Phil Coulson has a special place in his heart for Captain America, and it’s that love that may be the key to saving the Marvel Universe.
Warning: contains spoilers for Heroes Reborn #1!
Superhero fanboy Phil Coulson has long had a special place in his heart for the first Avenger, Captain America, and it’s that love that may be the key to saving the Marvel Universe as readers know it.
After a Hydra-controlled Captain America ordered a hit on Coulson, he was killed by fellow fanboy Deadpool. The death may have provided Marvel’s Satan stand-in, Mephisto, the perfect opportunity to pull strings in the Marvel universe with the recently resurrected Coulson as his puppet. Now President, Coulson is manipulating the military and superheroes alike, even taking control of the Squadron Supreme. In the new reality of Heroes Reborn, former Avengers like Thor, Tony Stark, and Carol Danvers remain in their civilian lives, oblivious to ever having been heroes—except for one very specific individual.
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In Heroes Reborn #1, by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, and Matthew Wilson, the vampire hunter, Blade, is the only remaining hero with any memory of the classic Marvel universe. He stumbles through the United States, attempting to track down the Avengers and encourage them to remember their former lives as superheroes. When his attempts fail, however, he turns his attention to the one thing that hasn’t changed in this new, strange timeline; Captain America’s nose-dive into the icy ocean. In this Avengers-less world, Steve Rogers made his sacrificial flight into the Atlantic, but his plane and body were never recovered. Somewhere, out in the world, super-soldier Steve Rogers is waiting, trapped in ice.
It’s no secret to fans and readers that Coulson has been a long-time fan of Captain America, which made Captain America’s turn towards Hydra in Secret Wars that much more upsetting to the agent. If, after rising from the dead, Mephisto is using Coulson’s love of superpowers to control the country, the absence of America’s favorite Avenger is noteworthy. It’s difficult to believe that Coulson—a hero in his own right—would be twisting the world into such a way of his own volition. Indeed, it appears that Mephisto is running the show, making sure the Avengers are powerless and the Squadron Supreme remain jingoistic mouthpieces who pale in comparison to real heroes. Real heroes like Captain America whose story and powers remain untouched.
Readers can hope that Coulson retains some agency in Mephisto’s big plan, allowing him to influence the world and make sure that the former Avengers may still have the opportunity to join forces and become heroes once again, as well as keep heroes like Captain America on ice, ready to spring into action. With just a little nudge, the world could be set to rights.
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