“Did I just make Captain America blush?”
“Baron Blood vs. Captain America, Hydra’s war is won, and Zemo’s atrocities continue. Sam Wilson will earn his stripes, the single greatest sacrifice in a lifetime of them, and he will never be the same again. The end of the first story arc that sets the stage for the coming Age of Hydra.”
Previously, “With the help of Misty Knight, who was working undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D., Sam and Nomad managed to stop Zemo’s initial plans to distribute the blood. This forced Zemo to enact a disturbing fail-safe: after feeding on the child, vampire Baron Blood will detonate himself at high altitude, spreading the blood throughout the atmosphere and infecting the world…”
We start on another flashback, showing Sam and his sister playing with her kids. She asks him if he still wants to have a family, and he says he’s doing it another way. She’s proud of him. Back in the present, Cap is fighting Baron Blood, who has just, horribly, eaten his falcon. Cap is thinking about everything Steve gave to the world, how he never got the chance to relax but now he can – and now Sam’s on duty 24/7. This is definitely the longest internal monologue we’ve seen from him so far. He’s got to defeat Baron Blood without getting close to his teeth, lest he get infected. If he doesn’t, “nobody who isn’t HYDRA will ever have another family.”
Meanwhile, in the Everglades, the recently resurrected Nomad is fighting Batroc. Zemo tells Baron that he’s going to detonate the bombs, Baron shoots back that he’s not high enough yet. Zemo would rather have a partial victory than none at all and goes to push the button, but Nomad prevents him from doing that in the nick of time while also chucking Batroc out the window.
In SPACE (?!), Baron and Cap continue punching each other. How can Cap be up there?! Baron spits blood in Cap’s face, condemning him to a lifetime of sterility. Nomad and Zemo overhear this because of the commlink, and Nomad is confident that SHIELD can heal Cap, but Zemo says that’s ridiculous, because his DNA is being overwritten. Cap knows that he has nothing left to lose, and is able to get close and remove the bomb from Baron. Sam crashes back to earth, remembering his father and his childhood. Thankfully, Misty is there to pull him out of the water. There’s a lot of debriefing and a new twist, but you should find that out for yourself.
I really enjoyed this arc, and I’m looking forward to more of this series!