Captain America has gone to the dark side. That’s probably enough for some readers to stop reading this now. Anyhow, for those of you not in the know, Steve Rogers, his now the Supreme Leader of Hydra, Marvel’s most high-profile terrorist organization.
Cap’s arch-enemy, The Red Skull, used a sentient Cosmic Cube, Kobik, to change Cap’s past so that he’s always been a Hydra Agent. In essence, every writer that’s ever written a Captain America story, wrote about a sleeper agent of a Nazi affiliated terrorist group.
In a time where the political climate of the US is a quagmire of differing ideologies, we can see that a story like this would be a sign of the times. Captain America’s status quo have readers split. The changes attributed to Captain America has angered many longtime readers. They believe that taking the backbone, the consummate Marvel idealist and turning him into a ruthless terrorist, goes beyond the pale. However, others feel that this change in Cap’s personality make this story and the character more compelling.
Some readers are convinced that others fear change, however, others are genuinely appalled that a character, created by two Jewish Men, is now the leader of an organization with ties to the Nazis. This is the man who punched Hitler!!! Being a Cap fan myself for many years, I can understand that point of view.
Marvel is repeating history. In 1994, Marvel embarked on a similar ambitious event with the Spider-Man Clone Saga. Readers discovered that the Peter Parker whose adventures readers had been following since 1975 (Amazing Spider-Man #149) was a clone. This infuriated longtime readers and drove many of them away from the books. However, Ben Reilly (the clone, the Scarlet Spider) became popular with some readers. Marvel is doing the same thing with Captain America, but with tighter control. Instead of dealing with clones, Cap’s a terrorist and his one time partner, The Falcon, has taken up the mantle of Captain America.
Change is good; however, good changes are even better. We’ll know how this all pans out in the near future. After surviving the draining of the Super Soldier Serum and even death, how does Captain America recover from this? During this run, Cap has killed heroes and betrayed all of his core principles. The events in Captain America: Steve Rogers and Secret Empire are compelling, but can’t simply be reset. Will there be real, long-lasting consequences? We’ll see, but this definitely isn’t your father’s Captain America.
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