For all the fan-fare and outrage that catapulted the first Issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers into the global spotlight, nobody seems to have noticed or cared about the explanation that was delivered last week in Issue #2.
Could it be because the explanation is totally reasonable as I mused in Taking Issue with… Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 or has the comic news cycle moved on to Civil War II instead?
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging for answers because now that Captain America: Steve Rogers #2 has had a week or so on the shelves, it’s time for a *SPOILER WARNING* so I can get stuck right into it.
Issue #1 didn’t really have any spoilers, because the big moments were so out of nowhere and unexplained that it was hard to say what the plot was going to be. Issue #2 is the exact opposite.
An entire issue of exposition, narrated by the Red Skull as he explains everything up that has lead up to this point. The narration in this issue speaks as if directed to Steve Rogers in what is actually a pretty satisfying “I’m so smart, you lose” style Villain monologue, and while the actual context of the monologue is unclear it is instead accompanied by some great panel art that tells the story in flashbacks and cutaways.
I won’t go into details because it is well worth a read, but the main take-away is that Kobik, the little-girl/sentient Cosmic Cube that remade Steve Rogers from old man to virile Super-hero, is much fonder of Red Skull and his HYDRA propaganda than S.H.I.E.L.D know.
The important thing to know in terms of last issue’s outrage, is that Steve Rogers was HYDRA all along… but only because all his memories were remade in HYDRA’s favour when the Cosmic Cube gave him his powers back. Steve’s history as a Hitler-punching hero for people all around the world remains untarnished and Captain America: Steve Rogers gets to tell a new and more interesting chapter in the Red Skull/Captain America fight without rehashing old ground (a tough ask considering they’ve been fighting for 75 years worth of comics).
This issue was obviously very plot heavy and light on action, and there’s no sign of it tieing into the Civil War II event, but I don’t think either of those things are necessarily to the detriment of this issue or the series.