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Captain America Explains Every Super-Soldier Is A PsyOp

CBR logo CBR 6/19/2022 John Dodge
© Provided by CBR

The following contains major spoilers for Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1, available now from Marvel.

Steve Rogers has spent decades standing tall as the Marvel Universe's premier super-solider. Whether on his own or alongside the likes of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Captain America's battlefield prowess has only ever been matched by his unwavering sense of duty. Unfortunately, he is now beginning to uncover a sprawling conspiracy, one with the very shield that has become an indelible part of his own legacy at its heart. Not only that, but Cap finally revealed the deepest, most core aspect of every single super-soldier, and it has nothing to do with winning wars on their own.

Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1 (by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Carmen Carnero, and VC's Joe Caramgna) found Steve Rogers embracing his role in almost every part of his life. Even during his morning run, Cap kept his shield held firm. It's a powerful moment, though not one that goes away once things take a turn for disaster. When the now villainous super-solider known as the Destroyer attacked a 4th of July parade, Cap and Bucky waste no time leaping into action against him. But as capable as they are, Cap knows all too well that their ultimate purpose has nothing to do with the battlefield.

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Steve is well aware of the reason he exists today. While the top secret program he was born from might have set out to create a new breed of soldier, Captain America has always been a symbol first and foremost. As Cap himself reasoned, he and others like him are merely "awe incarnate," a way to deter a nation's enemies. From his first adventure in the 1940s Captain America Comics #1 by comic book legends Joe Simon and the iconic Jack Kirby, all the way to the stories told today, Steve has never questioned just what he was meant to do. Of course, that truth has never been especially sobering until now.

Acting as a symbol isn't problematic in itself, but the way it reframes Cap and his fellow super-soldier's existence can be. Steve himself has only ever faltered on rare occasions, usually due to the reality-altering machinations of the likes of a Cosmic Cube empowered Red Skull. But he is absolutely the exception to the rule. The Destroyer may have been manipulated, much like Bucky Barnes was as the Winter Soldier, though the latter also never shied away from taking drastic action. More so than Steve, Bucky understands the power of being a genuine icon even from the shadows.

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Captain America may be the Sentinel of Liberty, but the Winter Soldier has always been something else entirely. Steve's presence has always been inspiring, yet Bucky's is the reputation which actually made his enemies think twice about lashing out in his general direction. Nearly every villain Steve has ever faced had it in their mind that breaking America's most prominent hero would be more than just a personal triumph. Although they have rarely if ever waned when it comes to their schemes solely for the fact that Cap would strike back at them.

That being the case, it is likely only a matter of time before Cap decides he wants or needs to become a different kind of symbol entirely. Especially when everything he has adorned himself in for nearly a century is poised to unravel in horrifying ways, the idea that he could be the shining bastion of an unseen threat may very well be too much to bear. On the other hand, Steve Rogers hasn't made his name in backing down, so if someone is going to try and tarnish what his shield stands for, they certainly won't have an easy time doing so.

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