2. James “Bucky” Barnes as Captain America
Like the top man on this list, the former Bucky didn’t ask to be Captain America, but he also didn’t shirk the responsibility when it found him. The “Steve would have wanted it this way” thing may have been a bit much, but it worked.
Writer Ed Brubaker really deserves the lion’s share of credit for Barnes’ high placement on this list. First he managed to make the Captain America book a good read without Captain America actually in it, then he followed up by giving Barnes a chance to earn the right to go by that name. Most of all, Brubaker kept it going longer than most readers would have imagined.
During his substitute stint, Barnes managed to foil the Red Skull’s plan multiple times. He joined the Avengers and served with them through multiple “events.” He even survived being put on trial for the very big skeletons in his closet, meaning the bad things he was brainwashed into doing as the Winter Soldier. Plus he got close to Black Widow, which is a nice bonus.
Also, despite mixed feelings on the “Bucky Cap” uniform, I’d argue that it looked better than what Rogers is sporting right now. Bucky did Captain America his way, and he didn’t disappoint.