Exclusive: Captain America Carries A Gun

Beloved comic book hero Captain America is back in action, armed and ready to fight for freedom in the 21st century.

The uniform is the same -- stars and stripes in tights. The shield is the same, too. But the man is different.

Bucky Barnes, Captain America's longtime sidekick has taken his mentor's mantle. What's more, Bucky is packing heat.

Captain America carried a gun when he was a WWII soldier fighting Nazis, but for decades he has appeared only using his shield.

It's rattling the world of comics with disgruntled fans arguing that superheroes shouldn't need guns in the first place.

ABC News correspondent John Berman decided to get to the bottom of the issue, and with the help of the artists at Marvel Comics, he asked the new Captain America a few questions.

Berman: Why do you need to carry a gun now and does it taint his legacy?

Captain: Actually, Steve Rogers carried plenty of guns in the war. He never enjoyed using a gun, or a flame-thrower, or a grenade, but he had no real aversion to them, either. As for why I carry a gun, it's because I'm not Steve, and I never will be... but I don't think he'd feel it was tainting his legacy

Berman: Does carrying a gun make you any less "super" of a super hero?

Captain: The weapons don't make or unmake the man, or the hero, they're simply tools. I don't have the enhanced strength and speed that Steve did, so using other weapons might give me an edge against multiple attackers.

Berman: What can a gun really do against super villain?

Captain: Well, who says my gun is only loaded with bullets?

For many, the switch from defense to offense is a metaphor of something much bigger: America's foreign policy after 9/11.

"The new character coming carrying a gun, it kind of reflects the changes and the issues we are facing as a society," Newarama.com senior editor Michael Doran says.

Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada says since Captain America is a patriotic symbol he means different things to different people.

"The difficulty of working with a character like Captain America is the fact that he wears the American flag, and so when you ask people about Captain America just like when you ask people about the flag, everyone looks at that flag and has a different interpretation," Quesada says.

Just because Captain America has a gun, don't expect him to turn into Rambo.

"Captain America would, like any solider or police officer, only use that firearm in a time of extreme need," Quesada explains.

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