Warning: spoilers for Captain America #25!
Few heroes embody the spirit of patriotism quite like Captain America. With adventures spanning from punching nazis during World War II to saving the world with the Avengers, he’s recognized by many throughout the Marvel Universe as the true American hero. But while his heroic moniker and star-spangled uniform may imply that he fights for his country, Captain America just confirmed that this is not what drives him.
One of Captain America’s most admirable traits is his moral code. He is incredibly selfless, and he gives everything he can to protect the rights of those around him. Fans of the MCU will recognize his willingness to fight for what he believes in from movies like Captain America: Civil War, when he goes against the US Government and refuses to sign the Sokovia Accords. In the comics, there are countless more examples of Steve Rogers fighting not for his country, but for the freedoms of others.
In a short story at the end of Captain America #25, the super soldier sheds a little bit more light on what it is that he stands for. “The Promise,” by Anthony Falcone and Michael Cho, sees Captain America speak at a funeral for his friend, Sung Jin Jeong. The hero met Sung Jin at a diner shortly after being rescued from the ice and entering a future that he didn’t recognize. Sung Jin, on the other hand, had recently moved to the United States in search of a better life. The two men instantly shared a bond, “trying to find their way in a new life, in a new country.”
As the years pass, Captain America continues to see that not everyone in America has the same opportunities and that the system fails so many people. Sung Jin experienced this firsthand, as he worked his way up from nothing to become a successful citizenship and immigration lawyer. He encourages the hero to persevere and stand up for his ideals no matter the obstacles, which helps Captain America focus on what is most important to him. He says to those gathered at the funeral, “I don’t fight for a country or a president or a flag. I fight for a dream.” He goes on to say that, while the founding fathers weren’t perfect, the ideals that they set for what America could be are worth fighting for. Captain America believes that everyone should hold the same freedoms and “be accepted for who they are.” He sees that while America’s system is currently rigged, what he believes the country can be is worth fighting for. This is how he chooses to honor Sung Jin, because “people like Sung Jin never stopped fighting for the dream.”
The story speaks volumes about Steve Rogers as a person and shows why he is such an incredible hero. He fights for those who can’t fight for themselves and works to make life better for those who are struggling. The story even shows Cap getting involved with current issues, as he is shown protecting protesters at what appears to be a Black Lives Matter protest. Captain America may claim to be from a simpler time, but his ideals make him the perfect kind of hero for modern-day America. While “The Promise” is only a short story, it is definitely worth the read. Captain America #25 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk, and Matt Milla is available now from Marvel Comics, Comixology, and local comic book stores.