So the truth about Hydra Cap has been revealed. And by none other than Marvel Editor-in-Chief Alex Alonso himself in an interview with the website ComicBook.com. But before we reveal what I am sure will be a thrilling, imaginative, and original plot twist (she said with an unconvincing smile and a deeply sarcastic tone), let’s review my concerns about this whole storyline in my first initial post about the Hydra Cap story. Long story short: Geeks OUT. In that post, I said that it did not matter what the real story turned out to be because the damage was done and no one cared about whatever the inevitable twist would be. I personally feel that this is still true. Nonetheless, let's have it.
The reason why Steve Rogers is a seemingly murderous Hydra plant is... "Steve's memories of indoctrination were implanted by Kobik, the sentient Cosmic Cube who became a girl. Not only that, but Kobik has been under the influence of Steve Rogers's most fearsome archenemies, the Red Skull, for months."
1. The Red Skull showing up in a Cap book elicits the same reaction from me that daleks do when they show up in an episode of Doctor Who.
Axel Alonso says even he was initially skeptical of this story...
"I reacted with the same kind of skepticism I do in most things. My reaction was somewhat similar to how I reacted to the Superior Spider-Man because it's a very ambitious plan and it encapsulated characters in a sinister light. I think what became clear was that there was a real fantastic story to be told through Captain America, a hero who is dressed in red, white and blue, that would build to all sorts of questions and conversations while leading to something very big in the Marvel universe. So yes. It took a little while but I got onboard."
2. Remember how Nick Spencer and Co. said that this whole Hydra Cap thing wasn’t going to be a gimmick? They said this was the real Steve Rogers and that he wasn't being mind-controlled, brain-switched or anything else? So I guess memory modification doesn't count? Not to mention this is reminiscent of the time Red Skull brainwashed Sharon Carter in the original Civil War event. Under Skull’'s influence Sharon, loyal agent of SHIELD and Steve's sometimes girlfriend, shot and "killed" Steve. A character with decades of very clear loyalties unexpectedly did the unthinkable because they were under the influence of an outside entity (the same one, it turns out). Yep. So fresh and original.
The unofficial theme song of Marvel Comics:
I do find it interesting that Axel Alonso himself is out here trying to reassure fans that we’ll be happy in the end if we hand over our dollars and pretend they say “In Marvel We Trust.” This honestly feels a wee bit like backpedaling on Alonso’s part. Though he insists that ….
"This book features a character dressed in red, white and blue. That type of character is going to deal with themes and problems that are different from, say, the Incredible Hulk or even Spider-Man. Our writer, Nick Spencer, was selected as the writer of this book for a lot of reasons, one of which is the fact that he is very well read on history and on politics, and he's not afraid to tackle some of these issues in the course of our book. I think first and foremost that that's part of the experience of reading Captain America from here on in is that this is a book that's really, really fertile ground for exploring the story of a deep-cover operative. What's more deep cover than the most trusted superhero in the universe operating with an ulterior motive? A sinister agenda? You don't have to search far and wide to start seeing the topical things we're dealing with right now in this post-9/11 world."
Okay....how, exactly, does this apply to our current post-9/11 America? While I suspect that Donald Trump is in fact the Red Skull (so many things would make sense if he were), I don't think any of our politicians can use the excuse of having their memories modified by a super being under the influence of an evil supervillain when explaining their bad senate and/or congressional voting records. That's on them. And I'm pretty sure that the closest thing we have to Captain America is, ironically, North AMERICAN Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"Captain America, one of the most trusted superheroes in the Marvel universe, is not exactly who you think he is. He is operating with a different and sinister intent now and every interaction that we see from here on in will be shaded by that. That's a story that Nick wanted to tell, and that's a story that's going to be fascinating for the next two months and a story that's going to build to big, big things within the Marvel universe as well."
"That's a story that's going to be fascinating for the next two months"
Me until September:
When asked if Red Skull's re-appearance is going to be explained (but does anyone actually care where the Red Skull has been?) and how he thinks fans will react, Alonso had this to say:
"Issue two is going to blow people's minds. It’s a dense read. It's challenging. What it reveals takes some processing. This isn't the time or the place for us to be explaining what the Red Skull's been up to. You're going to be rewarded as we peel back the layers of this."
Fans, five seconds after having their minds blown:
I will say that I am legitimately interested in how Spencer will handle the people closest to Steve. Does he have the skill to pull off the suspenseful Manchurian Candidate story he sees this as? Can Steve fool the ones he loves, experienced superheroes, SHIELD agents, and people who have known him for years, without making them hopelessly and unbelievably blind or naive? As a political buff who was supposedly chosen for this story because of his nuanced knowledge, can he handle with sensitivity a story that many see as character assassination at best and antisemitic at worst? Are the changes to the Marvel universe that happen as a result of this story that Alonso hints at in the interview things we are going to spend the next 10 years praying get retconned?
We shall see. But in the mean time...
The Fans vs. Marvel