In the aftermath of Captain America’s faked death and his subsequent return—sans his Steve Rogers identity—in the last issue, the Sentinel of Liberty finds adjusting to life somewhat difficult. And that’s only until things get really wild on the final page!
As the issue opens, Steve “Don’t Call Me Steve Rogers” Rogers is wandering the streets of New York, rehearsing the justifications and implications for reclaiming a secret identity, starting with concern for his loved ones.
At the bottom of the same page and the top of the next, we transition into his existential crisis regarding his civilian identity, in which he wonders if Steve Rogers ever truly existed after Captain America was born, and where he belongs in the world.
Unbeknownst to him, however, his friends see him walking below, and it is the Black Panther who is most sure it is their former teammate, and the one who most sympathizes with his melancholy (as he himself is often torn between being an Avenger in America and a king in Wakanda, unsure where T’Challa fits).
It doesn’t take long for Cap to miss Sharon, so he seeks out his old pal Nick Fury, but is careful to keep his identity from even him (and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D.). (I wonder if his concern is really for Nick, Dum Dum, and the rest, or simply that his enemies can strike Sharon through them.)
As Nick cues up a videotaped message from Sharon, Cap catches up with Rick—whose presence with S.H.I.E.L.D. goes unexplained—and gives him welcome praise before his attention is drawn elsewhere.
As we and Cap learn, Sharon, in a fit of recklessness after seeing her lover “die,” decided to go after A.I.M. alone against orders to wait for back-up.
As we know (even if Cap won’t readily admit it), Sharon can more than take care of herself, as we see below.
Unfortunately, the Giant Stiletto is not a weapon designed by Manolo Blahnik, but only a huge robot with spikes for hands. (A.I.M. has no flare.) No sooner does it appear than someone else makes his red, white, and blue entrance,
(I meant Rick Jones, of course—who did you think I meant?)
After a thrilling battle between the three heroes and the Giant Stiletto, our two lovers finally reunite, and Cap chivalrously (but wrongly) tries to protect Sharon from a negative evaluation from her boss.
Cap had no right to interfere with Nick about S.H.I.E.L.D. business, of course, but the greater offense comes next…
Oh Cap. Obviously, he wants Sharon to give up her career for his feelings, without respecting her own, and she refused. ‘Nuff said (although this certainly won’t be the end of this conflict).
Once alone, Cap picks up where he left off before seeking out Nick, lamenting that he might put anyone close to him in danger and reiterating that he will be Steve Rogers no longer.
But he soon learns how difficult it is to live without a name or an identity outside of being a living legend. After being turned down by at least four hotels for lack of identification, he hits (as the exposition implies) “rock bottom.” (According to the Trivago guy, the average person visits over three million travel websites before selecting a hotel, so I think Cap could’ve looked a little longer.)
Unfortunately, this is Cap’s last bit of rumination for the time being, as he gets a surprise visitor—and it ain’t the pizza guy.
Well this can’t be good—as we’ll find out in the next post!
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Captain America #111-113 (March-May 1969)
NEXT ISSUE: Captain America #115-116 (July-August 1969)