“Hail Hydra”: Why Nick Spencer isn’t Evil

I would say spoiler warning but no one else has cared about the poor people that were waiting a few days before getting their newest comics. Last week saw the release of Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 By Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz, which I would’ve already written about except that I wrote about DC Rebirth #1 instead which I thought was going to be the biggest news story that day. I was wrong. I had read this issue and really liked it and thought it was an interesting route for Spencer to take but then I got online and the world had exploded. It was met with outrage by many, confusion by most and questions by all. It quickly went all over Facebook, Twitter and just about any outlet where people could complain about things. Even Marvel standbys such as Stan Lee, Chris Evans, Clark Gregg and James Gunn got in on the fun with different opinions and naturally your Fandom Correspondents have some too. WiseSage has already written about how it could always be worse, my article’s going to be a bit different. Whereas Sage’s probably made you laugh and cry at the same time, mine will either calm you down…or make you even  more upset.

I’ve read Nick Spencer’s run on Captain America since he started writing Sam Wilson: Captain America back in November and he has built a story that was not only entertaining but also very topical which is when Cap is at his best, no matter who has the shield. He’s a great writer that can juggle the themes of modern day stories alongside the colorful costumes and wild villains. So knowing that Spencer has already tackled racial prejudice, extortion and brainwashing as primary story lines I think it’s right to assume that he is a writer who takes his craft very seriously and also is someone who isn’t afraid to rattle a few cages. Time for me to get controversial: Spencer reminds me of another writer that didn’t listen when people told him something was a bad idea, Stan Lee. There was once a time where people said that having Spider-Man take on the drug conflict was a bad idea, Lee didn’t care and wrote one of the greatest stories of the 70’s. Now, is Spencer as good as Lee? maybe not but he’s a writer worth trusting in and you have to at least admire his courage to do something different.

I previously wrote about change in comics as a force that is constant. This is something that is especially prevalent in the stories of Captain America.

Remember that last time Captain America went through a major change?



No? What about the time before that?



…and before that


…and of course…The classic change


Captain America has always gone through changes and I think he always should. A few weeks ago, in defense of Superman in the latest DC films, someone wrote that Superman needs to be a mirror image of what America is, I absolutely disagree with that. He’s an ideal for what Americans should strive for and what humans should strive for. Captain America on the other hands needs to be a mirror of the current America. His entire character is based around the idea of America and of traditional ideals and morals that were the standard in the 1940’s, but the question is what happens when they meet modern problems that don’t allow for Morals and Ideals to even be a variable in the gray areas that we live in? That’s what this story will ultimately be about because it’s what is needed. Red Skull’s speeches speak to a generation that is angry and doesn’t know why, which breeds confusion and a longing for purpose, which Skull is more than willing to give…as long as that purpose is the glory of Hydra. Sound Familiar? Cause it should.

So we have modern problems and a classical hero to combat them. But how can he do that if he himself is part of that group?

Well first and foremost, I don’t think that he is actually part of Hydra. At the end of The Free Comic Book Day issue, which was the prologue to this issue, he is shown telling Sharon Carter that to stop this new Hydra he may have to do some things that he isn’t prepared for. That makes me believe that he is just undercover with them. Naturally, I agree that the flashback scenes are done very well to make it seem like this is the new status quo for cap but I just don’t see it. Spencer has said that this is a story that is going to take a long time to resolve so we might not know for sure what’s going on for the next few months so while we won’t ultimately know what’s going on in the next issue I still have faith that it’s going to be a great story.

Another thing to consider is that Tom Brevoort(Editor) and Nick Spencer are both huge Cap fans and I can’t see either of them doing something that would ruin him. But you have to think of the publicity on this, you most likely clicked on this article just because you saw the picture or the title and that speaks volumes of what it’s done in a public sense. This subject has hit major news stations in the same way it did back in 2007 when he “died” which is exactly what the publishers would want.

At the end of all of this I still believe in Captain America and I believe in creators doing stories that aren’t just the same as before. I think Spencer is destined to go down as a truly phenomenal writer and this story is really just the start for him.

Remember, Martin Goodman once told Stan Lee that no one would like a spider themed hero…thank goodness we didn’t have social media in the 60’s.

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