Published March 29, 2023

What You Need to Know for 'Captain America: Cold War'

Here's everything you need to know about 'Captain America: Cold War,' which kicks off with a prelude in 'Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty' #11 by Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and Carmen Carnero.

In CAPTAIN AMERICA (2022) #0, Arnim Zola attacked New York City, forcing Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers to intervene. In the aftermath, the pair agreed that the Marvel Universe was, in fact, big enough for two them to both use the mantle. 

Although they set out on separate journeys, their worlds are about to collide again in CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR, a crossover taking place in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY (2022) and CAPTAIN AMERICA: SYMBOL OF TRUTH (2022). With CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR ALPHA (2023) #1 kicking off the event next month, here’s what you need to know about what has happened in those series so far.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR OMEGA #1 cover by Patrick Gleason
CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR OMEGA #1 cover by Patrick Gleason

Meet the Outer Circle, the Sentinel of Liberty’s Secret Foe

The big villain of CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR will be the Outer Circle, a secret organization that debuted in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY (2022) #2. Following the devastating conflict of World War I, a group of powerful people formed a cabal to manipulate world events from behind the scenes in hopes of creating a utopia. To execute that plan, they concocted a competition called the Century Game, in which they take turns making moves that bend history to their will.

At the group’s founding, each member took on a special title. The Outer Circle’s main members are Wolf Fortunov, AKA Power; Etien Argent, AKA Money; Ika Abodje, AKA the Machine; and Ana, AKA Love. Gavrilo Princip—whose assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand kicked off World War I—also joined the Outer Circle with the title Revolution, a role designed to thwart the group’s efforts. Princip took on an adversarial role in the Outer Circle, as he believed the cabal’s meddling wasn’t in the best interests of the world. Still, the rules of the Century Game prohibited the members of the Outer Circle from attacking each other directly. 

Over the decades, the Outer Circle manipulated world events with help from their “Starpoints,” special assassins working on their behalf. The group engineered many key moments in the Marvel Universe and even manipulated Bucky Barnes’ life so he’d eventually become Winter Soldier, one of their Starpoints. Additionally, Captain America’s iconic shield was modeled after the Outer Circle’s symbol as part of a sly attempt to one day have him discover and destroy the group.

Steve Rogers Uncovers the Outer Circle

At the start of CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY, Rogers discovered a numbers station broadcasting a code that was soon cracked by his longtime friend and ally Roger Aubrey, AKA the Destroyer. This broadcast forecasted an attack on New York City, which Rogers and Barnes foiled. In the process, they recovered a piece of neganite, a stone with ties to Dimension Z, an alternate world created by Arnim Zola. 

This attempted attack and other intercepted messages led Rogers and Barnes to investigate the Outer Circle further. Rogers discovered the truth about the symbol on his shield and took on a Starpoint called Redacted, who ultimately turned to Captain America’s side. In contrast, Barnes confronted Peggy Carter, who had ties to the Outer Circle, and began working with her in secret to thwart the group.

Thanks to their investigations, Rogers, Barnes, and Redacted were able to launch an assault on the Outer Circle’s headquarters, which was shaped and styled like Captain America’s shield. While there, though, Barnes fired a bullet through Rogers and killed Princip. Afterwards, the Winter Soldier threw his longtime friend from the ship. Barnes then replaced Princip in the Outer Circle and took on the mantle of the New Revolution, with the express purpose of taking the group down from the inside. 

In the aftermath of that battle, Rogers assembled a new version of the Invaders, consisting of such characters as Nick Fury, Roger Aubrey, Peggy Carter, Redacted, and Sharon Carter. Working from the shadows, Barnes tipped Rogers and his team off to an attack by Advanced Idea Mechanics, AKA A.I.M., on Lower Manhattan to recover one of Zola’s neganite reactors. This attack was part of the Outer Circle’s nebulous plans to manipulate history.

In Lower Manhattan, Rogers and his team went up against the Mental Organism Designed Only for Control, AKA M.O.D.O.C., a version of M.O.D.O.K. They were also forced to take on Power. Initially, M.O.D.O.C. trapped the heroes in their own minds. Aubrey helped them escape, but he died in the ensuing battle. Still, Rogers and his team were able to stop both A.I.M. and Power, bringing Barnes’ plan to take the group down one step closer to reality.

Sam Wilson Faces a Deadly Black Panther Foe

Meanwhile, in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SYMBOL OF TRUTH, Wilson battled Hunter the White Wolf, one of Black Panther’s deadliest enemies. At the start of the series, the hero began investigating a vibranium smuggling ring that led him to Wakanda. Wilson snuck into the country using Wakanda Forever, a program designed to help people immigrate to the African nation. There, Wilson discovered White Wolf’s plan to commit a bioterrorist attack on Wakanda soil using innocent immigrants. Wilson thwarted the potential attack, though his violation of Wakandan sovereignty angered the nation.

That wasn’t Wilson’s only encounter with White Wolf. Following that event, Wilson attempted—and failed—to protect the leader of Mohannda from an assassination attempt. She died, and Joaquin Torres, AKA Falcon, was gravely injured. Wilson then set out for Mohannda to investigate who was behind the attack and the civil war that followed, only to discover White Wolf was behind the plan. To take him down, Wilson teamed up with Ian Rogers, AKA Nomad. He also found out that the attack on Falcon had turned Torres into a monster. 

After subduing White Wolf, Wilson returned to the US, and Falcon began treatment to undo his transformation. Nomad, for his part, set off to talk to Steve Rogers—his adopted father—for the first time in years, as he was presumed dead around the time of SECRET WARS (2015).

CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR will bring both Wilson and Rogers’ plots together as they team up to rescue a kidnapped Nomad and take down the Outer Circle. CAPTAIN AMERICA: COLD WAR kicks off with ALPHA #1 on April 12. The event will then continue in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA: SYMBOL OF TRUTH #12 and CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY #12 on April 26 and May 12, respectively.

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