Over the prior issues of this series we’ve seen Hydra up to no good. Now, Cap assembles The Avengers to go after them and learns that the new Supreme Hydra is not actually the leader of Hydra. Rather, he’s leading a faction of Hydra that broke off from the larger group.

Supreme Hydra and his team manage to use hostages to lure Cap into a trap, and that’s where we learn the real truth about Supreme Hydra…

He’s a Skrull! And so are his hostages! Supreme (real name: Sn’Tlo) then manages to capture Cap and steal his identity.

Remember, this is way before Secret Invasion. It’s even before Brian Michael Bendis wrote his first Marvel comic.

While Sn’Tlo is masquerading as Cap, trying to get America to trust Captain America again (after his disappearance from the 616 in Heroes Reborn, he needs to reestablish himself), Cap is tied up in a closet. And this is another place where Mark Waid’s brilliant imagination and eye for detail takes this book from good to great…

The skrull handcuffs have the same shape-changing ability as the skrulls themselves! Of course that doesn’t stop Cap…

And now Sn’Tlo plays his big card…

He creates a fake skrull invasion to sow chaos in America. Riots ensue, and Dale Eaglesham takes over as penciler.

Captain America asks Reed Richards and Tony Stark to give him a skrull neutralizer, orders the Avengers to quell the riots, and takes down Sn’Tlo by forcing him to revert on live TV.

Cap makes a big speech and we’re done.

Great story.

The letters page (wonderfully named, “American Graffiti”) has a letter from a Robert Moraes. Anyone know if that’s the same guy who went on to write a number of Captain America comics?

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