How Captain America #695 Puts Secret Empire In Its Rear-View Mirror


WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Captain America #695, by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, on sale now.

Things haven't been great for Steve Rogers lately. As part of the whole Secret Empire bag-of-cats, he -- as in, the real Steve Rogers -- hasn't actually been active in the real world for over a year, and he's returned to find himself thrust into the boots of his Hydra-aligned doppleganger, smack dab in the middle of the global fallout of Hydra's takeover.

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Or, well, theoretically, that's what happened. Captain America #695, Cap's first Marvel Legacy issue by the creative team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, seems eager to move on from the whole Secret Empire era. So...what, exactly, does that mean for Steve's status quo?

How Did We Get Here?

The end of Secret Empire was, for lack of a better word, vague. It left a newly-returned Steve Rogers facing off, publicly, against the Hydra Steve that had been puppeteering the Marvel Universe from the shadows for just over a full year in real time. The actual logistics of that return were mostly undefined -- Kobik, the sentient cosmic cube responsible for the mess, was reformed to set things right, but that only went as far as literally reassembling the heroic Steve Rogers (apparently constructing Cap from her memories of him prior to her original manipulations) and course-correcting the history she'd altered in Hydra's favor. The actual fallout of the takeover -- the death and destruction that followed in its wake -- was left standing and fresh in the world's mind.

So, entering into Marvel Legacy, Steve understandably has more than a couple loose ends to tie up.

To briefly recap: The Hydra-aligned Steve is still standing, locked away in in a supermax prison (albeit one with apparently at least one Hydra loyalist guard) and the whole world is acutely aware that there are actually two Steve's on the map. Kobik has been completely missing in action since her cosmic do-over, and Steve's teammates and friends are, by and large, in disarray. Rick Jones, Natasha Romanova and Jack Flag are dead, either literally at the hands of the alternate Steve or by his order. The public, with only the loosest possible sense of what actually happened, justifiably is feeling a little wary of everything to do with Cap right about now.

However, in our first look at post-Secret Empire Steve, a brief moment in Marvel: Legacy #1, we saw that he's apparently not in all that big a rush to confront any of these problems directly and instead has taken a step back from the action to "find himself" without the pressure of the world's eyes on him.

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