Captain America’s Secret Empire storyline has been a test on multiple levels. Many are patiently waiting for it to be just over with, so Steve Rogers can get back to being the beacon of American hope and ideals that he was originally conceived to be. It’s only a matter of time before the status quo is returned, and that day is finally on the horizon.
Artist Alex Ross has produced a gorgeous variant cover for the upcoming issue Captain America #695, which was previously announced at San Diego Comic-Con. During the event, Marvel revealed that, as part of the forthcoming Marvel Legacy initiative, the Steve Rogers we all know and love is coming back, courtesy of writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee. And the cover is definitely increasing our hopes for what’s to come.
Ross made a name for himself with his ability to render Captain America in a manner that is truly awe-inspiring (the artist has also done the same by conveying Superman in a similar fashion for DC), which is sorely needed right now, given the character’s currently questionable reputation. And to truly drive home the message that everything’s going to be all right, and as it once was, Ross has chosen to reference Bob Layton’s iconic Iron Man #126 cover.
Longtime fans of Marvel should recognize the intended message being delivered here. Issue #126 was the turning point in Tony Stark’s battle against alcoholism, in the ground-breaking “Demon in a Bottle” storyline, which had Iron Man crawling his way back up from the lowest of lows. Hopefully in the future, we’ll all be able to look back at the Secret Empire storyline in a similar regard.