On May 25, 2016 the world ended.
At least, if you were browsing Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or any form of social media, you may have been led to believe this. The truth is far more sinister: “Captain America: Steve Rogers #1” hit shelves and revealed that our beloved star-spangled Avenger is now – and apparently always has been – HYDRA. Say it ain’t so!
With the second printing announced and the hashtag and petition still not dying, lets explore the seven biggest reasons everyone needs to take a deep breath and stop freaking out over this.
7. Because Death Threats Aren’t Cool
This should go without saying, but apparently it needs saying anyway: This is a comic book. The characters are fictional. No one was harmed or turned evil in the making of this story.
This should be taken into account when considering the fact that writer Nick Spencer and editor Tom Brevoort have been receiving actual death threats over this iconic panel. A small vocal group of fans have even demanded that Marvel shutter their doors over this, and when Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn jumped in to support the company, a “fan” called for his cat to be thrown in a woodchipper. Seriously? It’s not worth this, guys.
6. Because It’s the First Issue Cliffhanger
Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 is the first issue of a new ongoing series. Where will this series take us? We have no idea. I think everyone enraged over the cliffhanger at the end of the first issue needs to breathe and remember that this is the first act in an unfolding story.
Instead of asking “How dare Marvel do this?” and “Why would someone write this?”, try asking the healthier questions, such as “Is Cap really HYDRA?” and “What will happen next issue”?
5. Because The Generalissimo Approves
Sure, Chris Evans has expressed his disappointment in the character’s actions (note: character’s actions, not writer’s) but not everyone is opposed. In fact, Stan Lee himself called it a “crazy but good idea” and questioned why he himself didn’t have the idea years earlier, noting it would get people curious and generate sales.
While Stan the Man didn’t great the character, he was instrumental in bringing him back to the public eye with his grand reappearance in The Avengers #4 in the early 60s.
4. Because of Battleworld
I’m going to admit it here and hope I don’t lose all credibility – I haven’t read the comic in question. Let’s be fair, though; you probably didn’t either. Having kept up with other Marvel lines, I am perfectly aware that up until recently, Marvel comics took place on Battleworld: a patchwork planet formed of different universes. This meant a myriad of Thors, Iron Mans, and yes, Captain Americas roaming about.
Sure, we’re led to believe that this Captain America is the Earth-616 regular comic Cap, but do we know that for sure? For all we know, we’re getting grumpy that in a universe somewhere there is an evil Captain America.
3. Because It’s Almost Definitely Not True
Let’s face it – if Cap was HYDRA, he has spent the last 75 years being about the worst HYDRA agent one could be. Even a double agent is working for the greater cause, yet Cap thwarted HYDRA at every possible turn.
On top of this, Captain America (who has spent the last couple years as an old man) was recently returned to youth by the personification of a cosmic cube. You know, those things villains constantly steal and use to shape reality.
2. Because Nothing In Comics Is Permanent
There’s an old saying that no one stays dead in comics except Bucky, Jason Todd, and Uncle Ben. This was written, of course, before the resurrection of Bucky and Jason Todd. Comic arcs come and go, and while some have a lasting effect, slim to none ever affect things permanently.
Keep in mind that the Avengers broke up in the #10th issue. Spoilers: They assembled at least one more time after that.
1. Because It’s Not the First Time
Captain America has had his identity stolen by Red Skull. He’s been impersonated by a Skrull. He’s been taken over by the Space Phantom. There’s a Venom Cap. Over the last 75 years, Captain America has been evil more time than I can count.