by Michael DeLaney
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Michael: It’s kind of been a kick for me to watch Steve Rogers slowly enact his devious Hydra takeover, but in Captain America: Steve Rogers 18 the kid gloves have come off. As he faces The United Nations, Steve is devoid of any of his hunky charm and goes full-on authoritarian. Steve demands allegiance from the UN and threatens grave consequences if any nation crosses Hydra.
The issue is also book-ended by scenes of Namor’s mental diary as he contemplates giving up his cosmic cube fragment to Hydra and the consequences of refusing. We already know from recent chapters of Secret Empire that Namor will eventually give up the fragment, but Nick Spencer uses Namor’s dilemma as an example of Steve keeping the threatening promise he made to the UN.
Marvel and Spencer are doing some impressive work here by maintaining the release of Secret Empire in tandem with their two Captain America titles. That’s in no small part due to the artists — here Spencer is joined by Javier Pina and Andres Guinaldo. It’s difficult to say if this was intentional, but the Steve Rogers that Guinaldo draws in the UN resembles an angry old man. Maybe that’s just because he’s spouting off such fearful rhetoric and talking down to everyone, but it felt like a stark contrast from the typical pretty boy Steve Rogers that Pina draws a few pages before.
Trumpian things of note here: Steve essentially “demanding loyalty” and going against the majority of the UN. Another thing that struck me was how one ambassador characterizes Steve/Hydra’s bravado as nothing more than typical superhero spectacle. You could make the argument that the ambassador underestimates what Steve is in the same way many of us underestimated The GOP — they’re not the same thing they used to be.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?