WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Back to Basics #4
Captain America return to his Nomad persona and costume in Marvel Comics, just in time for a similar shift in the Marvel movies. His transformation occurs in the latest issue of Avengers: Back to Basics, just over a week ahead of the release of Avengers: Infinity War. in which the Chris Evans version of Steve Rogers is expected to adapt elements of Nomad in the MCU.
After giving up the shield in Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers is taking a different path in uniting Earth's heroes to go to battle in Avengers: Infinity War. As a fugitive from his own country, Steve Rogers will possess the "spirit" of Nomad, an identity that the character used in the comics at a time where he was disillusioned with America.
But we doubt the movie version will turn to Nomad the same way as this week's comics...
Avengers: Back to Basics is a comiXology limited series that sends the original Avengers back to Marvel's Golden Age. This week's issue, Back to Basics #4, begins with the Avengers caught in a battle with the Magus, an evil version of Adam Warlock. After drawing on the power of the Cosmic Cube, the Magus transforms the Avengers into less powerful versions of themselves.
To be clear: he didn't simply de-power the heroes, but transformed them into version of themselves that had actually existed, just less powerful than they are today. That effect is shown by suddenly returning the heroes to one of their earlier costumes or weaker identities. For Thor, it means being turned into the frog that once possessed a version of Mjolnir. For Black Panther, it's his pre-coronation clothes, and for Captain Marvel it's one of her several comic costumes.
For the first time since the 1970s, Steve Rogers finds himself back in his Nomad costume.
Writer Peter David and artist Juanan Ramirez are clearly in on the joke of it all, having Cap trip on his Nomad cape in his battle with the Magus, wondering why he chose to wear one in the first place. The scene actually serves as a throwback to a classic moment from the comic in which Nomad debuted, Captain America #180. Steve Rogers adds a cape to his suit since he always wanted to have one, before tripping on it and embarrassing himself in front of supervillain Madame Hydra and the Serpent Society. Steve instantly understands why the designers of his Captain America costume never gave him a cape, and in the issues that followed, Nomad's cape was nowhere to be seen.
Though Cap's return to his Nomad identity in Back to Basics is brief and played for laughs, the inclusion of the classic costume is a fun nod to the character's history. It's also particularly relevant, considering the rumors swirling around the possibilities of Cap taking on the Nomad name in Infinity War.
Avengers: Back to Basics #4 is available now on comiXology and Kindle from Marvel Comics.