SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Captain America: Steve Rogers" #4, which is in stores now.
After setting up the new status quo in the first three issues of "Captain America: Steve Rogers," the fourth issue in Nick Spencer's HYDRA Cap story advances a number of storylines significantly and drops major clues about what's coming up for the ongoing once the dust settles on "Civil War II." We know that Red Skull and Kobik, a Cosmic Cube given form as a young girl, have altered Steve Rogers' reality by rebooting memories of his childhood and life in HYDRA's image. This issue, which features art from Javier Pina and Miguel Sepulveda, also reveals more of exactly what's happened to Steve Rogers' memories and explores his... unique... relationship with the Red Skull.
Considering just how many reveals happened in this giant-sized 30-page issue, we're going to run through some of the chapter's biggest reveals bullet-point-style.
Hello Everett Ross - Following his big screen debut in "Captain America: Civil War" where he was played by Martin Freeman, "Black Panther" supporting character Everett Ross returns to comics after a seven year absence. This government agent will now be in charge of prosecuting Maria Hill at her upcoming tribunal following her shady actions in the "Standoff" event.
Mission: Kill Red Skull - This issue also establishes HYDRA Cap's big mission: kill the Red Skull. Rogers reveals his plan to his partner in revolution Erik Selvig, stating that in order to build HYDRA up to greatness once again, the organization must no longer be about solely one man. That means cutting off the head of the organization's unquestioned ruler, the Red Skull. This development also further establishes that Steve Rogers has not been brainwashed by the villain. "Brainwashing" implies that Steve Rogers has no free will and does the bidding of his master, the Red Skull. No, the Red Skull and Kobik didn't brainwash Steve Rogers and change his nature; they reshaped his memories and nurtured a HYDRA agent from a highly impressionable young age. This Steve Rogers still has his free will and autonomy, which is why his main goal right now is to kill the very villain responsible for his HYDRA rebirth -- a development that's most assuredly not part of the Red Skull's plan.
"Captain America: Steve Rogers" #5 arrives in stores on September 28.