Yesterday, Marvel’s “Steve Rogers: Captain America” #1 arrived at shops. This is an issue I had been eagerly looking forward to for months, ever since it was first announced, as by anyone’s definition I’m a Captain America super-fan and reading about an aged Steve Rogers who had lost the Super-Soldier serum (a 90+ year old who commands other superheroes?) and former-Falcon Sam Wilson as the new Captain America just was not working for me (I had the same opinion when Bucky took on the mantle a few years ago). It just wasn’t the same.
So I was thrilled to hear that the rejuvenated Steve Rogers was coming back, and when he was restored in the pages of “Captain America: Sam Wilson” #7 all was right in the Marvel Universe for me.
But then yesterday came, and while at work I saw a headline posted on comicbookmovies.com: “Today’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1 Features A Shocking Twist Marvel Knows You’ll Hate.” So, yeah, out of curiosity I clicked on the article, thinking that there’s nothing that the writers could do to NOT make me get the issue.
And then I saw the panel:
If you haven’t heard about it by now, the powers-that-be at Marvel are running with a story line that establishes Cap as a double-agent for HYDRA, the organization that has its roots in Nazism and has been Cap’s main nemesis for…well, forever. And to clarify that this isn’t misdirection or some simple trick, the writer (Nick Spencer) spoke to Entertainment Weekly: “This is not a clone, not an impostor, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself.”
Forget “a slap in the face” as Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort suggested the reaction would be – the news broke my heart.
Cap, for me, has always been a representation of how truly noble and good a person can and should be. I don’t look at him as a representation of the United States, but the ideals that represent the best of what humanity should be (but in reality often falls all too short of): liberty and equality for all; an indomitable spirit in the face of fascism and injustice. The image that introduced him to the world was him punching Hitler in the face, for God’s sake, conceived and created by two Jewish kids who recognized a need for America to DO SOMETHING in the face of evil.
And now Marvel is telling me he has his roots in HYDRA?
It’s insulting and stomach-turning.
Look, I understand how comics work – I’ve been reading them since 1983 – this first issue obviously doesn’t tell the entire story. But no matter how this story line plays out, no matter how it’s explained, to associate Cap with the organization that is the ANTITHESIS to what Cap has symbolized and fought against for 75 years is wrong-headed and a betrayal to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and a betrayal to who Captain America is and always has been.
I said the news broke my heart. It did. I loved superheroes because of Captain America.
But after reading that article, I went to my comic book shop that afternoon and ended my pull-lists. I left the store comic-less, something that hasn’t happened in 15 years, and I won’t be going back.
There’s no real reason for me anymore.