Until October of 1942, Captain America's experience with teams had been very mixed. With the Invaders he'd done some very great things; they'd worked well together as a team, overcome heavy obstacles and powerful opponents, and in general made a positive difference in the war. But at the same time they'd been so... disorganized, far too helter-skelter for the all-out effort that the war required. And the unpleasantness with the Kid Commandos and the Crusaders...they'd more than convinced him that a simple teaming, like the 3Xs or the Freedom's Five,  wouldn't be good enough to really make a difference.

Which was why he'd leapt at the chance for something different. When Doc Savage and James Fletcher had approached him with the idea that all of the active Marvels would be gathered together under military lines--not run as a civilian team, and not allowed to go wherever they wanted and do whatever they wanted, regardless of what needed to be done--Steve Rogers saw the offer as an outstanding opportunity to do better than he and his friends had so far done, and to deal the Axis bigger defeats than they'd so far suffered.

The initial discussions had gone well; he and Savage and Fletcher were all of the same mind on how the new team should be run and where they should fight, and the news that Savage would be able to supply all of the Marvels with protective jackets and powerful guns was welcome information that allayed Steve's biggest fear. He didn't want to lead children and teenagers and men and women with no superpowers into battle without something to even the odds.

Steve was, in fact, more than content when Savage had led him to the AlPanCom file room. He was actually happy, happier than he'd been since he'd had to leave Betsy behind  and head off to the front. So what he found in the files disconcerted him that much more.

He had anticipated that battles involving dozens of Marvels on both sides would be bad and would bring about a shift in tactics as well as a shift in expectations; people would not initially expect the battles to be so devastating, but after exposure to one or two firefights their preconceived notions would change. Just look at Eastern Europe and Russia; Stalingrad and Leningrad had been razed almost completely by the ongoing battles between Barbaross and the Valkyries and the Russian Black Hundreds. Once the Liberators arrived in force in North Africa and later in Europe, the rest of the world would know what happened when Marvels went to war.

Steve had anticipated that the level of brutality and damage would increase; when so many powerful beings came together with mutual lethal intent, the result would be beyond imagining. And when so many individuals fought who were capable of great destruction but lacked a firm moral background, or who were vulnerable to bloodlust, or saw no reason to grant mercy to the enemy, the wounding and killing would be particularly vicious.

He'd anticipated that the demands on the supergroup would be different. They wouldn't be hiding on the homefront, avoiding the dangers of the frontlines and enjoying the luxuries of the United States, where nearly every American supported them whole-heartedly; they'd be in foreign and enemy territory, where food would be hard to come by and friendly civilians harder to find. Moreover, the group would, by its very nature, be called on to do things that it might not want to do; the exigencies of war allowed for few scruples. They'd have to kill people, something Steve was reluctant to do unless it was absolutely necessary, and something which many of the other Marvels would find very hard to do, when pressed.

He'd anticipated that there might be a group of Marvels who wouldn't be joining the Liberators. The information about the Secret Six surprised Cap. How could such a secret have been kept from everyone for so many years? In the days and months that followed Cap often wished that he could have had even one of the Six in the Liberators, to provide experienced guidance and wisdom, but that just wasn't going to be possible, and so he tried not to feel regrets about it. Steve didn't even know if they were still active.

What Steve hadn't anticipated, however, was that there would be a group of Marvels active in the war, Marvels Steve hadn't encountered up to that time. One or two Steve had at least heard of: Elias Spector, Captain Kerosene, Dominic Fortune. But most were unknown to Steve, which surprised him.

What really rocked Steve back on his heels was finding out--from the files, no less, and not from Savage or Fletcher--what this group of Marvels would be up to. When he'd finished reading the letters from Donovan and the still-unknown head of AlPanCom, and the responses from Fletcher and Savage, Steve had put down the folder and stood at the window of AlPanCom file room, leaning on the jamb and looking out at the South California surf.

The purpose of the group of Marvels would be to commit war crimes.


For more information on who Steve was reading about, read the upcoming Liberators #27.

For more information on the Secret Six, keep watching the News And Rumors Page for information on this upcoming series.

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