Captain America’s Hydra-colored armored costume is powered by more than just on-message branding.
SPOILERS for Secret Empire #9 follow.
The climax of Secret Empire is drawing close, and Steve Rogers is prepared. First teased when the cover to Secret Empire #10 was revealed, Rogers donned his new armored Hydra costume in the closing pages of today’s Secret Empire #9 from Nick Spencer and Leinil Francis Yu.
The costume is more than just a fashion statement. As Arnim Zola explained to Captain America, the suit was confiscated from Iron Man’s laboratory. However, instead of an arc reactor, the armor is powered by the incomplete cosmic cube that once manifested itself as the child called Kobik. Theoretically, this should give Captain America nearly limitless power, and he showed it by making an explosive entrance on the battlefield, though the Avengers still possess one one of Kobik’s shards.
Steve Rogers was left with little choice but to put on the armor regardless of the pain it seemed to cause him. The tide of the war between Hydra and the heroes of the Marvel Universe has turned. In Secret Empire #8, the Darkforce bubble surrounding New York City and the shield surrounding Earth both fell, allowing many previously sidelined Marvel heroes to finally enter the battle.
Things only got worse for Captain America’s regime in Secret Empire #9. The Odinson finally made his choice and turned on his fellow Hydra Avengers to rejoin his former allies. Hearing the thunder from outside, mercenaries Taskmaster and Black Ant decided to switch sides and freed the Champions from their holding cell.
The now-free Viv Vision was able to scatter the virus infecting her father, freeing the Vision from Hydra’s control and infecting Hydra’s dreadnoughts instead. Now given the opportunity, Doctor Strange summoned Thor back from where she had been banished, though she quickly reverted to Jane Foster’s human form without Mjolnir, and began trying to exorcise Cthon from the Scarlet Witch’s body.
Emma Frost and the delegation from New Tian finally played their hand, calling Magneto in to wreck Captain America’s personal war ship. On board that ship, the Winter Soldier made his presence known, rescuing Black Panther and fighting Baron Zemo.
Now that Hydra has fallen, all that is left for the heroes is to defeat Hydra Captain America. With the power of the cosmic cube at his disposal, however, that may be no small feat.
Secret Empire #9 is on sale now.