range. However, that gap was closing fast.
Cap turned the minute he was in the alleyway and swung with the rim of his shield, missing Bradley’s head by inches. Bradley attempted to end the fight there and then only to see Cap twist to avoid it and use his free hand to grab Bradley’s forearm. With a heft, Cap threw Bradley clean over his shoulder and the next thing Bradley knew, he was flat out on his back with Cap keeping his forearm in a deathgrip.
Bradley’s years of physical priming and training kicked in, though, for he twisted his whole body and swept Captain America off his feet with a low kick. Cap hit the ground and Bradley immediately sprang back on his feet and attempted to cleave off the super-soldier’s legs only to see Cap roll backwards onto his feet and spring for what seemed like a jump kick.
Bradley jumped back, but it turned out that Cap’s jump kick was nothing but a ruse. The kick never landed as Cap seemed to fall just short of his target, but the face of his shield slammed into Bradley’s chest, knocking the Fuhrer back a few steps. Cap backed further into the alley and it was at this moment that Bradley saw Cap’s strategy.
Bradley’s swords were long, but the alleyway was far too narrow for his slashes to be work, barely wider than his arm span. If he tried to slash, his swords would drag or get caught in the walls. Vertical strikes and stabs seemed to be the only thing that would work for him in these conditions: both of which Cap would see coming from a mile away.
Cap, on the other hand, only had his shield. All he needed to do was hold it in front of him and move it where it was most needed and Bradley’s main method of attack would fail. Even if Bradley were to get behind him, Cap could turn around and attack or defend with ease.
Well, Bradley would have none of that. He charged the super-soldier, head-on, swords poised to slit Cap’s throat. Cap raised his shield, but Bradley’s objective was not to strike. It was to get some familiar turf. He had used Cap’s shield as a springboard, leaping off its flat surface to land on an open windowsill.
Cap looked up at his opponent, who in turn glowered back down at him, then sprinted down the alley until he came across a drainage pipe along the side of one house. He slipped off his shield, strapping it on his back, then leapt up as far as he could go before grabbing onto the pipe and clambering up the side of the building like a squirrel.
When Cap made it to the top of the building, Cap began to advance. “Began” was the right word because he had barely taken three steps when Bradley sprang at him. He had apparently traversed the inside of the building and emerged just out of the opposite window. Cap saw it right out of the corner of his eyes and only a flat-out drop on his back saved him from getting over two feet of steel lodged in his skull.
Bradley swung again and Cap flipped to his feet, but not completely unscathed. He had saved himself from losing his left arm, but wasn’t able to stop the blade from cutting across his shoulder, dyeing part of his costume red with blood. The next strike was met with Cap’s shield, the super-soldier barely fitting it on his right arm in time.
Bradley sped at Cap again, blades gleaming in the sun, and Cap jumped clean over the fuhrer’s head as he slashed again. Cap performed three tight flips, then removed the shield from his arm. He spun it like a discus before lobbing it at Bradley only to see him duck right under the whirling projectile and advance on him yet again.
Bradley thrust with his first sword and, just as he expected, Cap sidestepped and seized the old man’s wrist. Bradley was not about to let Cap twist his best weapon out of his grip and immediately swung with his other sword. Cap seized Bradley by the forearm, reaching just behind the deadly arc before it could come through.
Cap was unpleasantly surprised as Bradley pushed against him with strength comparable to his own. Of the two, Cap had the edge in physical strength due to the combination of the Super Soldier Serum pumping through his veins and his youth, being thirty-five years younger than his opponent. Bradley, on the other hand, was a seasoned war veteran, moving his whole body in a way to keep him even with his opponent. He knew where to apply force and where to relax so as not to give ground or give way to his opponent.
Put simply, they were both the best at their job.
The tussle was short lived when Cap brought his head smashing into Bradley’s visage. This confirmed Cap as a worthy challenge for Bradley: he was one of the few people who could land a good hit on him. It showed as blood began to trickle down the old man’s nose.
Anger rising, Bradley fought back, raising his knee to nail Cap right in the gut. Cap’s grip remained true, but when Bradley landed another knee in his gut, his grip came dangerously close to giving way. Yet, before Bradley could land another hit, Cap let go of the sword hand that almost impaled him and landed a solid uppercut to Bradley’s jaw.
Bradley was getting more and more irritated as he struggled to dislodge the persistent super-soldier. He was in too close for him to use his swords effectively. If he could put a little distance between the two of them, he would be done for.
Bradley raised his leg and, rather than knee Cap in the gut again, planted his heel into Cap’s ribs. With an almighty push, he managed to finally free himself of Cap’s grip and send him tumbling across the rooftop. He raised his sword for the kill, ready to end this here and now.
He heard the whistling sound of a spinning discus too little too late. Cap’s shield ricocheted off the back of his head, sending his vision spinning. As Bradley recuperated from the dizziness of the shield, Cap flipped back to his feet and jumped just as the shield was falling back down. With a swing of his arm, he slammed the front of his shield into the side of Bradley’s face, sending the fuhrer staggering sideways.
Bradley regained his senses, blood trickling from his nose and mouth, then turned to face Captain America again. He moved so fast that he almost seemed to fly and swung low at Cap’s legs, below his main area of defense.
Cap was now a bit nervous as he just barely stepped out of its arc. Bradley seemed to have seen past his shield and his main strategy. Bradley had stopped attacking Cap’s chest, arms, and head because the shield would get in his way and, instead, went for the one area where the shield would have difficulty reaching: his legs. That was a place vital for Cap’s fighting prowess and Bradley had just spotted it.
Cap changed tactics quickly and spied a nearby warehouse from the rooftop. After blocking another series of strikes from Bradley, Cap made a mad dash for the warehouse with Bradley in hot pursuit. The two hopped from building to building like gazelle until Cap made a mad dash to the warehouse. He spotted a window and jumped right at it, using his body to smash through the glass to get in.
Cap rolled on impact with the ground, then quickly turned and raised his shield. Bradley had taken the same strategy, following Cap straight out the window and attempting to cleave Cap down the center. However, by the time he had swung, Cap had turned before he had time to stop his strike. When the sturdy sword clashed against the indestructible shield, it snapped clean in two leaving Bradley with half a blade.
Bradley only had a split second to glance at his sword before Cap smashed the face of his shield into Bradley’s front, sending the Fuhrer tumbling across the ground, dropping his broken blade in the process. By the time Bradley had gotten back up, Cap followed up with kick that caught him full in the face and Bradley fell back even further.
Bradley staggered back to his feet and ducked so narrowly from Cap’s flying shield that he heard its whistle when it passed him. Once the danger was averted, Bradley charged Cap and swung high with his remaining blade. This was a moment when Cap didn’t have his shield: a vital time to strike.
Cap ducked to the side to avoid Bradley’s steel, but the wrathful homunculus quickly followed up with a slash that put a sizeable gash in the super soldier’s back. Cap howled in pain, but knew not to slow down against an opponent like this.
The airborne shield caught Cap's attention and he reached up and caught it. At the same time that Bradley charged, a glint from nearby caught his eye and he backflipped to avoid Bradley’s low swing. He picked up the object just as Bradley aimed to take his head off. He raised the picked up object and Bradley’s sword halted mere inches from Cap’s temple.
The thing that Cap had picked up was Bradley’s broken sword. It may have been only half its length, but it was still strong enough to deflect the fuhrer’s blade. With a push, Cap maneuvered Bradley’s sword away, then swung with his shield arm. Bradley stepped back to avoid it, then swung again only to meet the broken blade again. Cap attacked again with his shield, but Bradley ducked under, then brought a sharp punch into Cap’s face. Cap staggered back, but brought up his shield in time for Bradley’s oncoming sword to slide off its surface.
Cap backed away, his eyes scanning the warehouse for anything that could give him an advantage. He found one option: one that would not work twice, but if it worked, it would make all the difference.
Cap back-flipped away from the arc of Bradley’s next swing, then turned one into three tight flips before landing on the ground. He dropped the broken sword, removed his shield, then threw it like a discus. The shield flew in an arc that Bradley saw through in an instant and merely moved out of its trajectory, charging Cap like a bull.
Cap acted fast, picking up the broken sword just as Bradley swung, barely raising it to parry. Bradley swung again and again in a vicious barrage, Cap barely able to keep up. However, if his strategy was to work, he would have to act fast, and he did in every sense of the word.
Cap parried Bradley’s next swing, but used his free hand to grab him by the wrist. Before Bradley could retaliate, though, Cap had already let go of the broken sword and swapped hands so that his left hand held back Bradley’s sword while his right seized the homunculus’ shoulder.
Bradley had just summoned the urge to counterattack when a familiar whistling sound rang in his ears. Only then did he realize that he had fallen right into Cap’s trap.
Cap’s whirling shield spun right into the back of Bradley’s head. The fuhrer almost fell unconscious, his senses all a blur, and by the time he had regained them, Cap had released him to catch the shield. Cap then swung to slam the rim of the shield into Bradley’s face, delivering a savage blow to the fuhrer and actually putting him flat on his back. Bradley was still recovering from the last attack and Cap’s second only disoriented him further. His vision was having trouble returning and blood was leaking into his eyes.
Cap sprinted after him, taking his shield off and holding it in both hands. He hopped to land, knee-first, in Bradley’s midsection, then slammed the rim of his shield into Bradley’s neck. He felt the shield slam through the wrathful fuhrer’s neck muscles and spine as blood slowly started to pool around the gaping wound.
Steel: WOO! U-S-A! U-S-A!!!
Ray: It’s the closest battle to date with both being similar in terms of physicality, intelligence, and combat skill. The difference between them was miniscule, but Bradley has small, but exploitable weaknesses. The first is that he tires slowly, but notably, while Cap doesn’t seem to tire at all with his youth and energy. Add in the fact that Bradley kept swinging like a madman with those swords while Cap only had to move his shield arm and even Bradley would tire eventually.
Steel: That Ultimate Eye may have helped Bradley keep up with Cap, but does no good when that darn shield gets in the way. It blocks his views on Cap, covering at least half of the super-soldier’s body and allowing him to surprise the fuhrer, and is virtually indestructible, breaking at least one of his swords.
Ray: Those were notable Achilles’ heels, but Bradley’s biggest weakness is that he relies almost entirely on his swords and prefers them over other weapons. Cap is good with just about any weapon as he has proven time and time again. Combine less-exploitable weaknesses with a man who tires slower and is not above using just his shield, and Bradley suffered a slow, but crushing defeat.
Steel: “But Steel and Ray, Bradley DOES have a healing factor and can create air waves with his swords”-SHUT UP! We all know that series ain’t canon!
Ray: Yes, in the original anime series, Bradley had actual homunculus powers, but we use the Bradley from “Brotherhood” because that was the version from the canon manga, which Brotherhood ultimately stays true to. Despite what it did good, the 2003 anime twisted the original concepts to the point where people practically forgot about the source material.
Steel: Because Cap won, I’m contractually obligated to sing this…
Steel (to the tune of “America the Beautiful”):
Will show you no mercy
Awesome Captain America
Beheaded King Bradley!
Ray: The winner is Captain America.
Stronger and faster
Shield is a formidable weapon and defense
Younger and thus more stamina
Skilled and smart enough to match Bradley
Serum keeps his body going
Weapon use requires less energy
Comfortable in the use of any weapon
Older and more experienced
Ultimate eye allows him to match Cap move-for-move
Swords grant him slight range advantage
Tires slowly, but notably
A few exploitable Achilles’ heels
Wounds affect him more than other homunculi
Heavily prefers swords to other weapons