Captain America: Traitor
Early on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, a man uttered two words that completely shook the very foundations of the Marvel Universe. The words: “Hail, Hydra!” The man, Steven Rogers, more commonly known as Captain America. How can this be, and what could possibly make Cap actually say these words and pledge loyalty to the evil organization that is Hydra? According to recent interviews with writer Nick Spencer, and editor Tom Brevoort this isn’t anything new, and is actually Captain Rogers’ true allegiance…and has been for the past 75 years.
If Marvel writer Nick Spencer, and editor Tom Brevoort are to be believed then this means that the single most respected superhero in the Marvel Universe (the one known for his honesty, integrity, patriotism, and who is being the very epitome of what makes a hero a hero) has always been nothing more than a traitor. This means that Cap would join the ranks of such illustrious personages as Aldrich Ames, The Rosenbergs, and the venerable Benedict Arnold. While the brains behind this decision at Marvel aren’t giving a whole lot hints, foreshadowing, or even simple explanations, they do say that Steve and his mom joined Hydra back in the 1920’s when they were recruiting among the “disenfranchised and disaffected” around the world at this time.
There is only one possible response, which is to quote one of Earth’s Mightiest Hero’s and declare: “I Say Thee Nay!”
Needless to say, this hasn’t exactly been the most popular decision to come out of the Marvel offices in recent years, and has generated a lot of reactions from fans such as myself. It is being reported that this decision has been generating email very similar in nature to the death of Captain America at the end of the Civil War story arc. While Civil War definitely pulled at the heartstrings and made people think, this latest decision seems to be nothing more than a slap in the face of all the fans. Let me give you a slight warning right now…there is a bit of a rant coming.
As I have stated in previous articles and reviews, I am a major Captain America fanboy. I have been following the comics for roughly the past 30 years, and I cannot find one redeeming value in this decision story wise. Cap has been pretty much the moral conscious of the Marvel Universe, and to find out that this has been nothing more than a lie, is more than a bit hard to swallow. Even looking at this dispassionately (which is admittedly very hard for me) no one is capable of keeping up a façade like this for that length of time. Even Loki in his various schemes where he impersonated people was not able to keep it going for that length of time…and he had magic on his side.
I can understand the want and need to sell issues that drives publishers, but lately it seems like that is the only factor in any decisions that are being made. Fans are willing to go through a lot for a comic and character that they love, there is a limit to what they will put up with. Decisions such as this frankly ask that audience to suspend so much of their disbelief, and ignore three quarters of a century of fully developed back story and precedent to believe. Are we really supposed to believe that Steve was willing to work with an organization that kidnapped, tortured, and brainwashed one of his oldest friends? Or that Hydra would really order the death of their most successful and highly placed deep cover agent in history? (Which is what they would have had to do at the end of Civil War, when it came out that Sharon Carter was a brainwashed agent of Hydra herself.)
These are only two of the examples that could be given how the history of this character simply works against a decision such as this. While it is totally within the rights of Marvel to try and sell as many issues as they possibly can of their titles, they really do need to stop making decision such as this simply to pander to the lowest common denominator (which is the casual reader or fan) in an attempt to pad their wallets. Thankfully there is hope to be had that this is only a temporary situation, since a recent comment made by Brevoort states:
it’s really Steve Rogers and not some clone, shapeshifting Skrull, Life Model Decoy or a Cap from an alternate universe.
Notice that there was no mention of brainwashing. I can only hope that this decision doesn’t last too long, nor do too much damage to the character that I love so much.