Since the revelation that the symbol he fought under might not be his own, Captain America’s life has been a whirlwind of secrets and violence. Worse still, impossible new enemies have appeared at almost every turn, including one that’s just as invulnerable as Captain America’s own signature shield. Fortunately, Steve Rogers has never needed his fists to turn the tide of battle, especially not against an opponent with whom he shares so much in common, and not the least of which is reason to fight against. the same outer circle that made them. .
After sifting through the puzzle pieces he’s put together so far, Captain America: Sentinel of Freedom #4 (by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Carmen Carnero, Nolan Woodard, and VC’s Joe Caramagna) finds the titular hero taking an oddly ordinary day off from the conspiracy at hand. Or so it seems on the surface, but every stop along the way is actually a carefully calculated move on Steve’s part. Even more surprisingly, it’s all in service of his latest nemesis, the nigh-indestructible Redacted. It turns out Captain America was well aware of his malevolent shadow the entire time, and when they finally get the chance to come face to face, it’s not for the fight the Outer Circle was hoping for.
Although Redacted does its best to speed up Captain America’s job, Star-Spangled Avenger doesn’t make it an easy task. Not only does Steve take his time to evade each of Redacted’s attacks, but he also pleads that it’s ridiculous considering everything they’ve learned that day. From his relationships with neighborhood kids to regulars at union bars, Steve has made it a point to speak only when absolutely necessary, choosing instead to actively listen to what others have to say knowing that their experiences experiences are just as valuable as his.
Even when confronting his oldest friend over what appears to be another heartbreaking betrayal, Captain America proves to be only receptive to the hard truths that exist outside of his or anyone else’s control. . It’s this kind of situational and social awareness that allows Steve to transition to Redacted without having to physically take down his enemy in the process. By the time the dust settled, the enigmatic assassin not only gave up his hunt for Captain America, they joined him in his fight against the Outer Circle that tried to bend them both to the core. someone else’s will.
The central idea that Cap gives is that everyone is free to choose their own path, is by no means unfounded within the confines of the Marvel Universe, but it is something that is almost the opposite of what that super soldiers are meant to be. . Steve Rogers may be a hero all along, but Captain America was actually created to be a walking propaganda outlet for the US military more than he was ever a weapon. Despite this, he proved time and time again that he was more than any symbol or ideology could ever encompass, and for that, Captain America and his iconic shield exceeded anything originally intended for them.
The Outer Circle might think the shield is their symbol, just as they think Redacted is their personal super-soldier to control and command, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As Steve has shown, the only thing stopping Redacted from changing the course of their lives is making the decision to do so. Now that they’ve done it, it’ll only be a matter of time before the Outer Circle comes calling for their former killer. Considering everything Redacted is capable of, they might end up coming for Marvel’s next big superhero instead.