Steve Rogers' altered history has been chronicled in Nick Spencer's current series, a history that takes paints the Star Spangled Avenger with a concentrated Hydra brush. Every movement needs a leader of course, and to this point, that leader was thought to be the Red Skull. After the newest issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers, though, another person is clearly making a bid for the position.
Spoilers incoming for Captain America: Steve Rogers #12, so if you haven't read it yet you've been warned.
As you know, Cap's history has been rewritten so to speak by the sentient cosmic cube Kobik, and his Captain America swears allegiance to the Hydra cause. A rather large part of the series has dealt with his upbringing after the death of his mother, which led him to be under the care of Elisa Sinclair. She brought him into the Hydra fold and has been there as he's navigated the ways of Hydra and moved up the ranks, eventually undergoing the super solider serum process from Arnim Zola.
This issue also sees Taskmaster trying to unload his newfound footage of Hydra Cap to Maria Hill, acting as a one-way ticket to dethroning Rogers from his newfound position as director of SHIELD. Taskmaster and his pal are apprehended by unknown assailants, and when they come to they're confronted with a woman decked out in Hydra regalia. She says "You've interfered in something far larger than yourselves today. The both of you, most men who find themselves standing between me and my plans are reduced to the dust from whence they came, but I like you two. You're funny, and I think you can be of some use to me."
When the ask who she is, she replies "I am Madame Hydra, but since we are going to be working together so closely from now on gentlemen, you may call me Elisa. Elisa Sinclair."
It's unclear how Elisa assumed the role of Madame Hydra, but she looks to figure prominently into the upcoming Secret Empire event. On a recent Secret Empire variant cover reveal, she can be seen alongside Steve Rogers and his newfound friend Baron Zemo.
You can view the sequence in the gallery. Captain America: Steve Rogers #12 is in stores today.