If Hydra Captain America didn’t thrill you or Olympic Skiing Cap, maybe King Captain America will? Come April 4, the oversized landmark 700th issue will feature the climax of the “Out of Time” storyline, which will land Steve Rogers in a dystopian future world, needing to rebuild civilization and ruling over it as King Captain America. You read that right. King Captain America. The story is written by Mark Waid with artist Chris Samnee and colorist Matthew Wilson.
In the words of SVP and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort who said in a statement, “No dream, no hoax, no lie, this IS Cap and this IS happening!” Take that for what it’s worth concerning the last reveal of who Hydra Cap really was in the end.
You may recall that Captain America became the leader of the evil Hydra due to the Cosmic Cube or the tesseract for those of you who don’t read comics. Hydra Cap manipulated heroes and villains while pulling the strings of big deaths over the last year in Marvel comics including Black Widow and Rick Jones, amongst others until the original Steve Rogers had his memory restored by the Cube. Rogers and Hydra Cap had a big battle and Rogers came out on top and was reunited with his mighty shield.
Since taking over the writing chores for Captain America, Waid, Samnee and Wilson have put the pieces and parts of Captain America back together, building him up as a hero again. He’s coming off as Kraven the Hunter’s latest ultimate challenge, avoiding pitfalls, traps and ferocious leopards.
Somewhere between now and then, Cap will be suspended in animation in a block of ice, once again. When he comes to, Cap will once again find himself in a world that’s unrecognizable and will need the help of a rag tag group of new Howling Commandoes that if we look at the regular cover includes Hulk, Thing, and some other interesting looking characters who have survived the future.
As an added bonus, since we’re talking about Cap being a King, Waid will be writing an untold tale from Cap’s past with artwork by Jack “The King” Kirby. No word on if this artwork has been published before or not.
We do know that the artwork that they’re using for their Jim Lee Variant cover of #700 is repurposed from Uncanny X-Men #268, an iconic image of Cap as drawn by DC Comics’ Co-Publisher that you can find on everything from T-shirts at Target to posters. There's also a variant cover by Jim Steranko. What might be understated is the $3.99 price tag for an oversized landmark issue. Typically, Marvel pushes the price to $5.99 so the cost conscious readers are going to hold them to that price.
It's been a rocky road, but the story has arguably gotten better since Waid and Samnee took over creative duties after the Secret Empire event. Waid took a risk in going back to Captain America, as many readers will be tempted to compare this run with his memorable run with Ron Garney many moons ago, but Marvel wisely kept this creative team together. They killed it on Daredevil and Black Widow and many are willing to trust in Waid and Samnee again and so far they’ve had him traveling the country. But for how long?
It’s been an interesting change of pace since Nick Spencer's issues, but at some point Cap has to return to the present day time, right? In theory, Cap can’t mess up the past or the present, so the question is, what is Waid and Samnee going to say about Cap this time around? What are we going to see in Cap in this strange environment and new supporting cast that we couldn't otherwise see in the present-day Marvel timeline? Lots of longtime readers have been turned off by Hydra Cap and certainly bringing attention to the direction of issue #700 will raise eyebrows.
That said, perhaps they felt the best way to handle Cap was to remove him from the world that we’re familiar with and put him in a new environment, so that his basic core elements that make him Cap come out in a realm that fans won’t be so quick to relate to our present day. The idea feels reminiscent of how Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk storyline worked for Bruce Banner, or maybe Superior Spider-Man conjures some good will. Of course it won't last forever, but at the very least, it should reassure readers to have some trust in this creative team and the concept and judge it after it’s all done.