Wednesday, May 25, 2016

When Our Heroes Say "Hail Hydra"


Today Marvel "revealed" that Captain America is--and supposedly "always has been"--an agent of Hydra. 
Over at Marvel, the first issue of Steve Rogers: Captain America sheds new light on the hero’s past that has a great effect on his present. This issue, written by Nick Spencer and drawn by Jesus Saiz, reveals that Rogers’s mother was recruited by Hydra, one of Marvel’s terrorist groups. Flash forward to today and Captain America is suddenly doing some terrible things: pushing an ally out of a plane and, on the last page, proclaiming, “Hail Hydra.” (New York Times)
If this twist has indeed been planned by Marvel creators from the beginning, it really is a poor piece of storytelling. 

Story twists should be shocking, yes; however, they should also be immediately clear to readers, throwing former plot points into a new, compelling light. "Of course!" readers should exclaim, clutching their hair, "I should have seen this coming! It all makes so much sense now!" 

The Captain America twist doesn't work like that. Instead, it comes out of left field, feeling a lot more like an intentional re-branding of a straightforward character than legitimate, layered storytelling about a complex antihero.

Could this be more evidence of our society's obsession with subverting everything that is good? Within the Marvel Universe, Cap stands for truth and right in a way no other character does. He's the straightest of straight arrows. As such, he's the antithesis of a society that values subjectivity, grey areas, and irresponsibility.

Here's the beautiful truth, however. In subverting Captain America's goodness by branding him a villain, writers are merely acknowledging an older and more binding truth.


Not even Cap.


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