WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Old Man Hawkeye #10 by Ethan Sacks, Marco Checchetto, Andres Mossa and VC’s Joe Caramagna, in stores now.
Old Man Hawkeye is a precursor to Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's 2009 opus Old Man Logan, which painted a very dystopian Marvel Universe. While we know what happened to Wolverine, this prequel focuses on Hawkeye's antics in the years before, which eventually leads to him seeking out help from Logan in his mission to safeguard a rather special briefcase.
But as the series sheds light on what Clint Barton did before that buddy-cop adventure, we've been watching him run afoul of Baron Zemo and Red Skull's marshal, Bullseye. With a final showdown looming against both of the title's main villains, Issue #10 throws fans a curveball when it unveils a character that seems to be Old Man Captain America -- maybe.
As Hawkeye goes after Moonstone to finish up his revenge against the traitorous Thunderbolts, he and Kate Bishop are trying to avoid Bullseye, who wants Clint as a trophy. As the hunt continues, the finale shows one of Zemo's scientists at a Weapon X facility, revealing the aforementioned briefcase and its contents as they've successfully duplicated the serum which turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. The final page displays a blonde man with murdered scientists around him, teasing a violent and bloodthirsty Cap.
Of course, this version looks young, as if he's in his prime. Even though one might assume Cap would be older, we must first consider Steve doesn't age like his fellow Avengers. Also, in this universe, the Captain America whom Red Skull killed en route to becoming president was Bucky Barnes, not Steve. Of course, at the time, Steve was "dead" and traveling through time in the mainstream Marvel-616, so that's most likely why Millar and McNiven used Bucky in their tale. In Old Man Logan, we did see the villain with Steve's mask and shield, which meant the original Cap was missing, but we don't know if he was killed, abducted or floating through time in this universe as well.
Whatever the case, Zemo appears to have had him in his possession, which likely reveals how Skull got all of Cap's belongings. There are a few questions, though. Is this the real Steve or a clone? He's in a scientific facility, after all. Also, is he evil, similar to the Secret Empire version of the character? Or is he simply trying to escape? Either way, it stands to reason that this, at least physically, is the real Steve, as the original specimen would give Zemo the best chance of replicating the formula. Zemo has already used this base to keep the Winter Soldier on ice (although, Bullseye would later kill him), so he has been hiding secret weapons here all along.
One theory is that Zemo was experimenting on Cap for Red Skull, while he built a villainous society with the likes of Magneto, as seen in Millar's story. The catch is, however, it doesn't look like Zemo will be letting anyone know what he's unlocked here, probably planning to keep this discovery for his own nefarious purposes.
It's worth noting Old Man Logan focused on Hawkeye bringing this briefcase we're seeing here to Skull, only for the transaction to turn out to be an ambush that killed him. There, Red Skull's men said the case was all a setup to lure Hawkeye in, but here, we're seeing the vials actually contained the real formula.
The remaining question is, how does the archer get the briefcase with the premier super-soldier inside the building in berserker mode? Zemo's soldiers aside, wouldn't it be a dark twist if Hawkeye was the one who had to murder a brainwashed Old Man Cap to get it?
Given how twisted this universe is, we can't put it past him, especially as we know he'd go on to use the briefcase as a bargaining chip to ensure his family's survival -- ergo why he hired Wolverine for that famous road trip in Old Man Logan.