Did Marvel Just Ruin Steve Rogers and Captain America?
Yesterday, Captain America was in the news because fans want to give him a boyfriend and help increase representation for the LGBTQIA+ community. Today, he’s in the news for an entirely different, really, really terrible reason.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the new issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers. Read at your own risk.
Captain America: Steve Rogers debuts today with Steve Rogers taking back the mantle that had been briefly passed down to Sam Wilson (aka Falcon). You see, Steve was de-powered and aged into an old man, so Sam took up the shield. But now Steve is young and strapping again, so he’s back in the superhero game…
…Or is he?
Because it was revealed in the last panels of issue #1 that Steve Rogers is actually a Hydra plant. That’s right. Captain America is secretly a Nazi, and I can’t believe I just typed that. You’re reading that correctly: Steve Rogers is now, and always has been, working for Hydra. And for people who may be thinking that it’s a clone, or a robot, or that he’s been brainwashed, writer Nick Spencer killed that theory by telling Entertainment Weekly, “This is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself.”
Um… Okay. I…am really not okay with that. Comics are always retconning their history and creating new canon. Remember, Steve Rogers died at the conclusion of the first Civil War arc, yet here he is, alive and well. But this is a huge departure from your basic canon retcon; this completely erases everything Steve Rogers stands for as an individual. And at a time when the United States is facing a turbulent presidential election, making Captain America a Nazi is just too much. Steve Rogers is supposed to fight against bigotry and oppression. He’s not supposed to believe in them.
Spencer went on to tell EW, “It’s a big part of our story, what Steve’s beliefs are about what Hydra should be, where it should go, what it should focus on. To me, I always get really fascinated by this kind of thing. Any World War II history buff can talk your ear off about the internal power struggles of the Nazi Party. There were some fun parallels to play with here.”
He talks about keeping Cap’s stories current and changing Hydra so that it resembles modern extremist movements such as ISIS and white supremacy groups. Which is all well and good, but you can explore the modern political climate without assassinating Steve’s character.
To be perfectly honest, this feels like a stunt. I know they claim to have been planning this story since 2014, but it just screams “publicity” and a way to try and sell comics by being controversial and edgy. But when TIME asked Marvel editor Tom Brevoort flat out if this was simply a gimmick, he said, “To say it’s a gimmick implies that it’s done heedlessly just to shock. The proof is always going to be in the execution. So you’ll have to read the rest of the story to see.”
And I’m sure they’ll figure out some way to get back to the original Steve Rogers — maybe this is a dream or an alternate future or someone hallucinating — but it’s kind of gross and insensitive. I mean, you do realize that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Captain America’s creators, were Jewish, right? They fought in World War II against the Nazis, and now Marvel has turned around and made their creation the very thing they were fighting against.
What do fans think about this latest plot twist? Here is just a sample of some of the tweets (#SayNoToHYDRACap is currently trending worldwide):
yeah when i think about how antisemitism shaped my family’s history i definitely think “fun” https://t.co/8HZGQ5hjsm pic.twitter.com/r9BtNMtKpD
— loyal burger man (@meanchelled) May 25, 2016
.@Marvel Especially b/c you could still explore contemporary political climate without committing massive, rampant character assassination.
— laT. (@stilettowolf) May 25, 2016
I am beyond upset, over something as simple as a comic book character. It’s disgusting and cheap#SayNoToHYDRACap https://t.co/cd5LENgfPt
— Christopher Erickson (@EricksonPrime) May 25, 2016
went from #GiveCaptaimAmericaABoyfriend to #SayNoToHYDRACap in the matter of 24 hours, we shouldn’t have to do this.
something’s wrong here
— sonia (@avxnger) May 25, 2016
#SayNoToHYDRACap bc turning Marvel’s most trusted avenger into a Nazi isn’t a creative plot twist, it’s a sacrilege against the character
— wiener soldier (@hannibaltrash) May 25, 2016
But perhaps the most important reaction is Captain America himself, Chris Evans:
Okay I’m gonna be honest he doesn’t look impressed pic.twitter.com/1PI1gy0VYI
— Nick Spencer (@nickspencer) May 5, 2016
Yeah, I’m not very impressed, either.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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9 thoughts on “Did Marvel Just Ruin Steve Rogers and Captain America?”
And here I thoughts fans were only worried about Disney/Marvel ruining the X-Men franchise.
Behold the modern age of comics: where “shocking!” and “EDGY!” have usurped actual good storytelling and where taking a character who was created by two Jewish men to fight anti-Semitism in the US (and there was a truly horrific amount of pro-Nazi sentiment in the US prior to our involvement in WWII) and turning him into a Nazi somehow didn’t get the person who proposed it fired on the damn spot. What the actual hell, Marvel. What is WRONG with you?!
It can’t be real, right?
So, to be clear, they’re taking the Captain America mantle away from a black man and giving it back to a guy who is secretly a lifelong Nazi?
It can’t be real. It’s too much.
Jeez, I hadn’t even thought of the context there. Good lord it’s even worse now. And you can’t get much worse than “nazi” but somehow we did.
This is actually heartbreaking to me and I only know Cap from the films. Way to be sure I never become a comic reader, Marvel.
That’s awful, you’re right folks! What a cheap sales gimmick of bad taste…
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