"Sam Wilson" & US Agent Clash as Spencer's "Captain America" Saga Escalates

Yes. We've always strived to keep the book topical, and very much rooted in the world and the country that we live in today. Obviously, this is a huge issue in the country right now, so this is a way to explore it. Again, what you're going to see over time is some other viewpoints reflected. It's not an entirely one-sided thing.

We've seen some panels and things that clearly show that the Americops are at times abusing their authority and at times using excessive force. Obviously, people are going to want to hold them accountable for that.

Refresh my memory about the original Americop from Mark Gruenwald's Cap run. I remember him as being almost sort of a goofy character --

[Laughs] We very much took some light inspiration from the original Americop. We'll make clear what the connection is as we're going forward, but yeah -- it's definitely not the original Americop.

The Americops' actions have offered you the chance to revive yet another character from the '90s, Rage. I take it he's a character you have some fondness for.

[Laughs] I'm out of control with this run! This is all straight out of the back issue bin. Rage was another a character I loved as a kid and have been looking for a good opportunity to bring in because I think that he, again, much like John, captures a voice that we don't hear a lot in comics. It was really fun to have these characters already there waiting to express these viewpoints, and it's perfectly logical and perfectly in character for them to be the voices of these sides.

First of all, Rage is in his name. He's not the happiest guy. He's definitely impulsive. He definitely feels like strong, direct, and extreme action needs to be taken. He's seeing an injustice and he wants to right it.

He's putting Sam in a difficult spot. Sam is trying to approach this a little more pragmatically. He's thinking about how it's going to be seen by most of the country. Sam's been down this road a lot with Captain America. He kind of knows the drill by now, whereas Rage is not nearly so patient. He's ready to put a stop to this -- now. Sam is very much caught in the crossfire, here.

Rage's origin is that he was teenager who was transformed into a super-strong adult. Does that effect how Sam views Rage at all? Does he seem any of himself as a teenager in Rage?

One thing that's important to point out is, Elvin is not quite that young anymore. He's been around for a while, so he is an adult at this point.

Sam has some affinity for Rage, and we'll touch on this in the story, but Sam is the much more experienced hero. He's been around a lot longer. He's seen a lot more. But it's not hard for him to remember what it was like when he was starting out as Captain America's partner. Back then, he was the guy pushing Cap to do more. He was kind of the voice of, "Let's take action." So, of course, when he hears those things come out of Rage's mouth, he hears a bit of himself. That's a fun place to put a character like Sam, who now has some added layers of responsibility and maybe can't move as swiftly and directly as some would like.

With all these different characters we've talked about, and the backdrop of "Civil War II," it feels like things are about to explode in these next few issues.

There will be a pretty major confrontation. Sam has got a tough road in front of him, and it's only going to get harder. It's kind of been that way from the start, but especially since "Standoff" and Steve came back, there's been a lot of questioning of Sam's relevance. That's only going to magnify. The volume on that is only going to go up.

These next few issues will be drawn by Daniel Acuña.

Yes! He's doing a really phenomenal job. I especially loved the sequence with U.S. Agent in Iraq last issue. We wanted that full "American Sniper" vibe, and Daniel did an amazing job capturing that. I really want to do that as a book now. [Laughs]

You can really tell he's got an affinity for the character. I liked how the costume brought in more of a military vibe. It was good stuff.

Loking a little further down the road, the recent teasers show us that the #GiveBacktheShield storyline will continue and escalate into #TakeBacktheShield.

Definitely. #GiveBacktheShield has been trending in the Marvel Universe for some time, and it's about to get more aggressive and become #TakeBacktheShield. That's bad news for Sam, and this "Civil War II" story is really where that takes shape.

We also know from the teaser for the "Steve Rogers" book that the Hydra story will continue. Will we start to see Sam and Steve's stories intersect a little more as we near the end of the year?

Near the end of the year? Definitely. Once we're past "Civil War II," it's natural to expect. These guys are still at least thought to be best friends, and they're going to be in each others orbits quite a bit. Another reunion is definitely coming up.

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