Before you read on, I’m saying as early as now that this post will spoil the very first issue of Marvel’s recently released Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. There will be a lot of SPOILERS! You have been warned!
When spoken by anyone else in the Marvel Universe, it makes for a good plot twist. He could’ve been a member of the terrorist organization and somehow managed to infiltrate the ranks of the “good guys” after so much subterfuge. But when those same words come out of the mouth of the extremely patriotic Captain America, those words don’t make a lick of sense.
But, in the recent Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, which saw Steve Rogers returning to the mantle of the Star-Spangled Avenger after coming back from a hiatus due to his advanced age (long story), he clearly states these horrific words shortly after throwing one of his colleagues out of a plane and (presumably) to his death.
Now, most comic book fans would think that this isn’t the original Captain America. It’s probably a “fake” Steve Rogers. Or someone’s using mind control. Or something that comic book writers usually cook up when they need an “out” from what they did. This happens in comics very often. When Superman was killed by Doomsday, it turns out he wasn’t “dead” but just in some Kryptonian hibernation thing. When it was discovered that Peter Parker was a clone and Ben Riley took over the mantle of Spider-Man during the Clone Saga, it turns out they were both wrong. It happens in comics every time.
But, this time, this may not seem to be the case. Writer Nick Spencer, who wrote the issue as well as the earlier runs of Captain America, specifically states that this Captain America “is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself.”
But you know, even with Nick Spencer stating that this is actually Steve Rogers and he’s actually been a Hydra agent all this time, there are still at least a dozen ways they can weasel out of it. After all, Steve Rogers was restored to his youth by Kobik, a remnant of the reality warping Cosmic Cube that managed to gain sentience. If that could happen, it’s a simple matter for Nick and Marvel to point at Kobik and say it’s all her fault (yes, she’s a girl).
But if and when Marvel decides to pull the trigger and bring everything back to the status quo, implying that Captain America has always been a Hydra agent is pretty dumb. It doesn’t make a lick of sense! He’s battle Hydra for, what, almost a century now? And he’s just now showing his allegiance? You’re telling me Steve has been biding his time since then just so he can pull this now? That’s a long con taken to the extreme!
This just reeks of a way for Marvel to draw in buyers. Simply put, it’s a publicity stunt. Even with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and despite Captain America: Civil War raking in tons of cash and praise, it’s no secret that comic book sales have been floundering. Marvel’s success at the box office hasn’t translated into more comic book sales. Additionally, comic book fans have slowly but surely have stopped reading and, more importantly, purchasing comics as well. So, yeah, Marvel needed something “sexy” to draw attention to them. It seems that making Captain America a Hydra agent was the way to do it.
And it’s working. The comic book world is abuzz with the news that good ol’ Cap is actually a member of a former Nazi group and has been all this time. A lot of news outlets are covering this very story right now and fans like myself, who haven’t touched a comic for years, have stood up and taken notice at what Marvel is doing to our “precious” and “heroic” Captain America. I’m guess that, because of all of this uproar, sales for Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 is going through the roof.
Even I’m not immune to they hype as I am curious to find out where this little juicy tidbit will go and how it will affect the Marvel universe in the long run. The sad thing is, I’ll know I’ll be disappointed. I know Marvel will cop out and reveal Steve wasn’t actually a Hydra agent all this time. My money is on Kobik being the reason for Steve’s apparent change of heart and that she didn’t really realize what she was doing then.
Will this be enough to draw back readers and actually get new readers? In the short term, probably. But, in the long run, this isn’t the way to go. This is a good way to get the buzz going but not a good way to sustain interest. I used to collect comics because I loved the characters and the adventures and the complex stories. I loved The Dark Phoenix Saga as it was a great tragic story. The Infinity Gauntlet was a great tale that saw hundreds of heroes apparently perish at the hand of Thanos. Crisis of Infinite Earths successfully managed to merge the crazy infinite Earths gimmick DC relied on during the Silver Age. The Killing Joke was an engrossing tale where you actually got to dive into the crazy thoughts of The Joker.
All of these comics had stories that reverberated throughout both the Marvel and DC universes but they never felt like a gimmick. They felt like they were going to have a huge impact on future stories and they all did. But they also made sense. You can see where all of them where leading to and you got excited.
Captain America stating he’s been Hydra all this time out of the blue feels forced. It feels like a betrayal of the character and it feels like Marvel has betrayed Captain America fans, nay, comic book fans everywhere. But, hey, if it makes them money, who am I to complain?
It’s not like I’m going to read it.
What do you think of Captain America revealing to be a Hydra operative? Let me know in the comments section below!