Captain America.

Spoiler alert for the comic Captain America: Steve Rogers #1.

So recently, the comic Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 came out and revealed a big secret at the end: Cap has actually been Hydra this entire time. For those who don’t quite know what I’m talking about: in the Marvel universe, Hydra is an organization bent on global domination and often associated with the Nazi party of WWII Germany. So much of Captain America’s history in both the comics (from what I understand) and movies has been him fighting against this organization.

I am not huge into comics but I have been a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a few years now and Steve has always been one of my favorite characters. To see him become a Hydra agent is incredibly heartbreaking for so many reasons – especially because the character was originally created by two Jewish men. Hell, one of the biggest images of the Captain was him punching Hitler (as shown to the right).

For me, this change in character seems more about a shock value and unexpected twist than anything else and it feels like a weird way in which to sell the comic. But shock value doesn’t always mean that it’s great writing or a good direction to go in (as often shown with Steven Moffat’s run of the rebooted Doctor Who).

The writers and editor of this issue have spoken about why they decided to make Captain a HYDRA agent and the issue’s editor, Tom Brevoort, said the following about the change:

“In the zeitgeist of the moment that we’re in, in the middle of sort of a very volatile election cycle where there’s a lot of strange things going on in the world of politics, and the world and the country, it feels kind of appropriate, kind of right timing-wise, that you could get a revelation like this and it not feel out of step with where the nation happens to be in the moment,” … (from ABC News)

I can understand this sentiment, however much I disagree with it. They wanted Cap to be more of a reflection on the U.S. as it stand today – which in many ways related to HYDRA. But as much as I can understand it, I also disagree with it. Captain America should be the representation of the best U.S. can be, not the worst and there are so many other ways in which to tackle what’s happening now in the U.S. without drastically changing the core of an important comic book character. And the Twitter hashtag #SayNoToHYDRACap indicates that I’m not the only one frustrated with this change.

With all of this, I’ve also been thinking about how many have called for Steve Rogers to be bisexual in canon. The hashtag #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend has called for just that, in part because of Steve’s friendship with Bucky Barnes in MCU. I think that giving Cap a boyfriend could be a good thing because representation is so incredibly important. But at the same time, I definitely think that Cap should be bisexual – not because I think that having a major gay character in Marvel would be a bad thing (I would actually love that so so much) but rather, I think that having him be bi would be incredible representation and be compatible to his history and him as a character.

It has been super interesting to read the responses to this big reveal in Steve Rogers #1 and I guess we’ll see how the next few issues pan out.

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6 thoughts on “Captain America.

  1. Like you I was never big into these comics but have been a fan of the movies. I never expected to like Captain America. Over the top patriotism does not sound appealing to me. But then after coming to know the character, through the movies, and some info on his background in the comics, I came to see him differently. This article describes a lot of what I have come to love about his character: http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2016/02/nerd-role-models-captain-america-and-non-toxic-masculinity/ So this “reveal” does really bother me. So much for that nerd role model, whose symbol and “weapon” of choice is a shield, who has come to be known for defending others and always stranding up for what is right.

    Yes, America is headed in a pretty terrible direction right now in many ways, but that actually is a great reason to keep Captain America as someone who does what is right no matter how many people disagree, and who fights to defend others. The fear, hate, and violence in this country are all the more reason to have a role model who shows it does’t have to be that way.

    Rather this change actually seems more a way for bullies and hate mongers to be able to see themselves in a superhero.

    • I TOTALLY agree! I’m the exact same in that over the top patriotism isn’t really my thing (and I find patriotism for the sake of patriotism is misleading and often ignores the really shitty stuff we as a country have done and continue doing…).

      “Rather this change actually seems more a way for bullies and hate mongers to be able to see themselves in a superhero.”

      YES – that’s perfectly said and not something that I fully explored while writing this post.

  2. I’m not well-versed in Marvel Comics, and even I think this is a STUPID idea.

    I mean, Isn’t Captain America meant to embody the spirit of what is right? Wouldn’t this feel like a giant middle finger to readers who know this character well?

    • That’s what I’ve always thought! I’m also not well versed in the comics but the character in the cinematic world does seem more to embody what’s right and what we as a country should be aspiring to.

  3. I am big into Captain America comics, and trust me, this doesn’t add up. GOD. They fucking ruined my favorite character, like, how can they do something like this? And why? I kind of see what they were trying to accomplish, but they did it wrong? Steve hasn’t represented America since the war was over, Steve represents what America SHOULD be. He can fuck up and make mistakes, but he always tries to do the right thing, he has good and honest intentions, always. That’s his main character trait: he stands up for what he believes is right. Steve was specifically chosen to test the serum because he was (is) “not a perfect soldier, but a good man”. And they turn it right back around into “Hail Hydra” ? Like ??????

    It is so incredibly stupid that I don’t even know where to start. Captain America was specifically created as anti-Nazi propaganda. And Steve agreed to be the guinea pig, not because he wanted “to kill some Nazis” but because he hated bullies. Nick fucking Spencer took a character that was physically abused by his drunk of a father and couldn’t stand up for himself, he took a character that was bullied not only at school but also at home, he took a character that was created by two Jewish authors, a character that has personally helped me always at least try to do the right thing, a character whose offense is defense, a character that represented hope and kindness and honesty and so much more to so many people and he just fucked it all up. And for what? To indirectly turn him into the biggest bully ever? Hail Hydra, my ass.

    I wanted to make a post about this fuckfest myself, but everytime I try, it just turns into a huge tirade and I get angry all over again. Thank you for making this post so I can at least comment on it. It is so nice to see that half the world is against this massive asshole and his need for attention.

    On another note, as a bisexual girl myself, I have always liked the take Steve as bisexual. It would be soooo great, I mean can you imagine being a young boy struggling with his sexuality and having Captain America as a role model? It is so very telling that they would rather have Cap be evil than bi, it’s digusting. Sorry for the super long comment, but this just really bothered the fuck out of me, and your post presented the perfect oppurtunity to rant to someone who seems to understand. So, thanks for that.

    • Thank YOU for the comment – you’ve captured a lot of my own emotions around this whole thing. And you’re totally right – Captain America has always been what American SHOULD be, not a reflection of what it already is.

      Also I would literally cry if he was officially bi because it would be so affirming to see more bi representation and help combat the erasure of bi men.

      I just can’t thank you enough for this comment and it’s always wonderful to know that I’m not the only one feeling like this.

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