It’s Sam Wilson versus Steve Rogers, who will be the last Captain America standing!?

Two Captain Americas enter the ring, but only one will leave with the title and shield. On August 9, CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 written by Nick Spencer with art by Jesus Saiz, brings Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers face to face, but who will end up down for the count?

You can’t deny that both Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers are some bad mama jamas, but which of them is the badest of all? A harder question than you might think. Right off the bat you’d probably say Steve Rogers, after all the man is a science experiment gone horribly right, but that might be jumping the gun. Sam just might have some tricks up his sleeve.

In a straight up brawl, sure, the edge goes to the original Cap, a genetically engineered super solider with enhanced human capabilities like speed, strength, agility, durability, healing and even mental processing. That will be hard for Sam to compete with in an unarmed match, even if he can evade Steve he will eventually wear out. However, if Sam has use of his equipment it might be a different story.

Both highly trained fighters, Sam’s lack of notable superpowers might actually be what give him an edge. Since his first appearance in CAPTAIN AMERICA #117 Sam has learned to fight at the same caliber as Steve Rogers and other big time superheroes without any powers of his own aside from his telepathic link with birds. This means that like Black Widow and Hawkeye, Sam has had to use his intelligence to learn to use every part of a situation, every piece of equipment and every part of an environment to his advantage. So where Steve has raw power, Sam has ingenuity and battle strategy.

Not to mention that Sam spent quite a while working alongside Steve as Falcon. That means he’s even more tuned into Steve’s fighting style and tactics, making it easier for him to anticipate his moves and prepare a counter strike. Now yes, Steve was there too, but whether or not her truly paid attention to Sam’s fighting tactics will be what helps or hurts him. And while both of them have spent time as an Avengers team leader making them capable of taking in another’s strengths and getting them to fight together in the most effective way possible, Sam’s need to keep up with his fellow heroes when starting out at a disadvantage is what makes him such an effective strategist.

At the end of the day it will likely come down to whether or not Sam can outsmart Steve before he gets worn out, a monumental task considering we know Steve is no strategy slouch himself. But who knows if this fight will truly be a one on one showdown, with Steve repping those Hydra colors heroes everywhere may ban together to take down the man they once called not just a leader, but a friend.

Find out who will walk away the true protector of the red, white and blue in CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 written by Nick Spencer with art by Jesus Siaz, on August 9.

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Relive the romantic ups and downs of Sharon Carter and Steve Rogers!

Like any on-again off-again couple, Sharon Carter and Steve Rogers have experienced more than their fair share of exhilarating highs and crushing lows. With the Sentinel of Liberty-turned-leader of HYDRA poised to be embraced by the masses in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #19 on July 26, we turn our focus from that macro to the micro and look at the complicated history between these two lovers currently at odds.

Falling in Love with War Stories

Long before Steve ever met her, Sharon has “met” him through tales of her aunt, Peggy Carter’s thrilling exploits in World War II. Inevitably, the star-spangled hero would co-star from time to time as the elder Carter rallied freedom fighters in France during the war’s darkest days. Sharon found herself utterly taken by the stories, finding an idol in her aunt and perhaps developing a bit of a storybook crush on Steve

The Early Years

By the time Carter had grown up enough to follow in her aunt’s footsteps, joining S.H.I.E.L.D., Rogers had returned to the land of the living from his previous status as human iceberg. By this time, however, Carter had long left her crush in the rearview and their early encounters proved strictly business as they collaborated to take down the likes of A.I.M., Red Skull, and Batroc the Leaper.

Cap Is, Alas, A Man of His Time

Two attractive people, spending lots of time together, in intensely physical and dangerous jobs…perhaps becoming infatuated could not have been avoided. In any case, it did happen but things immediately became rocky because Rogers proved that even the most progressive of WWII vets have some biases that do not die easy. In this case, the problem came from Carter’s career choice: spy. While they never would have met if not for her job and his job being relatively equal if not even worse in danger level, Steve nonetheless wanted Sharon to step away from S.H.I.E.L.D., for her safety.

Death Becomes Her

Before Carter could properly carve into Rogers for gender biases, she seemed to die, on-camera, after being mind-controlled to commit an act of suicide bombing. In fact, it had been staged to put Sharon deep undercover. Unfortunately, that job seemingly went pear-shaped leading to her death so no one at S.H.I.E.L.D. ever bothered telling Steve that the first death, the one he witnessed, had not been real at all.

Not Really Dead!

Good news! Even that second death turned out to not be real! Bad news! Carter had been abandoned behind enemy lines.

Agent 13—Sharon’s codename—does not know the word quit though so she adapted. Turning to the life of a mercenary, she stayed strong, survived, and in time, flourished. Eventually, her skills put her face to face with Red Skull. In one of the most intense examples of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” Carter and Skull team-up to take on a Neo Nazi group obsessed with acquiring the Cosmic Cube. Knowing that Steve Rogers had repeatedly demonstrated no one stopped Nazis better than him, Skull swallowed his pride and gave Rogers a life-saving blood transfusion. The improbable trio then set about stopped the Kubecult and Carter and Rogers dispensed with Skull as well when he inevitably attempted to stab them in the back.

Partners Once More

Sharon being back, however, did not mean love immediately sprang anew. She had been changed by her years away and harbored lots of anger towards her former lover for never having tried to find her.

Instead, the two focused on their professional relationship with her aiding him to clear his name during a brief period of exile from the United States, teaming up to defeat Nightmare when he targeted some of the “most patriotic” Americans, and several other missions.

A Thaw Comes

Ironically, it would take The Winter Soldier to turn the relationship hot after months of cool professionalism. While tracking the man who had been Bucky, the duo finally allowed themselves to admit the strong feelings between them and re-engage in their romance.

My Lover, My Killer

Unfortunately, the relationship took a quick dive into tragedy. In the midst of the chaos of Civil War, an undercover Doctor Faustus got to Sharon and altered her perception of reality. All of this came to a head after Rogers turned himself in for his actions during the event. As he climbed the stairs to the courthouse, Cap caught a bullet in the shoulder from an unseen sniper. As the situation descended into anarchy, he took three more in the stomach, the end result of Carter’s programming by Faustus. Steve seemingly died due to his wounds on those steps.

A Resurrection and a Rest

As noted above, though, Carter has no quit in her. So she allowed herself to be caught by the likes of Norman Osborn and The Red Skull to help them bring Rogers back to life because they wished to control him. However, she sabotaged the villains at the last moment and Rogers overcame their influence. Now alive again, he embraced Sharon and they took some time off to just be people, not heroes, in love.

Not Even Dimensions Can Keep Us Apart

Of course, life never can be simple, so before long, fate interceded once again and sent Rogers to Dimension Z. There he raised a son while Carter refused to stop looking for him in the main Marvel Universe. In time, she found and rescued him, bringing him back to Earth, both aged by their experience, their bond reaffirmed.

Now

Sharon finds herself on the edge of a tremendous decision: Accept HYDRA and be with the man she loves or reject it and end up in jail or worse. Steve wants her by his side and it would be so easy. But can he really be the man she has cared about so deeply for so long?

Learn Sharon’s choice in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGER # 19, due out July 26 from Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz!

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Deciphering the dynamic between Cap and the Sub-Mariner over the years!

Captain America’s agenda to create a Hydra world order in Secret Empire has brought him into conflict with many former friends and allies—and in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 on June 21, it happens once again as Namor arrives.

As one of Rogers’ oldest allies, the Sub-Mariner has proven both friend and foe in the past, as the antihero and King of Atlantis always has his own agenda. Take a look back at the highs and lows of this friendship as you prepare to find out which side Namor will join during Secret Empire!

Golden Age origins

Captain America and Namor the Sub-Mariner both pre-date the modern Marvel Universe, debuting respectively in 1941 and 1939. MARVEL COMICS #1, published by Timely, featured the first public appearance of Namor, while the appropriately named CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 brought Steve Rogers into the world. The duo also appeared together as members of the All-Winners Squad, a short-lived team from the 1940s that served as a blueprint for another Marvel team that would come many years later in real time—but in the Marvel Universe debuted before them—the Invaders.

The Invaders

Subby and Cap served together during World War II as part of the Invaders, a team that also included the Original Human Torch, Bucky, Toro, and others. Together they helped the Allies fight the Nazis and superhuman villains like Master-Man and Baron Blood. After World War II, the members would go their separate ways, with Rogers believed dead, but actually frozen in an ice block. Namor later lost his memory. But the bond formed between the team proved strong; with many of the heroes still alive, revived or replaced by descendants in the modern era, the Invaders rose again on several occasions, most recently in 2010’s INVADERS NOW! limited series and the 2014 ALL-NEW INVADERS.

Modern revival

With the birth of the modern Marvel Universe in the 1960s, both Namor and Captain America returned to action. Namor’s memory returned thanks to some help from a different Human Torch, Johnny Storm, while Captain America’s escape from his icy prison came about thanks in part to the Sub-Mariner himself. When the King of Atlantis came across a group of Inuits worshiping a man frozen in ice, Namor—not knowing who he lifted over his head—ended up throwing Captain America into the ocean, leading to the ice thawing and the Avengers rescuing the WWII hero.

Captain America: Steve Rogers #18 cover by Elizabeth Torque

Avengers Assemble!

AVENGERS #262, published back in 1985, found the team confronting a down-in-the-dumps Namor. Hercules’ solution? Brawl! After the two fought, Captain America offered something besides fisticuffs: namely a place on the team. Namor officially became an Avenger, serving on and off for years, and even replacing their meeting table, which he broke, with one from Atlantis, out of respect for his friend, Steve Rogers.

Fallen Son

When Captain America apparently died in 2007, following the events of Civil War, the FALLEN SON series detailed the various reactions to his demise, by Wolverine, Hawkeye, and many others. After the funeral, Iron Man, The Wasp, and Hank Pym revealed that they took his body to the Arctic, to drop it into the sea once again. Namor showed up and told them, “… as long as I rule these oceans, Steve Rogers’ rest will go undisturbed.”

AvX

Rogers eventually got better, returning to life and the Avengers. Namor, meanwhile, billed as “Marvel’s First Mutant,” made it official and joined the X-Men. When the threat of the Phoenix returned, aiming for Earth and seemingly the mutant girl named Hope, the Avengers confronted the X-Men, leading to a battle between the two teams. The Phoenix ended up possessing five mutants, including the Sub-Mariner, who went on to wage war against Wakanda. Captain America led a team of Avengers against his friend, making him the first of the Five to fall.

Illuminati

For years Namor served with another team, the Illuminati, which included Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and other members working behind the scenes to keep the world safe and sometimes making hard decisions in doing so. Captain America eventually found out about it, and for a very brief time even worked with them. But when the group wanted to create a weapon to destroy an alternate Earth on a crash course with their own, Cap refused, and his friends turned on him, wiping him of his memory. Namor eventually formed the Cabal, a group dedicated to stopping these incursions by any means possible, while Cap would get his memory back…

What will Secret Empire mean for the duo? Find out in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 on June 21!

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Captain America’s history with the Invaders before they face off in Brave New World!

Betrayal always hits old friends hardest; so, after Steve Rogers revealed himself as Hydra’s supreme ruler in Secret Empire, you can bet that some of the most confused and angry people around number as Namor, the original Human Torch, and Toro, otherwise known as his compatriots in the Invaders.

A team of super powered individuals that battled Hitler and the Nazi forces during World War II, the Invaders come together again on June 7 in SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD with stories by Paul Allor and Brian Level. While Marvel’s original super team might be going through some tough times now, it seemed like a good idea to look back on brighter, happier days when they worked to put down strange madmen instead of familiar faces like Steve Rogers.


All Winners Squad

Captain America, Bucky, Human Torch, Toro, and Namor actually first came together in 1946’s ALL WINNERS COMICS #19 and again in #21—#20 doesn’t actually exist. Even with just the pair of appearances, the team-up clearly made enough of an impression to stick with creators and readers for decades to come.

Avengers (1963) #71

Avengers (1963) #71

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First Appearance

After some reprints in the 60s and 70s, people wanted to see more team-oriented WWII stories, especially writer Roy Thomas and artist Sal Buscema who brought Captain America, Human Torch, and Namor together in the pages of 1969’s AVENGERS #71. Thanks to a game between Kang and The Grandmaster, Black Panther, Vision, and Yellowjacket fought those brave heroes in 1941!

Giant Size Invaders (1975) #1

Giant Size Invaders (1975) #1

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Giant-Size Invaders

Six years later, Thomas returned to the team along with artist Frank Robbins to offer a look at the first meeting between the Invaders fab five. After each fought against the Nazi menace of Master Man, Winston Churchill appeared to ask if they’d continue working as a unit. They agreed, ending with a hearty battle cry of, “Look out Axis—here we come!”

Invaders (1975) #1

Invaders (1975) #1

  • Published: August 10, 1975
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: October 07, 2008
  • Penciler: Frank Robbins
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The Invaders

Later in 1975, Thomas continued the team’s adventures in an ongoing series that would run until 1979. Over the course of 41 regular issues, the Invaders met up with other familiar Golden Agers like Union Jack, Spitfire, Whizzer, and more. They even came up against a Thor who had been tricked by Adolf Hitler himself. For that adventure, be sure to check out issues #32 and #33!

Invaders (1993) #1

Invaders (1993) #1

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The Invaders Return

It would be almost 20 years until the Invaders starred in their own title again, but that day came in 1993 when Thomas once again shined the spotlight on Cap, Human Torch, Namor, Whizzer, and Miss America. The four issue limited series also brought characters like Blazing Skull and the original Vision back from limbo as they battled enemies both old and new.

Avengers/Invaders (2008) #1

Avengers/Invaders (2008) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Avengers/Invaders

In 2007, the main Invaders squad traveled to the then-present to help the Avengers stop a Cosmic Cube incident. Though everyone thought they’d succeeded, a WWII soldier came along, got his hands on the Cube and did his best to rewrite history. After fixing most of his mistakes, the teams set about to go their separate ways, but Bucky used the device to resurrect his best friend Toro, which led to a series called THE TORCH.

Captain America (2004) #43

Captain America (2004) #43

  • Published: October 22, 2008
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: June 17, 2009
  • Rating: T
  • Writer: Ed Brubaker
  • Penciller: Luke Ross
What is Marvel Unlimited?
The Man with No Face

Writer Ed Brubaker’s run on CAPTAIN AMERICA came jam packed with references to Steve’s long history, but issues #4348 really got into the dynamics of the Invaders. At that point, most thought Steve dead and Bucky filled in for him, which allowed Mr. Barnes to keep Jim Hammond’s body safe. Stumbling into something much bigger, Bucky turned to Namor for help as they uncovered some old enemies from the war.

All-New Invaders (2014) #1

All-New Invaders (2014) #1

  • Published: January 22, 2014
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 14, 2014
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Writer: James Robinson
  • Cover Artist: Mukesh Singh
What is Marvel Unlimited?
All-New Invaders

The last time the Invaders struck out on their own, the group consisted of Winter Soldier, Namor, Human Torch, Sam Wilson, and rookies like Golden Girl’s granddaughter Radiance and the new Iron Cross. James Robinson wrote all 15 issues of ALL-NEW INVADERS with Steve Pugh drawing most of them. In addition to exploring new takes on old dynamics, this book also pitted the team against alien invaders and ticked off Inhumans!

Watch the next step for the Invaders in SECRET EMPIRE: BRAND NEW WORLD #1 on June 7!

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The long hard road to betrayal for Steve Rogers’ closest confidante!

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

To say that Sharon Carter and Steve Rogers have had a complicated relationship is tantamount to the Marvel Universe being miffed that Captain America now serves Hydra. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966’s TALES OF SUSPENSE #75, Sharon gobsmacked Cap because of how much she looked like her great-aunt Peggy Carter, his World War II-era love.

The two had their ups and downs over the years until Carter, an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., seemingly died in CAPTAIN AMERICA #233 from 1979 in a battle between white supremacists, Harlem gangs, and the National Guard. She returned many years later in CAPTAIN AMERICA #444, helping The Red Skull save the Star-Spangled Avenger so they could team up to take out a Hitler-powered Cosmic Cube. Sharon revealed in issue #446 that S.H.I.E.L.D. used her apparent death as cover to send her into increasingly dangerous situations. The woman known as Agent 13 eventually lost contact with her handler and did whatever mercenary or wetwork jobs came her way to survive.

Sharon became a huge part of writer Ed Brubaker’s run on CAPTAIN AMERICA which launched in 2004. In addition to her relationship with Steve, Sharon also exhibited the spy skills that made her such an asset to S.H.I.E.L.D. Along the way, she found herself brainwashed by Dr. Faustus—who also controlled her just before her apparent death years before—into shooting Captain America after the events of Civil War.

With Cap out of the picture and Bucky taking over the shield, Sharon left S.H.I.E.L.D., but continued to fight the good fight alongside the new Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow. The trauma did not end there, though, as Sharon also lost her baby while fighting with Sin for her very life. After helping bring Steve back from being displaced in time as seen in CAPTAIN AMERICA REBORN, the pair continued to work together.

By the time writer Rick Remender launched his CAPTAIN AMERICA volume in 2012, Sharon and Steve still continued both their professional and romantic relationships, though both hit a snag when she sacrificed herself to keep Arnim Zola’s massive warship in Dimension Z as seen in issue #10. She reappeared in #23 as an older warrior, having spent years fighting Zola and raising her and Cap’s adopted son. Just before that, Steve had been transformed to his actual physical age, so the two took on more administrative roles in the super hero community.

That’s where they stood when Kobik de-aged Steve during the Standoff! event which lead directly into CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS and Secret Empire. The former series even saw Sharon work as a liaison between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the U.S. Security council to help push for new laws that would make it easier for the former organization to wage war on Hydra. Steve even suggested her for the job as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. when Maria Hill got ousted, but everyone agreed that he should get the gig. In other words, everyone played directly into his plans.

Sharon’s even one of the first people to realize that Steve now leads Hydra as seen in the pages of SECRET EMPIRE #0. She’s understandably bewildered when the green-suited minions stop and listen to the man they called Supreme Leader. The last we saw of Sharon in the issue, Steve ordered her to be placed on a transport and demanded her safety. He repeatedly said that he loved her, but that probably won’t stop one of the world’s most accomplished secret agents from trying to stop the man she loved and one of history’s greatest heroes.

The Empire Strikes Back

Secret Empire might be the latest story pitting Agent Carter against a huge secret organization like Hydra, but it’s far from the first. She’s encountered the evil group many times, including as part of Steve’s Secret Avengers squad. Set during the time after REBORN when Rogers returned, but Bucky Barnes still ran around as Captain America, the series found Carter and the former Cap working with the likes of Black Widow, Valkyrie, War Machine, Moon Knight, Beast, and Ant-Man. During that period, the team came into direct conflict with the Shadow Council, a subversive set-up that also had ties to Secret Empire as revealed in SECRET AVENGERS #21!

Sharon Carter might be stuck on a Hydra-controlled ship at this moment, but don’t expect her to stay there for long!

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Steve Rogers hasn’t always been a paragon of virtue—take a look back!

With CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #17 cutting just a little deeper into our hearts on May 24, we’re taking a trip down memory lane with some of the Star-Spangled Avenger’s less heroic moments. It will be hard to compare to the sheer cringeworthy-ness of Secret Empire, what with the general taking over the world because you’re a Hydra sleeper agent vibes, but we’ll try.

Civil War (2006) #1

Civil War (2006) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Let’s just say it first because you were all thinking it anyway: Civil War. Some of you may have been Team Cap and others Team Iron Man, but whatever your allegiance I think we can all admit that Cap maybe should have just swallowed his pride, sat down with Tony and worked that baggage out—or as the Internet likes to call it, #adulting—instead of passive aggressively forming a secret alliance to try and overthrow everyone at the expense of fellow heroes, civilians and a lot of what I can only imagine to be really expensive buildings and machinery. I’m sure construction companies made a killing afterward but that’s beside the point.

Captain America (1968) #165

Captain America (1968) #165

What is Marvel Unlimited?
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have CAPTAIN AMERICA #165 where we find out our handsome hero dating two women at the same time. Oh, and they’re related! The horror, the scandal, the indecency! It’s actually not as bad as it sounds; Peggy Carter gets amnesia and forgets that she and Cap broke up but he’s already dating her young great-niece Sharon. He doesn’t want to hurt Peggy, so when faced with having to break her heart he decided to date them both.

Captain America (1968) #372

Captain America (1968) #372

  • Published: July 10, 1990
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 29, 2013
  • Cover Artist: Ron Lim
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Somewhere in the middle of mass destruction and a sitcom plot, we have a 1990s arc, “Streets of Poison, running through CAPTAIN AMERICA #372378, where Captain America has a brief existential crisis regarding his use of the Super Soldier Serum, ending in him aiding the war on drugs. As his first strike, Steve blows up a facility making “ICE.” But the drugs fuse with his super soldier blood thus beginning the seven-issue bender of Steve Rogers where he beats up Daredevil, kisses Diamondback, calls a guy at a club a chicken—clucking sounds and all—and even—gasp!—eats Kingpin’s spaghetti! A truly masterful play that I’m sure is really a long con we just haven’t seen pay off yet.

How much worse can things get? Find out May 24 in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #17 written by Nick Spencer with art by Andres Guinaldo.

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How did the most beloved hero in the Marvel Universe become its most dangerous enemy?

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

Over a year ago, Captain America uttered two words that sent the comic-reading world into an uproar: “Hail Hydra.” Since then, this new version of an old hero has worked to secretly aid his beloved organization, especially in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS by Nick Spencer and regular artist Jesus Saiz.

This week, however, the Marvel Universe finally started understanding the truth with the publication of SECRET EMPIRE #0 by Spencer along with artists Daniel Acuna and Rod Reis. Captain America hasn’t just been working for Hydra this whole time, he’s been orchestrating a three-pronged attack on the entire planet in his efforts to tear down the existing framework of society and rebuild it from the ground up.

In addition to drawing an immense Chitauri army by capturing and holding a queen on Earth, Rogers also orchestrated the creation of an army of super villains to attack Manhattan and even got the U.S. government to completely sign over power to him. In other words, he has the world in his grasp and simply needs to squeeze.

But how did it all come to this? How did one of the greatest heroes ever created, a man who’s patriotism and leadership have inspired others since his creation in 1941, go so bad? Not to deflect blame from the perpetrator, but The Red Skull pulled all the strings.

As explained in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #2 by the Skull himself, Kobik actually came from the Cosmic Cube destroyed in a battle between the villain and Captain America, as seen way back in CAPTAIN AMERICA #448. After re-forming as a child, she sought out the man she had spent so much time with previously. With the entity in his grasp, the Skull indoctrinated her with stories about the greatness of Hydra.

So, what does all this have to do with Captain America? Well, when Maria Hill decided to use Kobik to create Pleasant Hill—a prison for super villains changed by the Cosmic Cube into supposedly peaceful individuals—she actually played into the Skull’s plans. After Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers—then transformed to his actual physical age—and other heroes found out about the prison, they demanded it be shut down. Following an attack by Crossbones in Pleasant Hill, Cap got his youth and power restored by Kobik who didn’t want anything bad to happen.

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

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Now, here’s where things get tricky. According to Red Skull, at this moment he had Kobik rewrite all of Steve’s memories, which explains the mostly black and white flashbacks seen throughout his solo book. Instead of dedicating himself to the individual-praising doctrines of the United States, Steve learned the true power of working together from Hydra. Instead of growing up in New York City until he entered into Project Rebirth, a woman named Elisa took him to a Hydra camp where he and other children trained to become agents. There he met Helmut Zemo and the two became lifelong friends.

In his mind, Steve took on the assignment to kill Dr. Erskine, the man who created the Super Soldier Serum. Instead, Helmut pulled the trigger, but Hydra arranged for Arnim Zola to take over and still give Steve the serum which produced Captain America. Rogers served during World War II for the Allies, but secretly still worked for Hydra. In that version of history, the Axis powers won, but the Allies developed a Cosmic Cube that would supposedly allow them to rewrite history. In the pages of SECRET EMPIRE #0, Kraken explained to Steve that he would enter into this new world and be something very different, but would eventually wake up when Kobik touched him.

Restored to his Hydra-loving ways, Steve started working with Red Skull, though also against him. It turned out that, to Captain America, Hydra represented a more pure idea and that the Skull had tarnished it by recruiting racists and making it all about himself. After much subterfuge, Cap killed Skull in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #15 and continued with his plans to move the proper Hydra to the forefront of humanity.

Now the question becomes, who can stop the world’s most experienced tactician? Well, hopefully the combined might of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes…

The Empire Strikes Back

Unfortunately, Secret Empire does not mark the first time that Captain America wound up working for The Red Skull. Co-creator Jack Kirby had the villain recount his own origin to a bound Sentinel of Liberty way back in TALES OF SUSPENSE #66. The tale gave a chemical enough time to work its way into Cap’s system and allow the bad guys to seemingly order him to attack the Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies in the following issue. Before the mission itself in issue #67, the Skull introduced Cap to Hitler and then sent him after his target. Bucky infiltrated the accompanying Nazi squad, but couldn’t fully shake Steve out of his stupor. Finally, in #68, it’s explained that Cap snapped out of the Skull’s control when he had the gun pointed at the General, causing him to return to his heroic state of mind.

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Thousands took to Disneyland for the third annual event!

Thousand of runners descended on Disneyland Resort this past weekend of the Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend, November 10-13. Races included the Captain America 5K, Doctor Strange 10K, Avengers Half Marathon and kids races. Plus, runners tackled the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge by finishing the 10K and the Half Marathon!

Runners had the opportunity to pose with Super Heroes—including Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Thor, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man—along the courses as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes urged them on. Additionally, cosplayers, military representatives, World War II re-enactor, local high school cheerleaders, bands, and more lined the path for encouragement.

Congratulations to all the participants in the Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. Check out the gallery above for some of our favorite moments!

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In CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #15 on November 16, the moment fans have waited for finally arrives: Demolition Man returns to the squared circle!

Before he became Captain America’s sidekick, Dennis Dunphy wrestled for UCWF—the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. And after many ups and downs as a super hero—ok, mostly downs—D-Man will lace up the boots once again.

To celebrate this monumental moment, we decided to play “fantasy wrestling” and pick out a few worthy allies to join Dennis in the ring as a tag team!

Bucky Character Detail Master

Bucky Character Detail Master

American Sidekicks

Picture it: D-Man faces off with an old foe, The Red Skull, for maybe the third time, but like every other match, the villain’s cronies interfere. As Crossbones brings a chair—or maybe a bazooka—to the ring to finish D-Man off, the music hits, the crowd goes wild and The Winter Solder hits the ring, clearing out the heels and forming a tag team with his fellow former sidekick!

Scourges of the Underworld

Scourges of the Underworld

Scourges of the Underworld

Speaking of former sidekicks, many characters have donned the mask of the “Scourge of the Underworld,” including D-Man and Jack Monroe, a.k.a. Nomad. But why should just one man wear the mask, when two men could and form a “bookend” tag team? The crowd, of course, would not know their identities, just that the two masked men always show up when least expected to unleash carnage on the villains.

The S.H.I.E.L.D.

The S.H.I.E.L.D.

The S.H.I.E.L.D.

In the tradition of great three-man teams, like the Fabulous Freebirds, Worldwide Underground, and the New Day, D-Man joins up with two other babyfaces: Phil Coulson and Nick Fury! Together they dominate the tag team ranks, as their triple threat proves too much for other teams. Fury serves as leader, Coulson works the mic, and D-Man pulls his weight as the “big man” of the group.

Revenge of the Revengers

Revenge of the Revengers

Revenge of the Revengers

For a brief time, Demolition Man joined up with Wonder Man’s Revengers, who wanted to hold the Avengers accountable for their actions and thus became antiheroes. Sounds like a great heel faction! In a classic “big guy/little guy” dynamic, Demolition Man could tag with Captain Ultra, one of his fellow members, to claim tag team gold—with lots of nWostyle outside interference.

Uneasy Allies

Uneasy Allies

Uneasy Allies

After several battles with his hated foe, Flag-Smasher, D-Man suddenly begins teaming with him. Maybe they found they have a common foe. Maybe management decided to make them team together after a classic “best of seven” series, so fans could watch them unravel. Whatever the case, they’d prove successful for a short time until they eventually turned on each other.

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Captain America encounters T'Challa's predecessor for the first time!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

CAPTAIN AMERICA/BLACK PANTHER: FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS by Reginald Hudlin and Denys Cowan featured the very first trip to Wakanda for Steve Rogers.

Set in the earliest days of Captain America’s existence—he’s still rocking the pendant shield which he only used in his very first appearance in CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1—the story also exhibited Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos’ first encounters with both the Star-Spangled Avenger and Azzari, the Black Panther.

Uncle Sam teamed Cap up with Fury and his boys to head into Wakanda so they could find out about Vibranium and also stop Red Skull and Baron von Strucker from doing the same. This, as you might imagine, leads to a skirmish between the American hero and the Wakandan champion, but they soon came to an armistice after recognizing the good in one another.

Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers (2010) #1

Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers (2010) #1

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Rogers, Fury, and the Howlers, especially Gabe Jones, enjoyed their time in Wakanda until the Skull sent Master Man, Warrior Woman and Tiger Man to wreak havoc while he hopped into a battle suit to do his part. With forces split on multiple fronts—including attacks on the Great Vibranium mound and Azzari’s wife and children, including T’Challa’s father T’Chaka—Wakanda took some hits, but ultimately banded together with their international allies to route the attack.

After witnessing his great bravery, the King of Wakanda offered Jones Wakandan citizenship. Gabe wanted to accept almost more than anything, except stopping the Nazis and then heading back to the U.S. and trying to make things better for African Americans at home.

During the battle with Red Skull, the armored villain destroyed Captain America’s first shield. He then used Azzari’s circular one for the rest of the adventure. Upon returning home, he asked the government to issue him a similar one, but with the familiar red and white color scheme!

Secrets of Wakanda 

Though FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS dives a lot deeper into the meeting between Captain America and the Black Panther during WWII, it’s not the first instance in which long-time readers have seen it. Christopher Priest and Norm Breyfogle showed something similar in BLACK PANTHER #30 from 2001, though instead of Azzari, that story featured T’Chaka in the role. Still, the basics remain the same: Cap headed to Wakanda to see about Vibranium and to see if the nation wanted to help with World War II. Hudlin also hinted at this larger story way back in BLACK PANTHER #1 in a two-page spread.

Next time, Black Panther takes on the Sons of the Serpent in AVENGERS #73-74 by Roy Thomas, Frank Giacoia and John Buscema.

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