Captain America #698
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Chris Samnee
Colors by Matthew Wilson
Steve Rogers journey across America has come to a sudden and dramatic end as of the events of the last issue. Put back on ice by Rampart after escaping Kraven the Hunter, Captain America wakes up in the back of a truck. Not knowing where or when he is, Steve finds an opening and escapes. It’s a short-lived battle as he finds himself among a group of freedom fighters who took his body in ice as a means of vandalism, not knowing who they had. He discovers that he has been taken home to a dystopian America covered in rubble and swarming with drones on the hunt.
A young woman named Liang explains to him what’s happened to him. That he’s been used as a monument, a prop for Rampart to display. As government forces move into the area, Steve witnesses first hand the brutality of this new order and is unable to stop it on his own. Unable to prevent a tragedy, Steve angrily wants answers. He’s told about the tragedy that consumed the world’s heroes, the ascension of Rampart, the breakdown of American government and the implementation of a new class system.
Steve asks more questions and gets answers that are all too likely in their detail. In his anger and despair, he once again finds a sense of purpose as he tries to convince Liang that he can teach them about the ideals that they’ve lost. He can help them to discover the purpose of the United States. He starts to give her a lesson in the Bill of Rights and is shocked to find out that not only does she know it, but that he isn’t as far into the future as he thought he was. He doesn’t have that long to be shocked as the threat of Rampart continues and Steve Rogers finds a new mission.
There is something both tragically square and endearing about Steve Rogers. I consider it one of his strengths. His determination can be inspiring when he’s written correctly and this issue gets it right with the character. Having Cap find a purpose is a great way to get the character back on his emotional feet and this issue does a great job of hitting Cap with some interesting facts about the world and his impact on it. Samnee has emphasized Cap’s heroics in some truly amazing panels and the flow of the story and visuals made it interesting enough for me to read twice.