I’m seeing the Internet explode all over the damn place today, thanks to the new reveal about Captain America in the Marvel comics.
I’m not even reading Cap’s title right now; my exposure to him in the comics so far has been his periodic appearances in the titles I have been following. Notably, Black Widow and Captain Marvel, at least prior to the recent universe reset. The vast majority of my experience with the character has been via the movies.
But Cap’s also one of my favorites. I like him for many of the same reasons I like Superman: to wit, I actually appreciate the morally upright “boy scout” type heroes, when they’re done well. And Chris Evan’s portrayal, particularly in the recently released Civil War movie, has always been about his rock-steady moral center.
This new reveal? It’s bullshit. It flies in the face of everything the character has always been about. Not to mention that taking a character created by a couple of Jewish guys and doing this to him is just full of NO.
The reveal in question, I’m putting behind the fold just in case you haven’t managed to see it yet and care about spoilers.
Namely: Steve Rogers has been revealed as an agent of Hydra. All this damn time.
Which means he’s been secretly supporting a fucking Nazi supervillain organization.
Like I said above, I’m not even reading the title, and I feel like I’ve been gutpunched–a testament to the power the character’s had in the MCU so far. And again, particularly in Civil War.
But I know people who do read the title. Hell, a friend of mine and Dara’s cosplays Cap on a regular basis, though she’s doing a genderswapped version she likes to call Stephanie Rogers. And oh boy howdy is she pissed.
What makes this even a little worse for me is the reports I’m seeing that the writers of the line are actually being gleeful about this. And okay, yeah, they’re the writers. They are the ones in charge of what happens with the character, I get that. I also get how comic book storylines work–namely, that reveals of this magnitude, that break so many things established in a character’s continuity, are very rarely ever permanent. I’m putting money down on this change eventually getting retconned out of existence too.
Speaking as a writer myself, I get the need to shake things up in a storyline. I get the power you can deliver by shattering previous conceptions about what a character is.
But speaking as a fan of the MCU version of the character, just… no.
There’s some level of care you need to take deploying changes like this. You need to balance the shock factor and the potential you can mine for new stories against what it’ll do to your readers–and whether a change this shocking is actually one worth pursuing. Particularly if it’s a change so shocking that it may in fact deeply upset a lot of your fanbase.
And if the #SayNotoHYDRACap hashtag on Twitter is any sign, yeah, a lot of the fanbase is deeply, deeply upset.
Cap fans, if you’re among those who are in fact deeply upset by this, I’m so sorry. 🙁 I cannot conceive at the moment of how Marvel might make this right.
And I’ll be over here now nervous about whether they’ll pull this concept into the MCU. I really hope not.
Editing to add: Best reaction I’ve seen on Twitter so far:
Jack Kirby's gonna come out of his grave and punch some people.
— Ally (@inaneenglish) May 25, 2016
To this, I’d like to add that I also want Peggy Carter to step out of her TV show and start cracking some heads for this dirty rotten slander against Steve. I mean HONESTLY, Marvel. Do you really want to piss off Peggy?
Editing to add #2: The Mary Sue has now put up their post about this, over here. Seeing inevitable reactions in the comments along the lines of “changes like this are never permanent in comics”, to wit, yeah, very cognizant of that, as I said above.
But something else I want to add is that it is not for me to tell other fans that they’re having the wrong feelings about a story development. It’s very easy to point and laugh at “fan rage”–but when you have an iconic character like Cap, yeah, people are going to have powerful feelings about a reveal of this magnitude.
Editing to add #3: New favorite reaction on Twitter, which is in turn pulling over a GIF from tumblr:
— Sean Gerber (@MrSeanGerber) May 25, 2016
Editing to add #4: More reactions, this time directly from tumblr:
And here’s that Angry MCU!Cap gif (adapted from Age of Ultron if you don’t recognize the shot)