[Editor’s Note: Spoilers Ahead for Issue #3 of Captain America: Steve Rogers!]
When we last saw Captain America, we found out that Kobik – a sentient little girl created from shards of a cosmic cube – brainwashed Steve Rogers into thinking he was a faithful follower of her childlike, idyllic Hydra. However, what is interesting are the words that begin this particular issue of the run:
“Doing what has to be done is rarely easy. The people who make real change in this world are the ones willing to sacrifice – the ones willing to do the things no one else will.”
What does that mean? What is it that Steve needs to do that no one else will?
The issue begins with a flashback to 1926 in this perfect Hydra, when we find out that Joseph Rogers is physically abusive to his family, and that Sarah Rogers joined this Hydra in order to find a way to escape him and his cruelty. However, it quickly reverts back to present day when Steve goes to report in to Red Skull. There, we see Steve verifying that he killed Baron Zemo in a quinjet crash – that also “killed” Dr. Erik Selvig – and the two speak of complications with kicking Jack Flagg out of the plane, and the subsequent rescue SHIELD initiated to get him out of the line of fire from dozens of Marvel villians.
During Steve’s account of what happened in Bagalia, we see him come to the rescue of Sharon when she faces off against Taskmaster, and admit to Red Skull that Jack Flagg is still alive. This enrages the leader of Hydra, and Steve is accused of carelessness, being merciful, and soft towards not only his sidekick, Jack Flagg, but towards Robbie Tomlin, the suicide bomber from issue #1.
Although, Kobik has already left this particular story line – as Red Skull says “gone to the stores like all her kind before her” – the reader can see Steve questioning the orders of Hydra; almost as if the Steve Rogers we know, the un-brainwashed Captain America, is coming through. Like he’s fighting the brainwashing, even if he doesn’t know it.
The comic then goes back to 1926, and we see – what is most likely – Steve’s father’s death with the following speech:
“Like I said before – doing what must be done is rarely easy. In fact sometimes the cost is unbearable. But we must persevere through the pain – and the sorrow—and the sacrifice. We do all this because we believe in something. Because we have faith. Not everyone can show that kind of resolve. Many simply choose the easy way out. Usually doesn’t end well. But that’s not the way I was taught. Which is why I have dedicated myself to this. I know the risks. I know I will probably not survive it. But still – I have to try. Which means the only question that remains—will I have to do it alone.”
At the very tail end of this discourse, we see Steve walk out of the room where he was having his holographic meeting with Red Skull to see that Erik Selvig isn’t dead after all, and Steve is seemingly recruiting him to taking down Hydra and Red Skull from the inside of Hydra itself.
At least that’s what I’m speculating and hoping. I’m doing a lot of hoping because Steven Grant Rogers – despite the fact he could have turned out just like his father – is a good person. He’s moral, loyal, and selfless. He’s competent, brave, and determined. He’s the paragon of good, and the sentinel of liberty. If there was ever someone who could break the bonds of brainwashing, it would be Steve.
If I am right, I believe the next few issues of Steve Rogers: Captain America will see Steve and Selvig work toward taking own Hydra from the inside. Small, subtle things as not to draw attention to it happening, but happen it will.
In the beginning, Steve monologues that “doing what has to be done is rarely easy,” maybe this operation to take down Hydra isn’t going to be easy, but it has to be done. Next issue will just tell more in this saga.