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.
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) 26 May 2016
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).
#SayNoToHYDRACap say it with me kids: shock value does not equal good storytelling
— tony stank (@IKNOWTHATROAD) 25 May 2016
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.
I would LOVE to see Steve as openly bi because like you said saying he’s straight is incredibly presumptuous! https://t.co/hwkyil7vye
— charlie (@contagiousqueer) 29 November 2015
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.