WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Captain America #701 by Mark Waid, Leonardo Romero, Adam Hughes and J.G. Jones, in stores now.
For three issues of Captain America, Steve Rogers was stuck in the future of the year 2025 after being once again frozen in a block of ice. There, he joined a group of freedom fighters to save the country from the rule of a madman.
After time-traveling back to the present, Cap managed to avert this dark future, but not even a full issue later, Captain America #701 has plunged readers deep into another future, albeit one far different from the last we just saw, and one that might actually be the MU's future rather than another alternate timeline.
The previous future was one of barren wastelands filled with survivors mutated by nuclear radiation, where the powerful reign over the weak. But this new future is all about prosperity. In the year 2314, humanity prospers and thrives, diseases are all but eradicated, and a message of peace flows throughout the galaxy. This is a future that was all made possible thanks to Steve Rogers and the super-soldier formula -- and also one that reveals a very interesting fate for the Time Stone, one of the six powerful cosmic Infinity Stones scattered throughout the universe.
The future-based segments of the issue are told from the point of view of Steve's grandson, Jack Rogers, who works for the US government as a national historian, a position held in very high esteem. Jack's job includes the use of something known as a "timelense," a monocle-style device that can allow the user to examine and chronicle the past. But what's most curious about these timelenses is that they are made out of fragments of the Time Stone.
Through his narration, Jack Rogers informs us that there aren't many timelenses out there, and the few that do exist were created by the government out of the pieces of the Infinity Stone. And while we don't get a clear answer as to what it is that cause the Time Stone to shatter, we do learn that it happened in an event called "Starkwar III." We have no idea what a Starkwar is, or why there were three of them, but it does sound rather ominous...
What's also interesting is that, in this past November's Thanos #13 by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, the Cosmic Ghost Rider -- a character that hails from millions of years into the future -- arrived in the present with a piece of the Time Stone, which was given to him by King Thanos. However, the storyline never revealed how the Time Stone was fractured -- only that King Thanos had a piece of it.
Could this somehow be related to the future of Captain America #701? Did King Thanos come into possession of a fragment of the Time Stone after the events of Starkwar III, while the US government used the remaining pieces to create timelenses? Whatever the answer is, we really want to learn all that we can about the third Starkwar. And the first two.
Is it too early to start calling for a Starkwar comic?