Monday, May 30, 2016

Nerd Mode Engaged: Marvel Comics Rant Initiated

Steve Rogers is a Nazi.  Oh, spoiler alert.   Take two...

So if asked the question "Are you now and have you ever been," it seems Steven "Captain America" Rogers must answer positive to both ends of that question.   Marvel comics just outed one of its flagship characters and icon of all that America stands for as a Nazi agent working for H.Y.D.R.A. (which I will explain in a moment for those who have not seen Winter Soldier, which is one of the few Disney Marvel movies I love) and not only is he NOW working for H.Y.D.R.A. (which I will just call "Nazis" from this point on because it is annoying to type their name), but he has ALWAYS worked for the Nazis dating back not only to his time during WW2, but it appears since birth.  He is, was, and the editors say "will be" an agent for the Nazis, but only the readers know this.  The Marvel editors recently even said:

This is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve.  This is really Steve Rogers, Captain America himself.

Now, H.Y.D.R.A. (last time I am typing that fucking word!) was born from the death of the Nazis and was basically their "Plan B."  They infiltrated the American and Soviet governments via the Cold War's need for scientists and nasty weapons.   They then used their cover to keep America on the brink of war for decades while allowing acts of terrorism and minor wars to keep the people scared and willing to turn over more and more freedom in the name of security.   It was by this less aggressive means that the Nazis would eventually win WW2 and take over the world.

For the entire history of the comic book (Captain America pre-dates Marvel comics), Captain America has been all that stood between the Nazis and their end game.  To have him suddenly outed as a Nazi agent since day one would be akin to finding out James Bond has always been a double agent for S.P.E.C.T.R.E.   This only works if you ignore EVERY SINGLE STORY THAT HAS EVER BEEN TOLD ABOUT THIS CHARACTER SINCE THE DAY THEY WERE CREATED!    

And I'm not even going to get into the fact that this America Icon now deemed a Nazi was created by two Jewish writers because that has nothing to do with the narrative, but it is a slap in the face.

Back to the Nerd Mode:  I am going to use my favorite all time Marvel event to explain exactly why Captain America being a bad guy makes ZERO SENSE: the first Civil War.

In the comics, the break in the Marvel universe happened because a young group of heroes had a reality TV show and went after bad guys above their pay-grade in the name of ratings.   Needless to say, they were defeated, but one of the bad guys used his massive power and the fight ended with over 600 dead, including many children as the fight took place near a school.    The public outcry was quick and the government's response even quicker: All masked heroes must register with S.H.I.E.L.D and become government agents.    Iron Man agreed and became the main force behind getting heroes to register, while Captain America felt such an action violated freedom and put innocent people at risk.   He feared leaks, spies, or Nazi infiltration (which turned out to be the case in a later Marvel event), and he lead the resistance.   Both sides recruited whomever they could get; be it hero of villain, and the fight got nasty.    It ended with Captain America sacrificing himself and turning himself in, not because he was wrong, but in the name of restoring order and hoping for a more peaceful solution. recap: the Nazis were backed by the government and were gathering a database of every single good guy's secret identity and details of their families and it was Nazi Captain America who lead the fight AGAINST it?  Would it not have made more sense to the story if Iron Man was revealed to be a secret Nazi?

Here's my case for Iron Man being the H.Y.D.R.A. agent.  (I can't escape typing that damned word):

  1. His father was a founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D and could have easily gotten his choice of former Nazis through clearance and into ranking positions within the organization.
  2. His father had access to incredible advances in technology.  Having him secretly be a Nazi would explain the Stark Industries dominance in the world.
  3. Captain America and Iron Man have rarely seen eye-to-eye and have often fought.
  4. Tony Stark's personal life can almost be seen as a mockery of America culture and could be used by the organization whose name I am too lazy to type to foster unrest such as Occupy Wall Street.
  5. The imagery of the Iron Man with the Iron Fist works far better to the oppression of that organization than Captain America with his Star-Spangled Shield.
  6. The public would accept it better although the press would have been worse.
I fear the writers at Marvel are going for a specific reference rather than a general idea.  I fear they are commenting on this election cycle and that is not the place for comics IMHO.  

Comics are America Mythology.  Comics are us and these heroes represent our ideals just as the villains represent our fears.   They are nothing more, but nothing less than Roman and Greek Mythology and equally as important.    They tell tales of morality and conflicts of ideals that are timeless and eternal.   Within them are the lessons we teach our kids when they outgrow Mother Goose and Brother Grimm but are not yet ready for Grisham or Ludlum. 

I fear that Marvel is forgetting the deep importance of the comic medium in the name of scoring some fleeting points and sacrificing the greater story for a point in history that won't be as important in the grand scheme as the characters whose ideal and values they have now corrupted forever.    

You can't undo it.   Issue #1 is out, sold, and now part of Marvel History.   Captain America is now and always has been a Nazi.   The editors of Marvel just pissed on a rich history and perverted our mythology in the name of a few headlines.  

Not to mention the collective memories and fantasies and daydreams of how many thousands of children over the last 50 plus years?

Nice job!

1 comment: said...

Once again great content with style. Thoroughly enjoyed it. And even though I don't follow Marvel Comic Books that closely, your clever way of fusing humor/ irony/ cultural/ historical context made me relate to and be more open to your point of view about protecting our freedoms and the real threat of others who are trying to take it away from us. Spot on!

Sorry I can't really comment about the overall direction of the character itself other than to say that maybe this "defection" is part of the story and in time may have a different twist in the future. Thanks for sharing.