*Major Spoiler Warning For Civil War II, Secret Empire and Captain America : Steve Rogers*
Imagine for me, if you will, that you’re a seven or eight year old that’s going to Free Comic Book Day. You’re looking through and you pick up different ones here and there but then you see one called Secret Empire and it has Captain America on the cover. Well you love the Marvel films and love everything about Captain America…until you pick it up and realize that the entire issue is all of your favorite heroes being defeated by Captain America and agents of Hydra in the most brutal way possible.
Vision is infected with a virus, Scarlet Witch goes Catatonic, Thor drops the hammer, Black Widow gets shot, Iron Man gets stabbed, Quicksilver gets electrocuted, both Spider-Men are beaten within an inch of their life…and it’s lead by Captain America who then is able to pick up Mjolnir for himself while he stands on top of the bodies of Spider-Man(Peter Parker), Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Quicksilver and Hulk.
Quick Recap : All of your heroes have been defeated before your eyes, Mjolnir’s entire history is rewritten…thus ruining most Thor stories, your other heroes like Captain Marvel and the Guardians are about to be killed by an alien race and worst of all : It was all part of Steve Roger’s Plan. He wanted to destroy the entire Marvel universe from within and he’s not brainwashed. It’s all him.
Everything I just told you about happens in a free comic that Marvel has published for mass production…that’s primarily targeted for children and people looking to get into Comics for the first time. In other words, This is the Fall of Heroes, The Fall of Good Writers, This is the Fall of The House of Marvel.
I don’t want to write this article. I want to tell you that everything is perfect in Marvel Comics, but as a Writer and a Fan I can’t sit idly by and allow this to continue without writing against it and that starts with this : I’m Sorry. I was Wrong.
A little under a year ago I wrote an article defending Nick Spencer’s Captain America plot twist where he was revealed as a Hydra Agent. I even compared the man to Stan Lee. I have never been so wrong and I want to apologize for the article because Spencer and Marvel have since proven that they don’t actually care about their fans thoughts and ignore the problems with Sales.
I want to be wrong about this article so badly, but I don’t see it happening.
Let’s rewind about about a year and a half ago. Marvel has acquired writers such as Kelly Thompson, Chelsea Cain, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Dennis Hopeless, Greg Pak over the preceding months and is focusing on building up a lot of their lesser known heroes and books and allowing them to flourish and become headliners alongside the likes of Iron Man and Captain America and everything seems to be going good. Secret Wars was a great event and we’ve got some really interesting storylines on the horizon with only a few problems here and there.(And that mainly depends on your view of Jane Foster as Thor.) It looked like Marvel was on the way to a brilliant new age of wonder and Then it all starts to fall apart around the time that Civil War II happens : War Machine gets killed by Thanos, Hulk gets killed, Hawkeye is his killer and is now on the run, Iron Man’s in a coma, Captain Marvel is now an outcast and of course : Steve Rogers is a Hydra Agent.
Seriously, It was like The Red Wedding of Comics. Joe Quesada, Axel Alonso, and Tom Brevoort basically came up to us and said “Rob Liefeld sends his regards” and then stabbed us. (I know that Bendis wrote most of the events I just spoke about but I feel like there was a lot of editorial interference during that.) But many of us still had hope, we said “Wait and see what happens.” “Nick Spencer’s had a good run.” or “It’s not the same Steve Rogers or something like that.” But we were all deceived just like the characters in the story and I get it : “Hey, let’s boost sales and get people talking about crazy things.” But that’s where their problem lies, no one likes this storyline. The only marvel comics that have consistently been selling were either Spider-Man or Star Wars Titles and that makes sense considering most of those have phenomenal writers with them whereas Nick Spencer is all flash and no substance. Once again, I admit that was wrong to write my previous article about Nick Spencer being a decent writer…but here’s why I did it.
Most people know me to be an optimist but I also try to think things through logically and logic never allowed to considered that they would actually do this with Cap. When Steve originally said, “Hail Hydra” for the first time it was at the end of his first new comic for a while and this was after he and Sharon had discussed them doing something drastic to take down this new Hydra regime. So I thought : “Hey, he’s gonna be deep undercover and then he’ll have to keep his secret and it’s basically gonna be like 24 only starring Steve Rogers.” All of that would’ve been fine but then they made it seem like he was brainwashed and I was ok with it…it’s incredibly overdone but comics have always redone a lot of storylines before but then the unthinkable happened. What’s changed in the last few months is that it’s not brainwashing, or regular reality warping that has changed him. No, what happened was the Cap that we knew was from a fake version of reality where WWII was won by the allies and Cap was a hero. Instead, what Nick Spencer is saying is that the Axis was the actual winners of the war and that the Steve Rogers we’re seeing now is the real one.
Let that sink in. Axel Alonso, Tom Brevoort and Joe Quesada all allowed Nick Spencer to say that the actual reality is one where the Nazi’s won WWII. That hurt and offended me just by writing about it. So just take a second before you continue reading.
Still here? Ok, so let’s just skip how offensive that is from a historical level because clearly Marvel doesn’t care about that. Let’s stick with what we know for right now. Marvel comics has a plethora of characters and if they’re going to do this storyline then I can’t think of a character that this would be worst for except Magneto, Black Widow or any character of Color. Literally name another Marvel character and the storyline could possibly work but not this symbol of hope. Which, by the way, has died. Rick Jones is a character that has evolved through the years but he’s basically the Jimmy Olsen of Marvel. Recently he was a tech-whiz that spilled a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. secrets and then spilled Hydra ones as well. After this happens he’s captured for treason and tell’s Steve that Captain America is still his hero.(Wait, it gets worse.) Then he’s going to be executed by Firing Squad and his last words are “Avengers Assemble!” right before he gets mowed down. Yup, Congratulations Kids. There go all of your hopes and dreams.
Obviously this offends me as a Captain America fan but I’m fine. I’ve been through comic mishaps before and I still believe in heroes and I know that following this they’ll try to get Cap back on top eventually but the reason I’m worried is because we’re at a new place and Marvel has a lot of work to do to fix things. They have some absolutely amazing writers and if you stick to the right books then Marvel’s ok right now but this is a line wide event that makes multiple people uncomfortable. Marvel has also sent out promotional materials designed to be a Hydra Takeover of Comic Book stores and of different comic sites(It will not happen here. Period.) but different stores have spoken against it. The most poignant being from Greg Gage in Utah saying : “There’s a rise of anti-Semitic behavior in this world right now. The last thing I want to do is force my queer, Jewish employee to wear a Hail Hydra shirt.” I don’t blame him and yes, other stores like the event and are using it to boost their sales. That’s their right and they’re more than welcome to support it but as for me. I don’t support it.
Marvel has even had the audacity to say that the recent sales numbers could’ve been caused by Diversity and people’s hesitance to support Female Heroes or Heroes of Color. Considering that Black Panther was the best selling comic of 2016 and that characters like Kamela Khan and Miles Morales are fan favorites I’m fairly sure that isn’t the problem.
I just don’t know how they’re gonna turn it around and make this seem better for the company as a whole. I will be getting Secret Empire over the next few months but it’s only to stay up-to-date on the story. I’m ready for Marvel Generations/Legacy which is going to follow Secret Empire and is supposedly about getting back to the basic Marvel characters which could definitely turn things around but it’s still not going to be easy.
In conclusion, I miss Marvel. I miss Captain America. I’ll always believe that it will get better but it’s difficult when one of the heroes I learned that from has become a villain.