Just to catch you up to speed, this week Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 was released, which featured the triumphant return of the original Captain America. Steve is young and virile again and once more the defender of freedom! But wait, maybe not so, as at the end of the issue, Cap seems to murder a fellow superhero and spouts the now famous words: “Hail Hydra.”
Could it be? Has Marvel’s top hero gone over to the dark side?! Even more, HAS HE BEEN A NAZI ALL ALONG!? Probably not. And if he HAS secretly been with Hydra all this time, it will be explained somehow. It is science fiction, after all. ANYTHING can happen. But still, the writer of the story, Nick Spencer has gotten death threats, among other things. And the whole point is to make the reader wonder how it’s all going to be okay in the end. It’s sort of what comics do...it’s how a story arc is crafted.
This is from Wikipedia: “The purpose of a story arc is to move a character or a situation from one state to another; in other words, to effect change. This change or transformation often takes the form of either tragicfall from grace or a reversal of that pattern. One common form in which this reversal is found is a character going from a situation of weakness to one of strength.”
I shouldn’t need to explain any further, but I will. Let’s get this thing clear, comic companies have used the “hero gone bad” thing to sell comic books for generations. Case in point, let me bring you back to before the internet allowed people to form dumb opinions on something before they see or read it: Uncanny X-Men #275 written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Jim Lee. At the end of the issue, it certainly seems that Professor X had mind controlled the Shi’ Ar Imperial Guard and Gladiator to do his evil bidding! Shocking! WHY? HOW? We needed to buy the next issue to find out. GASP!
Turns out he was a Skrull and they had been keeping the real Xavier imprisoned. That next issue even had a cover featuring Wolverine seemingly murdering “Xavier”. The X-Men had used covers and story arcs to make the reader think one of the characters had gone bad for SO long...as long as I can remember. And usually it involved Wolverine on the cover standing over a teammate’s body. If anyone ever had a problem with it back then, they had to stew about it at home or at the comic shop, maybe write Marvel an angry letter. I doubt any of those were actual “death threats” even. The level of disgruntlement in comic fandom has risen to a ridiculous level. Actually writing out a letter and putting a stamp on it and putting it in a mailbox takes SO MUCH ENERGY! It seems the less effort it takes to do things the more the person's intelligence level seems to drop.
And if you think Marvel is the only publisher who pulls this stuff....let’s look at some Silver Age Superman, shall we? There is an entire website devoted to him doing stuff out-of-character. Are you angry that Captain America, a character created by Jewish writers and artists, maybe part of an organization evolved from the Nazi party? Let’s look at this decades old World’s Finest cover where SUPERMAN seems to have taken over the world and doing the “Heil Hitler” arm motion. HOW DID THEY GET AWAY WITH IT?!!?!? No internet. Simple as that. Also? Nobody actually BELEIVED any of it was true. They just sat back and enjoyed the story as everything was explained. Or they didn’t. Maybe everyone that actually spent money on the book hated the thing. Nobody knew or cared about some other fan’s opinion unless they knew them and told them to their face. And I’m beginning to think it should have stayed that way.
Oh, and not long ago DC ran a comic where in an alternate world Superman was raised in Nazi Germany, and helped them win the war. Yeah, there was some raised eyebrows, but nothing like this. Alternate reality or no...it’s basically the same thing as what they are doing with Cap.
Daredevil has led the Hand, Hal Jordan has gone insane and murdered the Green Lantern Corps in cold blood, Scarlet Witch nearly eradicated mutantkind, Invincible’s dad Omni-Man’s reveal of being a world conquering alien was one of that book’s first major arcs, Terra and Jericho both betrayed the Teen Titans in allegiance to Deathstroke, HAVE WE FORGOTTEN DARK PHOENIX?!!
What’s in common with all of those “heel turns” if you will? Each and every one of them recovered from their fall from grace. Their hero status was eventually restored. I’d bet money Cap will end up the same. It’s just a STORY, people!!! Either read it to see what happens or don’t read it at all. Nobody’s forcing you to. But most importantly, stop the insanity!!! Making such a fuss over pure fiction is only ruining the fun for the rest of us!!
And yes, there have been cases like Maxwell Lord and Superboy Prime where they've gone bad for good. But let's be honest...those were VERY special cases and VERY low-key, irrelevant characters. Never has a MAJOR hero that makes tons of revenue for a company gone over to the dark side for good. It's not even economically smart!! If you think there isn't some long term plan to make Captain America even MORE of a hero than before through this story, well, good for you and all that free thinking...but you're so wrong.
And I’m sick of this “ruining my childhood” nonsense. Unless you actually have a working time machine that’s completely impossible to do. Unless you are currently a CHILD it’s also impossible. Come to think of it...if you are saying that, you are admitting you are nothing more than a childish, whiny sorry excuse for an adult, which more likely than not...is the case in these “outraged death threat sending anti-Hydra Cap people”. I’ve been told I have a “Peter Pan complex”, I surround myself with superhero merch, cartoons, toys, comics and video games and have done so for as long as I can remember...but I would NEVER wish death on someone over nothing more than another comic book “hero gone bad” story arc. THAT’S as childish as it gets.
I was more upset when they made Barbara Gordon, a character that became more useful to Batman as Oracle, and a role model to disabled comic fans, walk again. Nobody batted an eye when that happened. But oh well...it’s not like I held it against Gail Simone when that happened. In fact, I met her right after she wrote that story and we had a nice talk about it.
Well, I don’t usually do these opinion pieces, but I needed to get my thoughts out there. You are free to share yours as well...I just ask that, unless you ENJOY being seen as a genuine oblivious idiot, you think things through before you send it out into the world.
That will be all for now, guys and gals! Until next time, enjoy your funny books for what they are, and bleed out!