SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Captain America: Steve Rogers” #5, which is on sale now.
As “Civil War II” rages on, the tie-in issues of other Marvel series continue to hit the stands — and “Captain America: Steve Rogers” #5 is quite possibly the most all-encompassing one to date. The issue, which comes from writer Nick Spencer and artist Javier Pina, shows the events of the first five issues of the main event series from Rogers’ point of view — and reveals that he had a potentially major part to play in one of the event’s biggest moments.
The issue kicks off with another flashback scene to Steve Rogers’ reconstructed past, wherein he was kidnapped as a young boy by HYDRA operatives. Following that opening scene, “Steve Rogers” switches gears to the present day where we jump to Sokovia and a massive HYDRA military operation, already in progress. The mission and the heroes’ celebratory gathering from “Civil War II” #1 unfold simultaneously, with Pina’s art purposefully echoing “Civil War II” artist David Marquez. Note that this is an artistic tool repeated throughout the issue, so we’ve compiled side-by-side comparisons.
After Steve Rogers, who was staging a coup against the Red Skull, meets the precognitive Ulysses, his plans go down in flames. Faced with an Inhuman that could, at any moment, out him as a HYDRA agent means that Steve has to take serious action — and fast. He does, although we learn that Cap’s not the only Avenger that decided to pay Ulysses a visit.
Unable to confront Ulysses one-on-one, Rogers devises an idea — one with deadly ramifications. To distract Ulysses from having any visions about himself or his plan, he sets into motion the events that transpire in “Civil War II” #3. Rogers has his associate Erik Selvig send the reclusive Bruce Banner an anonymous letter and a USB drive purporting to contain information about a cure for gamma radiation.
As seen at the end of “Civil War II” #2 and in “Civil War II” #3, Banner’s newly emboldened pursuit of a cure triggered Ulysses and spurred the heroes to confront the scientist before he hulked out. That confrontation ended with Hawkeye taking Banner out before he could turn into the rampaging giant.
We then see the events of “Civil War II” #4 from Steve’s point of view, including the team’s angry meeting with Carol Danvers…
…and the arrest of Alison Green, a financial services manager that Ulysses falsely saw carrying out a HYDRA mission to cripple the world’s finances. This event also unfolded in the pages of “Ultimates” #10. Once Ulysses had a vision about HYDRA, his own organization, Steve had to alert the Red Skull to find out if there was any truth to this matter.
Red Skull advised Cap to stick by Carol Danvers’ side in an attempt to get closer to Ulysses and use him for HYDRA purposes. But another wrench was thrown into Steve Rogers’ plans, and it’s a wrench we saw get thrown last week in the pages of “Civil War II” #5: Ulysses has a vision of Cap’s death at the hands of Miles Morales.
While this issue doesn’t go past the events of “Civil War II” #5, it does reframe events we’ve already seen. Most importantly, it establishes that Rogers and Selvig played a part in Bruce Banner’s death, manipulating the probability that led to the deadly confrontation. What exactly the HYDRA agents sent Banner remains unrevealed, and we still don’t know how Rogers will continue to move forward with his plot to assassinate the Red Skull with Ulysses around.
“Captain America: Steve Rogers” #6 will arrive on October 26.
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