As the miniseries United States of Captain America comes to a finish, Steve Rogers finds himself saved by the new generation of heroes he inspired.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for United States of Captain America #5, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
While Steve Rogers may be the most iconic Captain America and the embodiment of the United States’ core values, sometimes those values place him in direct opposition to the federal government. This occasional clash of ideals and vision has led to periods of disillusionment and existential complication from Steve regarding the Captain America legacy. This has led to temporary stints of him leaving the superhero mantle behind completely. It’s with this approach to what the Sentinel of Liberty mantle means in the 21st century as one of the underlying themes in the comic book miniseries United States of Captain America, Steve has his faith in his star-spangled alter ego restored.
When United States of Captain America began, Steve was enjoying a quiet night home alone pondering his legacy, the course of the country, and how one informed the other. While remaining steadfast in his beliefs, the changes to the country and upheaval in political turmoil were not lost on Steve before his introspective contemplation was completely upended by his home being raided by the villainous Speed Demon. This resulted in Steve’s signature vibranium Captain America shield being stolen. As Steve’s cross-country odyssey to recover his shield and stop the forces pulling the strings behind Speed Demon reaches its climactic end in United States of Captain America #5 — by Christopher Cantwell, Dale Eaglesham, Matt Milla, and VC’s Joe Caramagna — the heroes’ victory restores Steve’s faith in his own mission and place in the country.
As Steve was joined by Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, and surprisingly, U.S. Agent, over the course of his adventure from sea to shining sea to stop a group of supervillain fascists from taking over the country, he encountered a whole new generation of heroes. Each was inspired by Captain America in their own way to become a makeshift superhero themselves, even without any discernible powers or indestructible buckler, and defend their own part of the country. And with the stakes higher than ever as the original Captain America enemy took on a new form as a decidedly different Hate-Monger, the previously introduced heroes all come together to give Steve some much-needed support.
Emerging triumphant from the showdown, Steve returns to Washington, D.C. where he privately tours the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute. In sharp contrast to the opening of United States of Captain America, Steve views his own history and public perception much more favorably and meaningful than he had given himself credit for. Having seen how his actions have directly inspired a whole generation of superheroes that each retain their own individuality while still doing good in the name of how they respectively see America. Steve realizes that his actions not only matter but will continue to defend the values that he believed had been largely discarded by the general public.
From enduring a Watergate-level scandal in the ’70s to resisting being co-opted by the American military-industrial complex in the ’80s, Steve Rogers has maintained his agency and idealism over the course of his lengthy superhero career, even when it put him against the heads of the government and military. While this has occasionally shaken his faith in his country’s leadership and its course, Steve’s beliefs and ideals are now embodied by an entirely new generation of Captains America, capturing the immense diversity of the country on virtually every conceivable aspect to help the Captain American mantle evolve while retaining its virtuous core.
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