The original Captain America, Steve Rogers, is evil. He is secretly serving Hydra as a result of his history having been rewritten by a sentient Cosmic Cube, and that means he has been pulling all kind of strings across the Marvel universe as of late.
His latest scheme comes to light in this week's Captain America: Sam Wilson #14, and it could have huge ramifications for the hero formerly known as Red Falcon.
Spoliers for Captain America: Sam Wilson #14 below!
Sam Wilson has been trying his best as Captain America, but he has a number of opponents. One of those opponents is a Texas senator by the name of Tom Herald.
That provides a unique opportunity for Steve, who is seeking to destroy the public's faith in Sam and make America more vulnerable to a Hydra takeover. Steve also needs to get Herald out of the way, as he might have details about an earlier Hydra plot that could reveal Steve's true intentions.
So how do you eliminate a potential loose end while also discrediting your biggest opponent? By orchestrating a kidnapping, of course. It's revealed at the start of the issue that a classic Captain America villain by the name of Flag-Smasher has taken Senator Herald hostage. It's up to Sam to save him, but not before getting a little backup from Steve (after all, Sam has no idea Steve is evil).
The two break into a building defended by Flag-Smasher's goons and fight their way to Herald's location. It's there that Flag-Smasher reveals his master plan: hack into government agencies and spill their secrets onto the internet. Oh, and each hack of the government will also correspond to a bomb, because why not? The last bomb just so happens to be attached to Herald himself.
Though Sam's hacker ally Rick Jones stops the hacks (and bombs), Flag-Smasher has a plan B in the form of a gun pointed straight at Herald. Sam only has a split second to stop the villain, and though it's a tricky angle for a shield throw, he tosses his iconic weapon and attempts to disarm Flag-Smasher before he can execute Herald.
Only Sam fails. His shield throw bounces off a wall and misses Flag-Smasher's arm, which results in Herald being shot multiple times and killed. At the end of the issue it's revealed that Sam missing was part of Steve's plan all along. Because Steve knows the ins and outs of shield-throwing more than anybody alive, he intentionally maneuvered Sam into a position in which a proper shield throw meant to disarm Flag-Smasher was impossible. He also reveals that Flag-Smasher was actually a life-model-decoy and not the real villain. In short, Steve planned everything from the start: the kidnapping, the villain and Sam's failure.
The media, of course, gobbles up the story that the unpopular Sam Wilson failed to save one of his loudest political opponents. Public opinion on Sam is worse than ever before, and it's all the original Captain America's doing. It's not the first major scheme set in motion by Steve either. It wasn't too long ago that he was revealed to be behind this key moment from Civil War II as well. No doubt Sam will learn of Steve's true allegiances soon, but until then, Sam might be in for one rough ride.