Do not read this if you do not want this week's CA spoiled!

UPDATED 03/08/07 with new plot details.

Captain America #25

AP NEW YORK - 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.

It ends a long run for the stars-and-stripes-wearing character, created in 1941. Over the years, some 210 million copies of Captain America comic books, published by New York-based Marvel Entertainment Inc., have been sold in 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.

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 is developing a Captain America movie.

Per NEWSARAMA, this is Marvel's statement on CA#25:

"Captain America will continue to be published despite the very real death of Steve Rogers.

Next week, Civil War: The Confession features the final moments of his life.

Civil War The Confession

In April & May, Fallen Son: Death of Captain America will follow the Marvel Universe’s reaction to this tragedy.

Also in May, Captain America #26 is where the aftermath of his death must be faced, beginning with the autopsy of his body.

Captain America #26

Comments from Ms. Marvel in this week’s Civil War: The Initiative, which seemed to indicate that Captain America is still alive, and being held prisoner by the Pro-Registration forces may not have been exactly what they seemed on the surface, and events related to those comments will play out in upcoming issues of New Avengers.

So, yes, Captain America, Steve Rogers, is dead."

03/08/07: From The New York Times:

The registration act polarized the superhero community. Captain America (whose true identity was Steve Rogers) considered the legislation an erosion of civil liberties; Iron Man, on the other side, believed that training heroes as the military, firefighters or the police are trained would only benefit society. When the factions came to blows and caused more destruction, Captain America chose to fight his battle in court.

But in the current issue of his title, Captain America takes bullets in the shoulder and stomach while on the courthouse steps. The assassin is alleged to be Sharon Carter, an intelligence agent romantically involved with Captain America. She was apparently under the control of Dr. Faustus, a supervillain. “It seemed a little radical when it was first brought up,” said Dan Buckley, the president and publisher of Marvel Entertainment, about the hero’s death. “But sometimes stories just take you places.”

“We as publishers and as creative people knew where the ending was going to go for a long time,” he said. “We knew people might not like it, but I think we delivered a compelling story that made everyone think.”

He added: “The stories we have planned dealing with Cap’s death are really compelling too.”