This article contains spoilers for "Captain America: Steve Rogers" #1, on sale now.
With the launch of a new "Captain America" series focusing on the recently rejuvenated Steve Rogers, Marvel is -- for the first time -- publishing two concurrent series starring the Sentinel of Liberty. "Captain America: Steve Rogers" joins "Captain America: Sam Wilson," both written by Nick Spencer, on the stands. And the debut issue of "Steve Rogers," which features art from Jesus Saiz, includes one major reveal that puts not only the "Sam Wilson" book in a new context, but possibly reframes all of "Captain America" history as well.
The issue features numerous callbacks to Captain America's 75-year-long history. Sharon Carter is by his side as the director-in-waiting of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Maria Hill is in the process of being tried for war crimes following the events of the "Standoff" storyline). Rick Jones is serving out his sentence for his actions as the whistle-blower Whisperer by running tech and communications for Steve Rogers' field missions. Even two of Captain America's forgotten sidekicks from the '90s, Jack Flag and Free Spirit, are involved and serving as backup for the returned hero.
But the issue's end is where the major reveal takes place, and it potentially alters all of Captain America's history.
The team finally locates Baron Zemo, the former Hydra lead that's been on the run since the end of "Standoff." Cap tracks Zemo to Bagalia and intercepts the villain's plane, foiling his attempts to escape with his prisoner Erik Selvig. But during their mid-flight altercation, Jack Flag interrupts the skirmish and knocks Zemo out cold. Cap then repays Jack by shoving him out of the plane, seemingly to his death. He then turns to the bound and gagged Selvig and says...
Cap's sudden shift in allegiance is also set up in the issue via a flashback subplot set in 1926. We see young Steve Rogers' turbulent home life and witness his father abusing his mother. This abuse is stopped, suddenly, by the arrival of the mysterious Elisa Sinclair -- a woman that defends Sarah Rogers from her husband and then, later, invites her to join a community that might be beneficial to her. That community is Hydra.
Writer Nick Spencer spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the reveal, solidifying the fact that this is Steve Rogers. "[T]he one thing we can say unequivocally is: This is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve," said Spencer. "This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself."
For context, this is a Steve Rogers that was just returned to his youth by a Cosmic Cube -- a reality warping device that has, at times, been used for nefarious purposes. While this is definitely Steve Rogers, as Spencer says, it's still possible that this is a different Steve Rogers than we've seen before.
Regarding the other "Cap" book, Spencer added that this revelation is "going to have a profound impact on Sam's story and Sam's life. He's about to be put through the ringer in a way we rarely see with a character. He's going to be challenged in fundamental ways. Sam is a huge part of what we have planned."
"Captain America: Steve Rogers" #2 arrives in stores on June 29.