In the wake of Marvel's Heroes Return era, Captain America ponders his effectiveness as old enemies take advantage of a recent surge in popularity.
As our comic begins, Captain America's return from seeming death at Onslaught's hands has made him more idolized by the public than ever before. However, much to his displeasure, said acclaim seems more focused on selling Captain America merchandise, rather than spreading the ideals he tries to fight for. His fellow Avenger, Hawkeye, tries to make light of it and help Steve see the positives, but it's hard for Cap to accept. His brooding, however, is interrupted by his old nemesis, Batroc the Leaper, who's demanding Cap face him in combat. Although uninterested in a grudge match, Hawkeye's involvement forces his hand, and the two face off in a top-notch battle - a battle Batroc was paid by HYDRA to lose. Despite Batroc ignoring his contract and fighting to win, this is Captain America we're talking about here, and our hero wins the fight. The issue ends on an ominous note in HYDRA headquarters, as a subordinate asks his boss, the Sensational Hydra, why he wants to bolster Cap's fame. The Sensational Hydra responds by ominously saying "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."