…huh…?

[ASSOCIATED PRESS] 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 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.

Read the whole, depressing thing.

Reaction:

Marvel’s statement: 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.

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.

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.

The Pulse — complete with Photoshopped commentary by D.J. Coffman

Newsarama — complete with a sneak peak from the inside of the comic.

Blogger Wes Comer: I just think it’s insanity when we start sniping icons like Captain America to make a point about political issues.

Blogger Dan: They’ve already spent months committing a slow murder of Captain America: they brought back his original sidekick from the forties (thought dead lo these many years) and turned him into a Cold War assassin. They gave him a black pseudo-sidekick. They went to great lengths to set him up as the leader of the anti-registration resistance during Civil War, only to have him beaten up by the Village People (a cop, a fireman, a paramedic, a crossing guard…I think there was an Indian there, too.) and surrender. And finally, after committing character assassination in every way possible, they commit murder.

Blogger Electronink: Man, if that’s not a damning indictment of the state of Marvel, I don’t know what is. It’s saying that their world is officially too nasty for someone like him, someone who’s been BUILT as a character misplaced in time, but doing the right thing anyway, no longer has a place in this universe. That there’s no more room for unmitigated goodness.

Sigh. At least there’s still Ultimate Cap.