Spoilers ahead for this week's Captain America: Steve Rogers #1.
This week's Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 contained a huge twist that revealed that Steve Rogers, the recently returning Captain America, is an agent of Hydra, and seemingly may have been since his childhood.
Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort shed some light on the reveal, with USA Today citing him as telling them that this is "the real Steve Rogers," and not "some clone, shapeshifting Skrull, Life Model Decoy or a Cap from an alternate universe."
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, writer Nick Spencer added to Brevoort’s statements that this is the real Steve, saying, “Issue 2 will lay a lot of our cards on the table in terms of what the new status quo is, but the one thing we can say unequivocally is: This is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself.”
“His mission is to further the goals and beliefs of Hydra," explained Brevoort, back at USA Today, of Rogers's new (or possibly old) secret status quo. "If that involves taking down the Marvel universe, sure. (But) it may not be as simple as that. It’s not like he’s exchanged his white hat for a black hat — it’s a green hat."
Brevoort also explained that readers who see parallels between the actions of Rogers, his seeming enemy Red Skull - currently in charge of one branch of Hydra - and the current political climate aren't wrong, but when writer Nick Spencer began work on the story, the political climate in America wasn't quite where it is today.
“Having this go on in the middle of this odd and offbeat and contentious presidential primary process — and all of the stuff going on in the world right now — we guessed right,” Brevoort explained. “This in a sense feels more relevant right now than it would have a year ago.”
While readers now have an understanding of Steve Rogers's true nature, the other heroes of the Marvel Universe do not.
“Suddenly there’s a whole other wrinkle to all of it,” said Brevoort. “Any cover with Steve Rogers takes on a slightly different dimension because you have information that no one else in that picture has.”
“We knew it would be like slapping people in the face," confessed Brevoort. "The idea of Captain America means something very primal and very strong to the people of this nation, and they have a very visceral reaction when you get to something like that. You want people to feel and react to your story. So far, so good.”
The story will be directly followed up in June 29's Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, which Brevoort said "will go to some scary and shocking places if it hasn't already." According to USA Today, #2 will "lay out a better understanding of what's happened and how Cap's worked as this undercover operative."