writer: Rick Remender/ artist: Stuart Immonen / Marvel Comics
Marvel’s All-New Captain America has always made sense. But now that we know what Marvel has in mind for the future of the universe, post-Secret Wars, it makes even more sense. By the looks of things, when all of the dust settles after Secret Wars, we’ll have a new main cast of Avengers. One that I admit I may be partial to given that it’ll feature two of my favorite characters, Miles Morales and Sam Wilson as Captain America. With this being the case, I finally get it. The All-New Captain America run was all about getting us used to seeing Sam Wilson in the red, white, and blue.
Issues 1-6 of All-New Captain America did all they needed for Sam Wilson to be taken seriously as Captain America. We got to know the character more intimately than we would most. We saw his weakest moments, which prepared him for his strongest. We saw how he handled everything he cared about being put in danger. We saw him sacrifice his chance of a happy future to save that of the world. If someone out there still isn’t a fan of Sam Wilson as Captain America after reading this series, there’s probably a deeper issue at work there.
After biting Redwing at the end of issue #5, Baron Blood is trying to make his escape high enough in the atmosphere where he can detonate his explosive waist belt and contaminate the entire planet with his blood. If successful, this would make everyone on the planet, besides select members of Hydra, completely sterile and incapable of reproduction. Cap has a dilemma. He has to stop Blood, obviously, but can’t risk letting himself get contaminated in the process. Especially with all of the recent hints we’ve gotten that he wants to raise a family.
Meanwhile, back in the Florida Everglades, Nomad does his best to give Captain America time to save the day by stalling Baron Zemo from detonating the bomb, while also fighting Batroc. After handling the French leaper, Nomad turns his attention to Zemo. Proving that he doesn’t have identical values to his father, Steve Rogers, Nomad catches Zemo off guard and sends a sword shooting through his chest. Just then, he notices a countdown on their ship seconds before the entire thing explodes, presumably leaving both dead.
While fighting Baron Blood, Sam is forced to get too close and makes direct contact with the tainted blood when the giant vampire spits in his face. Not only is that disrespectful, but it just ruined Sam Wilson’s chance of ever having kids, which is something he’s wanted for quite a while. But after realizing that he’s now the person everyone looks to to fight the battles they can’t, Sam takes it on the chin and knocks Blood out cold, leaving him floating in the atmosphere for S.H.I.E.L.D. to pick up later as the belt explodes in the distance.
After plummeting to the ocean, unable to fight the force of re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, Sam crashes in the ocean to be saved by Misty Knight, a super agent claiming to be working undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D. Once they make it safely aboard a plane, they celebrate their latest victory against Hydra, with a red-eyed Redwing (vampire-falcon? Called it!). Reality finally starts to his Sam as he comes to the realization that Baron Blood’s dirty trick has now made him incapable of ever having children. Misty Knight then reveals that she’d found a supposed antidote to the sterilization and injects Sam in exchange for a kiss, which makes him blush. For those of us who were shipping Sam and Misty, this is a moment of celebration.
Quickly followed by one of confusion and betrayal. After making his way back to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Sam is told that Misty Knight wasn’t working for them after all, and Lucas, the boy whose blood almost sterilized the entire planet, is nowhere to be found. The issue ends with the words “HYDRA ASCENDANT.”
I have to say, this run of All-New Captain America is something I intend on passing down to my children one day. Not only because it’s a story about a Black man representing the greatest American hero in comic history, but because it was done so well.
The flashbacks revealed even more about the character than his exceptionally well-written internal monologues. Nothing was held back here. We’ve seen Sam Wilson’s most revealing vulnerabilities and we’re sure to appreciate his moments of strength that much more for it going forward.
When the paperback of this series comes out, I’ll be waiting to get my copy.