Previously in Sentinel of Liberty, the Outer Circle was revealed to be five leaders who’ve manipulated and overseen various aspects of society for the last 100 years. Likewise, Captain America and his shield have been integral pieces to their Century Game. The Outer Circle is represented by the outside ring of Cap’s shield, controlling everything behind the scenes. The next ring represents various systems of societal structure such as governments, democracy, and communism. The Inner Circle represents organizations such as armies, law enforcement, and even espionage divisions such as SHIELD. Within that ring is the core circle representing the global population while the overlaid star is Captain America himself, the Super-Soldier who’s unknowingly been the Outer Circle’s puppet for decades. There are also five Starpoint agents including Bucky and Peggy, their entire lives being manipulated and shaped to enter Roger’s proximity. None of it was fate (not even Bucky’s transformation into the Winter Soldier).
Now, the connected Captain America and the Winter Soldier Special #1 from Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and Kev Walker sees the Outer Circle meeting for the first time in 1922. Not only do they create their board that will become Cap’s shield, it’s also revealed that their idea to create someone like Captain America was inspired by Wakanda’s Black Panther. This issue also provides the surprising truth that the Fourth of July is not Steve Rogers’ actual birthday. All in all, there are so many dark retcons happening all at once, and one would rightfully be worried that Captain America and his mythos might become even worse than his time as a Hydra sleeper agent in Secret Empire.
Captain America’s Origins Have Become So Much Darker
While it certainly makes for a dynamic conspiracy story, all of these changes to Captain America’s history might not be beneficial to the longevity of his character in the long run. So far, the origins of Cap’s shield and his own history have been massively corrupted, the intention behind his transformation being incredibly dark. Bucky Barnes was always a puppet before he ever became the Winter Soldier. Likewise, Captain America’s unique position as a Marvel hero has been somewhat compromised, now that he was simply patterned after another legacy hero. Losing simple things like sharing a birthday with the nation he symbolizes is disappointing as well.
At least in Secret Empire, the drastic and villainous changes for Hydra Captain America were the result of Red Skull and a Cosmic Cube which literally rewrote reality and history. Furthermore, said changes were largely reset with Captain America reverting to his normal status quo as Marvel’s First Avenger. In contrast, everything happening in Sentinel of Liberty feels much more permanent, a notable difference that may have unpleasant consequences for Captain America fans. As it stands, it feels as though many of the changes have either corrupted Captain America’s legacy or have taken away things that make him unique and special in the Marvel Universe. While the changes have certainly created epic obstacles for Rogers to overcome as he reclaims his shield and its purpose as his own, here’s hoping Marvel hasn’t gone too overboard with all these new changes to his character. Captain America and the Winter Soldier Special #1 is on sale now.
Next: Marvel Finally Settles The Captain America vs Winter Soldier Debate