In the finale of Marvel Comics Secret Empire event, Steve Rogers (aka the original Captain America) saved his country from the forces of Hydra by punching the terrorist group’s fascist leader in the face.
Unfortunately for Rogers, the face he was punching was his own, thanks to the fact that the reality altering powers of the Cosmic Cube created a world with both the original heroic Steve Rogers, and a villainous doppelgänger who had ruled the U.S. And Hydra with an iron fist for several months. Now, the original Captain America is back fighting for a country that’s not sure quite what to make of him, which means it’s time for Steve Rogers to hit the road and reconnect with the country he loves.
It all begins this November when the acclaimed creative team of writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee take over Captain America with issue #695, the kickoff to a new Marvel Legacy arc titled “Home of the Brave.” CBR spoke with Waid about Cap’s cross country journey, the all-new incarnation of a classic Marvel he’ll initially run afoul of, and setting the stage for 2018’s milestone issue Captain America #700.
CBR: You’re returning to Captain America in the aftermath of one of the biggest event’s in the character’s history. So let’s start by talking about your approach to Cap. Will it be similar to how you handled Daredevil at the start of your run on that character; in that you didn't deny the impact of the big events that happened before, but your focus was on moving forward? Is that a fair description of what you're trying to do here?
Mark Waid: That's a very fair description. We certainly make nods to Secret Empire in our first few issues -- we're not in any way trying to disavow a seminal Marvel event -- but our fans have made it clear that what they want is Classic Steve Rogers back. That means drilling down and figuring out what Captain America means late in the second decade of the 2000s.
I understand one of the ways you're moving things forward is by having Steve embark on a cross country journey to sort of rediscover the country he loves and represents. What can you tell us about his mindset when you pick up with him in Captain America #695?
He's on two missions: One, to get back to the American heartland, and two... well, we can't talk about that one yet. But his mindset is, "I claim to represent all America, but I spent 95% of my time in New York. Maybe we can fix that."
What does Steve's cross country journey mean for the types of stories and characters we'll initially see in Captain America?
Honestly? Smaller stories in the first couple of issues that culminate into a big epic three-parter. One thing I want to make abundantly clear: Chris and I have been working on these issues since March, way ahead of time, way before some of the more volatile political events of the summer, so don't expect to see him punching Nazis on page one. It may be an issue or two before we get to that, but that doesn't mean we're not attempting to reflect the real world. We're just ahead of the curve.
One character Steve will cross paths with early on in his journey is a new version of the Swordsman. What can you tell us about this character and their motivations? How dangerous are they?
Dangerous enough to doom a whole town if Steve Rogers doesn't admit to being Captain America and stepping up for a shield-vs-sword battle the likes of which you've never seen.
I imagine part of the fun of coming back to Captain America is seeing that battle brought to life by your friend and long time collaborator, Chris Samnee, who has also worked on Cap a number of times and seems to have a great affinity for him. What's it like collaborating with Chris on this new era of Steve's adventures?
It's the reason I'm here. Very few writers are lucky enough to get four bites at the same apple (counting Man Out Of Time), and without Chris, I'd be too afraid of being compared to all my earlier work on the book. Chris is my safety net!
Finally, in 2018 you and Chris will hit the big milestone issue of Captain America #700. Can you talk at all yet about the scope and scale of that story? Are these initial issues setting the stage for what you have planned for issue #700?
There are clues in the first issue, but we're not ready to reveal anything yet except to say that I asked myself the question I always ask myself when I take over a character: what's the absolute worst thing that could happen to him or her?
Captain America #695, by Mark Waid, Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson, arrives in stores Wednesday, Nov. 1.