Mark Waid is taking Captain America cross country, and I honestly couldn’t be more thrilled by that thought.
Following the events of Marvel’s most recent… event, Secret Empire (because if it isn’t a War, with Marvel, it’s a Secret), Steve Rogers came back in full form. For a quick refresher, Secret Empire saw a world where Captain America turned out to be a secret Hydra agent for years, only for it to be revealed that this was actually not entirely true. It was the doing of the living Cosmic Cube, Kobik, who’d altered Steve’s memories. Eventually, the real deal came back and literally punched himself in the jaw, Captain America Comics #1 style.
Still, the world saw a Steve Rogers that ruled America with an iron fist as a fascist dictator for months. Naturally, the world’s going to be more than a little weary of the Star Spangled Avenger, now that it’s all over. Mark Waid saw this as an opportunity to have Cap do some soul searching by rediscovering the American values he embodies. This, of course, is a terrific idea for the character. Despite being Captain America, Steve seldom ventured out of Manhattan for anything other than official Avengers business. Seeing him operate in other areas of the country that need a hero opens up possibilities for stories that really haven’t been told with him before. I don’t know if you know this, but America is a very multifaceted country. The values of one state, heck, one county, could differ drastically from those of the next. But Captain America represents the best of this country. And traveling to get back into touch with that is an excellent idea.
Furthermore, it seems like a very natural progression for the character. Captain America has always been the moral backbone of the Marvel Universe. The only character with a debatable case to even come close is Spider-Man. And we all know Peter Parker has mastered Expert Mode in screwing up. But over the past decade or more, Steve’s been through the ringer with this country, as it consistently grows more and more divided. Not to mention all the forces that seem intent on dividing the superhero community. Remember when the big events were about the heroes teaming up to fight villains? The point is that doing this will hopefully take things back to the core of the character and help him rediscover exactly why the Marvel Universe really needs him, and what his role in everything really is.
Captain America has always been my favorite superhero. He’s the Superman of the Marvel Universe. But unlike DC, which is literally filled with paragons, Marvel has very few. Thus Captain American seems all the more special for it. That said, Captain America doesn’t have all the power that most of those characters do, which makes the story that much more human. And his lacking the freedom to get around as easily as his DC counterpart makes this an even better idea, in the long run. What will other characters do in his absence? What will he discover on his travels?
Waid has stated that he has no intention of sweeping the events of Secret Empire under the rug. And I wouldn’t want him to. That event was exceptionally flawed, and I didn’t like it but erasing it is the easy way out. These are problems one fixes by attacking them, not undoing them (take notes, One More Day). Yet his goal isn’t to focus on the ramifications of it. His goal is to move forward, which is something I appreciate. Too often as comic fans do we get so hung up on continuity, that we stop progressing.
It was also mentioned that Waid and Samnee have been working on this for months, well ahead of times. So many of the political and sociopolitical issues that have popped up in the real world since their beginning won’t make it into the first few issues. But it is coming. And that’s always good to hear. Not only has much of Marvel’s legacy come from its willingness to depict real-world issues in its stories, but Captain America is easily one of the best characters to tackle a lot of the problems of this kind. Especially given these past few months, a hero like Steve Rogers is sorely needed. And witnessing all that’s been going on should certainly help generate some great stories for the character.
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s take over of Captain America will hit the milestone issue #700. They start with #695 in the Marvel Legacy arc Home of the Brave, on November 1.