Secret Empire #10 brings the epic series to a close, but it also manages to reveal a few secrets along the way.
One of those includes just how Hydra Captain America managed to lift Thor's trusty hammer, and to go into all this there are big spoilers coming, so you've been warned.
Seriously, big spoilers, so if you haven't read the issue yet there's still time to do so.
All right, so, as you know Marvel spent an entire issue on Free Comic Book Day telling fans that because of the righteous will and steadfast belief of Hydra and Cap's mission, in particular, he was able to lift Thor's hammer. His conviction made him worthy essentially, and it has been a symbol of just how much power he can wield in an instant against his enemies.
Well, turns out it wasn't just his will that allowed him to lift it. It was actually his Hydra mother, Elise. The resistance and Hydra have been seeking out the cosmic shards, all shattered pieces of Kobik, the cosmic cube. As it is explained in the last issue, those shards can produce significant effects but have to be in close proximity to their targets, and it will only last a limited time.
In the final battle between Hydra Cap and his opponent (really trying here folks), Hydra Cap desperately goes for Mjolnir, which is laying on the ground. When he grasps it, he is unable to lift it, realizing in that instant that it was a lie.
When he first lifted the hammer, Elise was standing in the shadows not far from him. Unbeknown to Cap, she held a shard of the cosmic cube and manipulated reality to change the inscription on the hammer, thus allowing Cap to lift it.
With that no longer in play, the inscription is returned to normal, and Hydra Cap cannot lift it. His opponent, however, has no such issues and uses it to shatter his armor in one fell swoop, leaving the unworthy former wielder to lie on the ground.
You can view images of the scene in question in the gallery.
Secret Empire #10 is in stores now.