In United States of Captain America #2, Steve Rogers encounters a new person wielding the shield who is handling a different set of problems.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for United States of Captain America #2, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
For as long as he has been a part of pop culture, Captain America has stood as a symbol for all that is good in America. That fact hasn’t been lost on the denizens of the Marvel Universe, a few of which have taken on similar mantles of their own. While Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson race across the country on a hunt for Steve’s missing shield, they’ve uncovered an underground network of other Captains. Not only are these homegrown heroes fighting a completely different battle than their predecessors, but in United States of Captain America #2 by Christopher Cantwell, Dale Eaglesham, Matt Milla, and VC’s Joe Caramagna, one of these new heroes, Nichelle Wright, proves that those with real powers would never be able to emerge victorious from the war she fights.
In the days since the last attack perpetrated by the impostor Captain America, another has already been carried out in nearby Pennsylvania. To make matters worse, the woman being charge as a domestic terrorist in this crime is another one of the underground Captains. The heroes know that this other Captain isn’t the real culprit, but the local sheriff doesn’t seem to have any problem letting her take the blame if it means he can close the case. This injustice isn’t one that any Captain America could let slide, and before Steve and Sam have freed their star spangled comrade. Surprisingly, Nichelle has no interest in going along with her superpowered predecessor to safety, instead choosing to continue on by herself. After all, she can’t be Captain America if she is in hiding, and her war isn’t one that either of the heroes that have come to her rescue have any experience in fighting.
As Nichelle explains, it’s the battlefield as much as the battle that separates Captains like herself from those of the superpowered variety. Much like Aaron Fischer from the previous issue, Nichelle is fighting the ground level threats that fly under the Avengers’ radar. Even after fending off yet another assault by the false Captains, the Captain America of Harrisburg staunchly refuses to leave her post.
The damage done by the impostors has left people in need, not to mention the street level crime that continues to torment her city. On her own and on the run, Nichelle continues to take out erratic gunmen and evade capture before finding shelter alongside a few of her friends and supporters in an abandoned church. She might be a fugitive, but the network of allies willing to take her into their homes in secret and be her eyes and ears has already begun ballooning in size.
This isn’t to say that Steve Rogers or anyone else who has carried his shield are ineffective, but while they are out saving the world, universe, or even reality itself, people on the ground are hurting, and no one is coming to their rescue.
Vigilantes such as Nichelle Wright and Aaron Fischer exist as the next generation of heroes that no one knew they really needed until now. Thankfully, there is a long road ahead in the United States of Captain America, with plenty more Captains to come along the way.
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