The Captain America craze continues! Yesterday we looked at the trending hashtag of #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend that was circulating on Twitter urging Disney to make Steve Rogers homosexual or bisexual. Now today, being New Comics Wednesday, Marvel is adding to Cap’s near-omnipotence with the release of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. Not only is the patriotic superhero everywhere and anywhere these days, but a secret has been revealed as to Captain America’s true self <Spoilers Ahead>
He’s back! The original Sentinel of Liberty returns, with a new shield, a new team, and a new mission! And he’s not the only one who’s back! Like the saying goes– cut off one LIMB, two more will take its place! HAIL HYDRA!
A new twist has developed with the debut of the all-new series Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. Turns out if you have been a long time follower of Cap in the comics, you may have picked up on what Marvel divulges with this issue. It is suggested in this premiere issue that Captain America, Steve Rogers, this entire time has been affiliated with Hydra. Yes THAT Hydra. The one he so often faced throughout the years. The organization that stood against everything Cap holds dear. The former Nazi collaborators who spread fear, terror and death all across the globe. Why, Cap why?
In an exclusive interview with TIME Magazine, Marvel Comics’ Executive Editor Tom Brevoort spoke about the big reveal, signs in prior stories that were clues that this was coming, and the comparison of the language used to the current political scene in the U.S.
TIME: How did Marvel decide to make Steve Rogers a secret Hydra operative?
Tom Brevoort: Nick Spencer, who is the writer of the series, pitched us the story as part and parcel of restoring Steve to his youth and vigor. In the comics, he’s been old for awhile. The super soldier serum that was keeping him young had been broken down, so for the 75th anniversary, Nick had this notion that we were going to restore him. But then we went into this other story about Hydra, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
TIME: If readers go back and look at older comics, will this hold up?
Tom Brevoort: It will. Issue 2 kind of winds the clock back a little bit and lays out exactly how and why things are the way they are. And it lays out a roadmap for where things are headed in the future. At this point, I don’t want to say too much definitively because I want people to read the comic books. But people will be able to connect the dots and follow the trail of breadcrumbs.
TIME: How long has this been in the works?
Tom Brevoort: Almost since the beginning of when Nick started writing the Captain America titles, which would have been the end of 2014. So right around there the conversations first started about this. It’s been in the works for more than a year.
TIME: What does this mean for the Marvel Universe?
Tom Brevoort: It means on the most fundamental level that the most trusted hero in the Marvel universe is now secretly a deep-cover Hydra operative, a fact that’s really only known to the readers and to him. That makes every interaction he has with anyone take on a second layer, a second meaning.
TIME: In the comic the Red Skull of Hydra talks about “criminal trespassers” who “make a mockery” of America’s borders and calls the refugees in Germany an “invading army” bringing “fanatical beliefs and crime” to Europe. Obviously, this hate speech is nothing new for the organization, but it sounds like rhetoric we’ve been hearing this election. Is that purposeful?
Tom Brevoort: We try to write comics in 2016 that are about the world and the zeitgeist of 2016, particularly in Captain America. Nick Spencer, the writer, is very politically active. He’s a Capitol Hill head and following this election very closely. So we can talk about political issues in a metaphoric way. That’s what gives our stories weight and meat to them. Any parallels you have seen to situations real or imagined, living or dead, is probably intentional but metaphorically not literally.
TIME: What are we supposed to think about the fact that someone literally named CaptainAmerica now supports these beliefs?
Tom Brevoort: Again, I don’t want to say anything too definitively because we’re laying out the story. But we want to push that button. There should be a feeling of horror or unsettledness at the idea that somebody like this can secretly be part of this organization. There are perfectly normal people in the world who you would interact with on a professional level or personal level, and they seem like the salt of the earth but then it turns out they have some horrible secret — whether it’s that they don’t like a certain group of people or have bodies buried in their basement.
You should feel uneasy about the fact that everything you know and love about Steve Rogers can be upended.
TIME: To ask the blunt question, is this a gimmick?
Tom Brevoort: 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.
What are your thoughts? Is this a bad move by Marvel which tarnishes the image he has had for decades? Or is this smart and bold that could create some compelling storylines? On top of that, would you want to see this reveal to carry over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well? Let us know in the comments!