Usually, Steve Rogers is unwilling to make political stands as Captain America, staying quiet on the question of mutant rights. That changed in a big way recently, as Steve Rogers honored his mutant teammates, and struck a blow against anti-mutant bigotry.
Uncanny Avengers #3 by Gerry Duggan and Emilio Laiso opened with the team answering a distress call from Captain America. This turned out to be a ruse, meant to lure them into a press conference Steve Rogers had secretly organized. The team arrived in time to hear their leader speaking of how his new team, the Unity Squad, was uniting the Avengers and X-Men in common cause.
Captain America went beyond speaking of his respect for his mutant colleagues, and his belief that they had the same rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as any other American. He also called out anti-mutant organization Orchis, saying he was skeptical of their claims that mutants were responsible for the Hellfire Gala massacre. The speech sent a wave of panic through Orchis Headquarters, who noted how bad it was that Captain America was openly fighting them.
There was some pushback, with one elderly woman throwing her malt at Captain America. Another man challenged Steve Rogers’ defending mutants, when so many of them left the United States for the new mutant homeland of Krakoa. Rogers admitted it hurt him that anyone could believe that they couldn’t live safely in America. However, he was also honest enough to admit that the dream of America means nothing without an honest assessment of how it could improve.
Why Captain America is standing with mutants now
In the past, Captain America had been accused of not getting involved when mutant rights were on the line. Wolverine said as much when Steve Rogers objected to working with Magneto during the original Secret Wars. Cyclops made the same accusation during the Avengers Vs. X-Men event.
Their words touched Steve Rogers, leading to the formation of the Avengers’ Unity Squad. While Steve Rogers had fought alongside mutants for years, he had to admit he could have done more to fight for them. This, coupled with the extreme actions of Orchis, inspired his more outspoken stance on mutant rights.