It’s been a day since the world discovered that the beloved bastion of all things right and good, Captain America, is and always has been an agent of Hydra. To say this has created a buzz would be an understatement. The story was headline news everywhere, even on outlets like CNN. The fan reaction, though, has been far from positive.
Marvel has completely gutted one of their flagship characters just for the sake of shock value and getting some cheap press. To put this into perspective, Steve Rogers having been a double agent for Hydra from the beginning is like Bruce Wayne having murdered his parents and took up the Batman persona to take out the criminal element in Gotham so that he could become the kingpin with no rivals (please don’t do this DC…but if you do, you can make my royalty check out to “cash”). Would it be a shocking revelation? No doubt. But would it also turn 75+ years of story into a lie? Absolutely. Let’s also not pretend that shock necessarily equates to good storytelling. Just because something is a surprise, it doesn’t mean it’s good…look at the “twist” of any M. Night Shyamalan movie (other than The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable) for proof of this.
What’s worse is that a cheap shock isn’t even the most heinous aspect of this betrayal. Captain America was created by Joe Simon and comic legend Jack Kirby (both Jewish) as a way of protesting the Nazi regime. Cap debuted in March of 1941 (nine months before the attack of Pearl Harbor forced the US into World War II), with Rogers punching Adolph Hitler in the face on the cover. As the United States had not entered the war at the time, Simon and Kirby received death threats from people worried that portraying an American publicly embarrassing Hitler would incite Germany to retaliate. So even from his creation process, Captain America has been an anti-Nazi figure that stands up for what’s right regardless of what’s popular. By now saying that Steve Rogers has always been a part of Hydra, a Nazi organization, Nick Spencer and Marvel have essentially spit on the graves of the Jewish men who created him. This is unacceptable and quite frankly unforgivable. Not to go overboard, but this decision borders on antisemitic.
Will Steve Rogers be a force for good again one day? I’m sure he will. But it will never change what they did to his legacy. Cap has long been the only incorruptible hero left in comics. Now that’s gone. There are no true heroes left. There are no good people left. Nick Spencer didn’t just turn Captain America into a Nazi. He killed goodness in comics.