A long time ago, Steve Rogers was taken by Eliza Sinclair. She promised the young man that his mother was fine. She just had a bump on the head and needed to… go away and rest for a while. The woman told Rogers that he was going to have to be strong in the days to come. He was going to a special place – a place where the young man would find his destiny. The days ahead would be dangerous and scary, but, if Rogers did everything Eliza told him too, she promised he would see his mother again. She introduced the boy to two men, Daniel Whitehall and Dr. Sebastian Fenhoff. They greeted the young man cordially, and invited him inside. There was much to discuss.
In the present, the Red Skull carries out a clandestine mission in Sokovia. As HYDRA moves to act, Rogers is busy at a party with superheroes, who are celebrating a recent victory over a rogue Celestial from another dimension. There, Steve learns of the boy, Ulysses. This news is upsetting to both he and Dr. Selvig. Already they have a loose end out there in the form of the still injured Jack Flag. Ulysses’ premonitions could easily expose Rogers and his plans.
So, Captain America reluctantly agreed with Selvig to kill the young Inhuman. However, when he infiltrates the city of Attilan, he was surprised to see Tony there, who manages to kidnap Ulysses. Seeing this, and unable to kill the young man, Rogers instead has a new idea – Ulysses seems to predict threats to the Inhuman’s own survival and global catastrophes. So, they just need to create a bigger threat to keep all the heroes busy. Thus, Rogers has a question – how much does Selvig know about gamma radiation?
Not long after this, Dr. Bruce Banner gets a letter with a USB card attached to it. This anonymous message said the drive contained information on a promising new cure for gamma radiation. And, well, what happened next was only natural. Death. Distrust. Rage. And war. War is in our blood. It is our weakness. It comes so easy, because hate… hate is natural.
Later, Rogers got a message from Carol Danvers, explaining how they arrested a woman named Alison Green, predicted to be directly responsible for a planned attack by HYDRA on the world’s financial institution. There’s only problem with this – HYDRA had no such plans. Rogers is able to confirm this with the Red Skull, who had an additional command which surprised Steve – he was to do no harm to Ulysses. Instead, the villain ordered Rogers to side with Carol Danvers, or, if her crusade seems doomed, Tony Stark, and, in the fallout of the all but certain upcoming war, capture Ulysses for HYDRA’s own nefarious purposes. The Inhuman’s unique powers could prove most useful, indeed…
In the past, Dr. Fenhoff was unhappy with the young Rogers joining their… program. He was small… diseased… weak. No better than typical gutter trash. Eliza insisted otherwise, and, after some… coercion, she was able to secure the young man a chance. But he would get no special treatment. The only way he could survive would have to be by his own merits…
Rogers has a plan. A way to bring peace and order to a broken world. This is a complicated, dangerous place we all live in. It loves chaos. So, why is he surprised to learn that the world has plans of its own?
So, holy crap guys! This comic was crazy! What an amazing issue! This is definitely the sort of tie-in content I was hoping for this series when it came to Civil War II and, unlike last issue, that’s absolutely what we got here. The revelations were all interesting and quite unexpected, too. We already knew Rogers played an instrumental part in this war coming to a head, but now? Now we see just how big of a role that really is. And my god, that whole Banner thing really surprised and delighted me. Cause these were the sorts of surprises I was hoping with the idea of a HYDRA supporting Captain America.
Wow. And to top things off, we get a lot of interesting knowledge and tidbits about what Rogers does and doesn’t know. This adds to the mystery of Ulysses and deepens the Civil War II story. All told, it kind of becomes a must read for the tie-in. I’m sure you could enjoy the Civil War II story without this issue, but you’re worse off not reading it. So, that’s great.
This series still isn’t perfect, not that it’s a huge deal. Nothings perfect, but this comic does have its problems. I still think writer Nick Spencer is trying to do a lot at once, perhaps too much. All those plot lines introduced last issue are still dangling around this thing, and in my opinion, are still dragging it down. These flashbacks don’t feel all that necessary, either. We already know these are false memories that inform the current Captain America and his unapologetic Hail HYDRAness, so I don’t see how this flashback is adding a lot, and, without badass content like Rogers’ mother being murdered right in front of him, it doesn’t add much to an otherwise stellar issue.
But these are small problems in an excellent read. Once again the art team does commendable work here and deserves giant heaps of praise for their design of facial expressions and use of colour. And this story really works for me. When the heroes find out about this… and I’m pretty sure they will find out about Cap sooner or later, at this point, it’s gonna be hard to forgive Rogers for all this. Yes, he was transformed by a sentient cosmic cube… but lines were crossed here that will not so easily be taken back. Can they ever forgive him for what he did to Banner? Should they?
I don’t know. There are no easy answers, I’m afraid. And so this comic gets a gold star in storytelling for adequately challenging the reader, which, looking back over these last five issues seems to fit the series as a whole. I like how this story keeps pushing boundaries. The controversy over all this feels validated when it does cool stuff like what happened here.