Shannon Carter, the niece of Sharon Carter (former agent of SHIELD), has taken up the mantle of Captain America for a new generation. First appearing in her civilian identity in A-Next #1, she dons the full costume and joins the team in A-Next #4. She's pretty much a younger, female version of Captain America.
Where were we? Oh yes... Silicong has pulled a King Kong and grown to gigantic proportions. All the better to defeat American Dream. She easily dodges his giant fists, however, as he tries to smash her. And, she uses her shield to block the spray of gunfire from the mercenaries in his employ. Ion Man and Red Queen, meanwhile, are just standing around, licking their wounds from the beat down they received last issue. And as if that wasn't enough enemies to fight, there are some crystal creatures ready to attack her when she finally stops her somersaulting. Nevertheless, she manages to hold her own pretty well against such odds (which makes sense since it's her name on the front of the book).
As her plight grows more desperate, who should pop up but Marco, the man she rescued last issue. Of course, a normal person like him is just an added distraction for our hero, and he quickly gets himself in trouble by trying to take out a couple of mercs on his own. American Dreams manages to snatch him out of harm's way just in time, but it's clear that their situation is grim.
Meanwhile, we get a shot of the Avengers (and hey, there's our Spider-Girl again!) posing in front of the sewers. It seems Sabreclaw was able to track American Dream here by her scent. They still aren't sure they're on the right track, however, until they run into the illegal immigrants AD freed and the crystal creatures that are trying to recapture them. The group quickly goes into action to even the odds. Of course, back at Silicong's HQ, American Dream is still fighting. She takes out Ion Man by reflecting his green ray blast back at him using her shield as a mirror (not a quality I was aware that it had before now). Red Queen puts up a better fight than she did last time (lasting for a whole two pages) but eventually she goes down as well. AD draws a contrast between the two of them, saying she loves the Avengers because they inspire people do better while Red Queen only wanted revenge against the team because she blames it for her parent's death.
Silicong was apparently taking a coffee break during all this, but is ready to tag in now that all the competition has been cleared away. Of course, he has yet another ace up his sleeve (actually, literally in his hand this time) in the form of Marco. Silicong demands that AD surrender immediately to save his (Marco's) life, but she manages to talk him (Silicong) into fighting one-on-one in a winner-take-all contest. Silicong tries the old “you and I aren't that much different” routine by pointing out American Dream is just devoted to her cause as he is to his own. And, they are both willing to go to great lengths to come out on top. While he is soliloquizing, AD climbs up onto him and uses her shield to slice off one of his shoulder spikes - the most damage she's done to date against any of the crystal creatures. That only makes Silicong madder. He chases after her, but only winds up smashing into his very own control room. American Dream does him one better and bashes his main control panel with her shield. I think (the writing isn't very clear on this point) that somehow short circuits the crystal creatures that the Avengers were fighting in the sewers.
Meanwhile, AD has used her agility to again climb up onto Silicong's head and digs her shield into his skull with enough force to put a tiny crack in it. She demands he surrender now or she'll shatter his entire body. He thinks she's bluffing because, “Avengers don't kill.” She uses the old “try me” routine and he backs down. Actually, he shrinks down to normal size as she leaps to the ground. She says that that's check and mate, but he points out that he still has his mercenaries (who must have been standing around just watching the fight the whole time). That's the cue for the cavalry (in the form of the Avengers) to arrive and take them out.
We don't see much of a wrap up to any of the previous issue's events. Maria Hill and her threats disappear, Silicong is never heard from again. We don't even see American Dream rejoin the team. The next time we see her she's in Avengers Mansion, so I guess things with the government and the team were smoothed over. Thunderstrike asks her out on a date, but she turns him down. She says she wants to take time to find herself since she's been spending too much time in her costume identity and neglecting her personal life. (That thinking seems a little counter-intuitive to me since going out on a date is a thing normal people do.) She instead says she's going to go to a pro-immigration rally and shop for a dress for Marco's and Sophina's wedding.
The action was a little unbelievable and over the top, the character development was superficial, and the villains' motives were not well fleshed out.
Not one of DeFalco's better outings, but a pleasant enough diversion from the universe-spanning mega-crossovers of the day. It was nice to highlight one of the more underused character from the MC2 universe instead of another Spider-Girl hanger-on.