What’s the deal with Captain America’s utility belt? Think about it, how many times have you seen him use it? His belt has never been as iconic as Batman’s, but that’s probably because Cap’s shield is more effective than any caparang would be. But seriously, what’s with the pouches? Are they just for show? If you’ve ever wondered what’s in Cap’s utility belt, then Captain America #5 (written by J. Michael Straczynski and penciled by Lan Medina) will satisfy your curiosity.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Captain America #5!
So, what's in Captain America's utility belt?
Steve Rogers is currently dealing with a supernatural villain called the Emissary. Cap knows he’s out of his depth when it comes to magic stuff, so he enlists the help of Doctor Strange. Unfortunately, Strange was preoccupied with a crisis in another realm, so he couldn’t help in person. However, using his astral projection powers, Stephen was able to communicate to Cap through a Doctor Strange figurine.
(Captain America strategizing with a Doctor Strange doll is one of the wildest images I’ve seen in a Marvel Comic in some time. It looks like 2024 is off to a rocking start!)
Strange advises Cap to take the figurine with him, so he could continue to advise him on how to defeat the Emissary. Cap isn’t sure about this.
“I’m not going to go into a fight carrying a doll,” Cap says. “Then snap off my head. It’s the only part you’ll need to maintain contact,” Strange says. At this point I can’t help but wonder if this is the weirdest conversation Captain America and Doctor Strange ever had.
All this doll talk is good, but some of you might be wondering what this has to do with Captain America’s belt pouches, and we’re getting there. Cap takes the head off the Strange figurine and places it inside his pouch. “Always wondered what kind of equipment you carried in these,” Strange said. (Strange isn’t alone, as some Redditors have had the same question)
This is where we finally learn the contents of Cap’s utility belt. “Why is there a half-eaten granola bar in here,” Strange asks. I don’t know Strange, maybe some of us still care about nutrition. “Oh, good, a mint,” Strange observes seconds later.
There you have it, the contents of Captain America’s utility belt are a half-eaten granola bar, a mint, and the severed head of a Doctor Strange figurine. Honestly, this explains so much. Cap doesn’t need a mini-armory, so why not use the space for protein. Perhaps the snacks keep Cap from getting hangry, which could explain his upbeat attitude and undying sense of optimism. It might seem like something a soccer mom would do, but it’s always wise to have a supply of extra snacks handy. Maybe that’s been his secret weapon all along.
What else has Captain America put in his belt?
In some ways this revelation fits in with established continuity. A 1981 Hostess Fruit Pie ad has Cap defeating one of the Trapster’s goons by throwing a Hostess Fruit Pie at him. We don’t see where the pie came from, but it could have easily come from his utility belt.
Of course, Cap’s belt was smaller during this era, and far less pouchy. In fact, for most of Cap’s history his belt was simply a belt. Something to keep his pants up. Pouches didn’t become a regular fixture to Cap’s belt until The Ultimates #1 (2002). According to the Marvel Studios Visual Directory, the MCU version of Cap’s utility belt contains pouches for ammo. In Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #1 (2013), Cap pulls a smoke bomb out of one of his pouches.
Aside from those cases, there aren’t many examples of Cap using his utility belt. Even Marvel’s various handbooks are vague about its contents. It seems Cap is playing things close to the chest. Why? Simple, once everyone knows he has snacks in them, everyone will be asking him to share. If you think I’m exaggerating, tell your workplace that you have delicious snacks in your desk, and see how long it takes your coworkers to congregate around you.
Captain America keeps the contents of his utility belt a secret simply wants the snacks for himself. At least that’s my theory.