SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Captain America: Sam Wilson" #14, on sale now.
As revealed in the "Captain America: Sam Wilson" #13, Steve Rogers is orchestrating a number of events all designed to take down Sam Wilson while keeping Rogers' reputation clean. And just in case you haven't heard yet, Steve Rogers is now an agent of HYDRA, and it's because his origin has been rewritten by a Cosmic Cube. Taking down Sam Wilson is exactly what Steve Rogers wants to do in order to break American democracy and make it vulnerable to HYDRA.
"Captain America: Sam Wilson" #14 by Nick Spencer and Paul Renaud sets up another trap executed by Steve Rogers on his dark quest. The issue starts with what appears to be a hostage situation. The classic '80s Cap villain Flag-Smasher re-emerges and takes a U.S. senator hostage. And not just any senator; Tom Herald of Texas that's been an outspoken critic of Sam Wilson from the series' start. Steve Rogers arrives on the scene to help Sam Wilson out with the hostage crisis.
Once inside, Flag-Smasher regales the Captains America with his master plan; he's chosen Herald as his target because he's "just another lying, pandering politician making himself powerful by fostering intolerance." Flag-Smasher's goal is to hack into a number of government agencies and flood the internet with their secrets. As a symbolic gesture, each of the seven hacks are connected to a very real bomb -- with the last one being on Herald himself.
With his plan underway, Sam and Steve fight their way through the Smasher's goons, dodging bombs along the way, while their hacker friend Rick Jones tries to shut down the cyber attack. Just before the final bomb blows Herald away, Jones stops its corresponding hack, stopping the countdown. But that doesn't stop Flag-Smasher from pulling out a more "old-fashioned" weapon -- a gun. Captain America tries to stop him with his shield...
...and misses. But, as mentioned earlier in this article, this was all part of Steve Rogers' master plan. Back at his secret HYDRA base with his partner in crime Erik Selvig, Rogers runs through what he accomplished that night. In addition to using an LMD copy of Flag-Smasher to tie up a loose end (Herald), he used the following brawl to subtly push Sam into a corner of the room from where any successful shield throw would be mathematically impossible.
Now tied to the death of U.S. senator, the controversial Sam Wilson will face an even greater challenge with the American public -- just as Steve Rogers wants. Captain America's greatest enemy is shaping up to be Captain America.
"Captain America: Sam Wilson" #15 arrives in stores on November 16.