Hail Hydra? Are you kidding me?
Not getting paid to say these things. Have no eggs in this basket. Nothing vested other than my 40 years of reading comics: Nope. Can’t believe they went there. Why? Here’s why.
What Marvel’s writers have just said is no matter how many times we have watched Captain America struggle against impossible odds as little more than a man draped in a flag-colored costume and managing to find a way to succeed, we are told now, his revelations of worthiness to wield one of the most powerful weapons of mass destruction were somehow a mind-fake and that instead, Captain America’s worthiness has managed to hide beneath it, the ability to be a ruthless, HYDRA agent for 40+ years.
Just in case you missed it…
So no, I don’t see how Captain America #1 couldn’t have done this:
Could Marvel be so lazy as to recycle the very plot from the second Captain America movie where we discover that HYDRA has infiltrated SHIELD and hiding in plain sight.
Or how this very idea is used to defang the Agents of SHIELD and turn them into the Hobos of SHIELD without a decent place (outside of their multibillion dollar jet fortress) to call their home.
Because no writer would take this to its logical conclusion and make Captain America, a subverted agent of HYDRA who killed miscellaneous Flag-themed heroes while working for an organization which basically pwned the greatest spy agency in the world, right?
Right? Because that makes all of these stories invalid…
I mean what was HYDRA doing right then? Engaging in super-expensive masturbation, killing or crippling its membership, demoralizing itself for the sake of hiding Captain America? Do you know how many secret bases of HYDRA the good Captain has destroyed?
The very premise challenges all the coolest stories of what is supposedly no longer the past like this one:
Undoing all those years of Captain America fighting HYDRA, undermining my childhood memories making them little more than dross, right? I mean, what is continuity good for anyway? Where DC’s attempt at Clusterfukium™ Mitigation in Rebirth brought a smile to my face, this made me very sad.
What do I think seriously?
- I don’t know why anyone is upset. They just took the very premise of the Agents of Shield and the Captain America movie and moved it to its logical conclusion.
- The question is HOW they plan to move this story forward and make us not HATE what they do when they are done. I mean it worked for Bucky. The Winter Soldier is the hottest thing since baked potatoes cooked over a nuclear test site.
Marvel Executive and Senior Editor Tom Brevoort assured Time, this was not a gimmick:
Every single month whether it’s a run of the mill month for Captain America or an extraordinary month, our job is to put him in situations that place that character under some degree of pressure and see how he reacts to that. And hopefully our readers are surprised, shocked, elated, see something of themselves, learn something about themselves. To say it’s a gimmick implies that it’s done heedlessly just to shock. The proof is always going to be in the execution. So you’ll have to read the rest of the story to see.
But I certainly believe it’s not a gimmick. It’s a story that we spent a long time on, that’s compelling and captures the zeitgeist of the world. It will make readers wonder how the heck we’ll get out of this.
What do I think of this personally?
- Retroactive manipulations of canon can reek of Clusterfukium™ if handled correctly could become interesting places for familiar characters to show what they are made of, or done improperly blow up like bombs destroying a writer’s credibility and annoying readers who are currently blessed with a plethora of other choices for their monthly comic fix with more choices becoming available daily.
- Since this is early in the storyline, I will not IMMEDIATELY shred Captain America #1. I will give Marvel the opportunity to impress me before I make any long-term statements I could later regret. (Not likely but okay, it could happen…)
But to make this work someone will have to create a story which makes me accept the idea of the entire history of this character, the most upright member of Marvel Superhero Brigade, literally one of the best and brightest, somehow going from being worthy to wield the most dangerous weapon of mass destruction on Marvel’s Earth to becoming an invisibly, murderous psychopath in the employ of the most insidious criminal agency in the Marvel Universe who has had access to the Avengers, the U.S. Government and SHIELD and has never used this access until now —
— Said solution to this problem better look like THIS or we will have words… (insert reality-altering object or villain here for best results)
Clusterfukium™ is a registered trademark of Answer-Man Industries and describes the comic company tendency to create supremely complicated plots which later blow up in their faces cascading through the decades affecting readership for generations. See: Crisis on Infinite Earths or Secret Wars.
Some events of Clusterfukium™ are so catastrophic they breed creations companies will initially regret (See: Beyonder) but will double down on decades later in an effort to convince you these ideas weren’t bad, just badly implemented. (See: Secret Wars II — Beyonders)
Often such events are sprayed with RETCON™ to hide their offensive smell but most fans are too canny to be confused for long.
- Was there any underlying truth to the idea that if you cut off one of Hydra’s heads (i.e., the movie Hydra), two will sprout — or was that just Red Skull hype?
- How is Hydra still present in Ant-Man, when the last of them were eliminated in the Avengers Age of Ultron?
- What about the Villains of the Marvel Universe? Will they retain jobs? Do they have a future with all of the heroes becoming cool and villainous?
The Answer-Man’s Archives are a collection of my articles discussing superheroes and their powers in relationship to their respective universes. You can find other Archives on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange or at The World According to Superheroes.
Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. Since they insist on constant entertainment and can’t subscribe to cable, Thaddeus writes a variety of forms of speculative fiction to appease their hunger for new entertainment.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies: Awesome Allshorts: Last Days and Lost Ways (Australia, 2014), The Future is Short(2014), Visions of Leaving Earth (2014), Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond (2014), Genesis Science Fiction (2013), Scraps (UK, 2012), and Possibilities (2012).