WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Captain America #700
Captain America #700 brings the story no fan was ready for - The Death of Steve Rogers. And before you ask, yes, it really is the kind of death Marvel can't (and won't need to) take back. The story sees the Avenger sacrifice his life so that his country can survive. The story isn't what fans will have expected, since the time-travel adventure takes Steve Rogers in to the future before heading to the past, all allowing Captain America to die - for real - and still leave a version of himself fighting in Marvel Comics.
Such stunts typically earn a roll of the eyes from comic fans who believe superhero deaths are no longer meaningful. Thankfully, the 700th issue sees Captain America storytellers Mark Waid and Chris Samnee stick the landing on a potentially divisive twist. Yes, it begins with Steve Rogers being named King of New America... but it ends in the only way Captain America's life was going to: accepting his own death in hopes it will save the future for others.
The story is as satisfying and poignant as it is important to explain, so allow us to get fans up to speed on The Death of Captain America (for real this time).
- This Page: Captain America's Time Travel To The USA's Last Days
- Page 2: How Captain America Dies To Give The World a Second Chance
Captain America Travels in Time To The USA's Death
Outlining the latest secret, evil organization Captain America has been battling isn't really necessary, so we'll give only the need-to-know details. The group is Rampart, led by a self-proclaimed genius ("King Maximillian Babbington") who desires a future of nightmarish individualism (more power for the powerful, and leaving the weak to look after themselves). In other words, the opposite of the America Steve Rogers fights to protect. And in Captain America #998, rampart succeeds in freezing Steve (again) and sending him to the future. A future where America has fallen. And the year is just 2025.
As Steve eventually comes to learn, Rampart triggered a nuclear war directed inward, effectively wiping out America's military and leadership so that the villains could replace them. It was destruction on a scale even evil Captain America's Secret Empire never reached, mutating those unlucky enough to not be wiped out by the bombs. Once fully thawed, Steve leads the resistance in bringing down the Rampart leadership. But that's just one battle... and the war to win back "New America" will take far longer. Even with Steve Rogers named king by the survivors.
Bruce Banner Has a Plan To Save America... In The Past
Captain America #700 begins by paying tribute to Steve's unwavering commitment to fight the good fight, and never quit when a job needs to be done. In the rubble that was America, that means waging a non-stop war on virtually every front imaginable. With Rampart gone, Steve must fight off not only the soldiers who remain, but invaders wishing to capitalize on the power vacuum. Some heroes remain to assist him in the nationwide campaign - including his new lover, resistance leader Liang - but there's only so much Cap can do.
Dr. Bruce Banner comes up with a new plan, having rebuilt the Fantastic Four's time machine: send Captain America back to the beginning. Back to before he was frozen, before Rampart launched their missiles, and before America became too broken to ever be saved. Unfortunately, Cap refuses it outright. Ever the hero at heart, Cap points out that if he did change the past, this terrible future may still remain as an alternate timeline - abandoned by its Captain America.
After months turn to a year of fighting an unwinnable war... until Steve Rogers agrees there is no other option. With the United States too dead to revive, Captain America travels back through time to the modern Marvel Universe. A trip towards his own death, whether he knows it or not.
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