(CBR) [SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "Captain America" #10, on sale now.]
Steve Rogers' fight against the injustices of the Marvel Universe didn't begin with his transformation into the super soldier and symbol of freedom know as Captain America. No, the roots of that conflict stretch back to his childhood growing up on the mean streets of Depression Era New York. It was there where his indomitable will was forged both through the lessons his mother taught him about always standing back up after a fall, and his struggle to maintain his sense of self and decency as he dealt with numerous hardships.
The lessons learned from those early battles guided him during World War II as he waged war against the Axis Powers and later on in the modern day when he was revived from suspended animation, but a lifetime of fighting battles, even just ones, does not come without cost. Initially for Steve that cost was the sacrifice of a normal life, with his identity as Captain America dominating his time. That all changed, though, when writer Rick Remender and artist John Romita Jr. kicked off the latest volume of "Captain America" with a debut issue that sent the title character to a strange reality known as Dimension Z, where time moved at an accelerated rate.
Cap's adventures in Dimension Z spanned 10 issues that covered 12 years of time, though it seemed like only a couple of minutes on Earth. During those 12 years he rediscovered the joys of a normal life by raising an infant boy named Ian. He also endured great pain and anxiety thanks to his struggle against Ian's biological father and Cap's old enemy Arnim Zola, who ruled over Dimension Z with an iron fist -- a struggle which appeared to claim the life of Ian. In this week's "Captain America" #10, Remender and Romita Jr. brought Captain America home, but not before he suffered another heartbreaking loss. We spoke with Remender about the issue, and how Cap's experiences in Dimension Z will affect him moving forward.
CBR News: Rick, let's start with the big shock of "Captain America" #10, the death of Sharon Carter, who's been Cap's long time love interest and is set to become part of the world of the cinematic version of the character next year in the "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" film. So why kill Sharon now? What does her loss mean to Steve?
Rick Remender: Her loss means quite a bit, and I wanted her to be the one that played a major role in getting Steve out of Dimension Z. Plus, it comes when Steve is still dealing with the loss of Ian. I wanted there to be a lot of emotional baggage coming out of Dimension Z for Steve to deal with, because I spent that story with the notion that Cap can't be brought down and is going to keep standing back up. We're now going to see that notion put to the test. We're going to see some cracks in his armor.
That's the fun of taking a character who's defined by his internal fortitude and putting him through so much. He'll make it through, but when it comes time to process what happened to him, it can often be a much worse experience.
As for why it was time, it wasn't a case of the time being right for Sharon Carter to die. We didn't build the story thinking that we needed to do this. When I was outlining the story a year and a half back though having Cap and Sharon escape felt false to me. It felt like with what Zola had planned and how physically defeated Steve was that there needed to be something heavier for him in terms of consequences to earn that escape. Agent Carter saved them, and Earth, at heavy cost.
Steve lost Sharon once before when she faked her death. Is there a part of him that still holds out hope that she's alive?
We'll be dealing with that, but given that he saw her incinerated with a giant Zola, he's probably not holding out a lot of hope this time. Also given the circumstances, this wasn't a situation where even a class-A superspy could have faked her death.
As you mentioned, Steve's other loss in Dimension Z was of course his foster son Ian, who, unbeknownst to Steve, was revealed to be very much alive on the final pages of issue #10. Has the loss of both Sharon an Ian soured Steve on the idea of having his own family?
I think Steve has always pushed away from having a family. He's always ended up with sidekicks, Avengers adventure pals, basically people who do what he does. Sharon was one of those people. He didn't have a normal girlfriend. His girlfriend was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and they were both out there doing the same things and putting their lives on the line.
So coming out of this story where he had a family and lost it, Steve is obviously not looking to replace them. Plus he's dealing with a world that doesn't know any of this happened to him. This is all top-secret stuff. Both he and S.H.I.E.L.D don't want this information spread. You'll see in issue #11 that there's a few people he'll actually disclose this to, but that's it. So the next part of our story is going to be about how he stands up and takes his duty back on after realizing that he does want more.
That's what a lot of the Dimension Z story was about. During the course of the story Steve realizes that he does want to marry Sharon and raise Ian. He does want that family. He became part of the Phrox Clan and had that for many years while he raised his son. Now that he's had that and it's gone, how does Steve deal with that?
Plus, as we'll discover in the next issue, Steve's not aging normally. He was in Dimension Z for about 12 years and he comes back out looking pretty much the same. So the Super Soldier Serum has maybe given him a very extended life expectancy. He's recognizing that he could be alive for a long time and, ultimately, if he has another family, he'll outlive them. So on top of all the other stuff he's dealing with he also has to cope with the fact that in all likeliness he'll bury everyone he knows and loves.
Copyright © 2013 Comic Book Resources. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.