Captain America's latest foe is deadlier than the Red Skull: suicide.
The character armed with his trademark shield faces off against suicide in a new story that publisher Marvel Entertainment released Wednesday for free through its website and app.
The toll-free hotline for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is featured in the work, too.
John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a network of crisis centers across the country, told The Associated Press that Marvel approached the organization about using its logo in the book "which we happily granted them."
The 11-page story "Captain America: A Little Help" is written by psychologist Tim Ursiny and illustrated by Nick Dragotta.
In it, a despondent youth is poised to jump off a building when he spies Captain America facing a bevy of villains on a nearby roof. The fracas keeps him from going over the edge, literally and figuratively.
There is no dialogue, save for the end, which ends with the boy saving both the hero and, in the process, himself.
"Super heroes fight a lot of battles, but there are few more important than combating suicide," said Tom Brevoort, Marvel Entertainment's senior vice president of publishing.
"That's why we're making 'Captain America: A Little Help' available for free via our digital comics outlets," he said in a statement. "If even one person calls this number instead of doing something very tragic, we know that means we succeeded."
Besides being available for free digitally, the story is featured in the fifth and final issue of the "I Am An Avenger" limited series, which was also released Wednesday.
Draper said that while a comic book is a non-traditional platform to provide information about preventing suicide, it is "arguably an effective one.
"We are certainly confident that it's going to promote awareness," he said. "The more awareness that's promoted around suicide prevention, the better."
The comic: http://tinyurl.com/6dgtckw
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/