Infinity Crusade is the final installment of Jim Starlin’s original “Infinity Trilogy,” once again taking place among the cosmic entities of the Marvel Universe, well above the head of “normal” heroes such as Captain America. Cap appears even less in this miniseries than the previous two, spending most of it under the thrall of the villain of the piece, the Goddess—and even then appearing very seldom (including one notable scene in a tie-in issue of Web of Spider-Man). Furthermore, he is definitely not “himself” during this period, so I show these panels simply to contrast them with the “real” Cap (as some of the fellow heroes do themselves).
In issue #1, we meet the Goddess, originally part of the “good” side of Warlock that was split off during Infinity Gauntlet, but who has since chosen to create peace in the universe using any means necessary. To this end, she chooses her foot soldiers from the heroes of the Marvel Universe, ostensibly focusing on those with a particularly moral, religious, or spiritual bent. Naturally, she picks Cap, an easy call if there ever was one.
She also chooses those who have suffered greatly in their lives, including the ever-reflective and self-questioning Matt Murdock…
…and anybody who has been married to Reed Richards.
“Finally, someone understands,” says Sue. “Also, can we talk about this dreadful outfit they’ve had me wearing since Fantastic Four #371?”
It’s also hilarious and predictable that Reed is totally clueless about any of this until he sees the Goddess’s portal open…
…but to be fair, no one could see the Goddess recruiting her various acolytes. (Sorry, Ben, he’s got an excuse this time. Now, about that helmet…)
(While we’re on the topic of the FF, Ben would seem like a more natural choice for the Goddess to choose, given that he’s the only canonically religious member of the group, although this had been little referenced by this point. But oh well…)
Having gathered her flock, the Goddess shows them their new home…
…which she has very subtly named.
Thankfully, Cap appears in none of the comics referenced above, nor in any meaningful sense in the main series again until issue #5, when we first see how Cap is different under the Goddess’s control, calling out the Beast as “sacrilegious.”
Again, this may seem strange, given Hank’s profession of faith, but the Vision tried to make sense of it back in issue #1, after announcing his theory of why certain heroes were taken:
Ouch! (Also, an “ouch” from me over the implicit conflation of morality and religiosity, which are obviously closely related but far from identical.)
Back to issue #5: After calling Iceman a blasphemer, Cap admits to fighting a holy war on the behalf of the Goddess, who hopes to cleanse all sin from the universe, even if it means destroying the entire universe to do it.
If there were any doubt left that Cap is not in his right mind, “die, infidel” is not a normal part of his repartee.
Bobby strikes back over the blasphemer comment, and Hank makes clear that Cap’s friends know who he really is.
We see a similar reaction from Spider-Man in Web of Spider-Man #106, the only Infinity Crusade tie-in with a significant Cap appearance: Here, Spidey admires Cap’s sense of presence and effect on others, before being shocked by the extraordinary lengths this Cap is willing to go to in win this “war.”
As with the other Infinity events, this one ends at a level far above Cap’s station, and when all is said and done, everything is back to normal and most are none the wiser, as we see in issue #6.
Doctor Strange notes that even if most people remember what they saw, they’ve chosen to forget it. (Like we’ve done with the 2015 Fantastic Four movie.)
In response to the Hulk’s snarky reply, Strange and Reed justify this reaction as a reasonable response to trauma. (Like we’ve done with 2013’s The Man of Steel.)
Collected in: Infinity Crusade, Vol. 1.
Collected in: Infinity Crusade, Vol. 2.
Web of Spider-Man (vol. 1) #106, November 1993, “Judgement Day”: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Alex Saviuk (pencils), Stephen Baskerville (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Steve Dutre (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected (with all of Infinity Crusade itself) in: Infinity Crusade Omnibus.