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Captain America: Shaking Up the Status Quo

Be aware up front that although this news has spread across the internet like an engineered virus from Plague, Inc., we are venturing into spoiler territory.

Therefore, heed this BIG SPOILER WARNING!!!!!!!!



Still here?  Good.  So the big thing today is news from Marvel that Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 will reveal a HUGE change to the status quo.  What is that, you ask?  What could possibly shake the very foundations of Cap’s existence?  Well, here it comes.  One more SPOILER ALERT before I get into it:

Captain America has been a Hydra deep-cover agent for as long as he’s been known as Captain America, and perhaps even longer.

Yes, you heard that right, and this isn’t some fan speculation or “rumor.”

Tom Brevoort, Marvel Executive Editor, confirms the news, saying “This is the real Steve Rogers, not some clone, shapeshifting Skrull, Life Model Decoy, or a Cap from an alternate universe.”  Writer Nick Spencer also backs this up with the statement “Issue 2 will lay a lot of our cards on the table in terms of what the new status quo is, but the one thing we can say unequivocally is: This is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself.”

Brevoort goes on to say “His mission is to further the goals and beliefs of Hydra,” and explains “If that involves taking down the Marvel universe, sure. (But) it may not be as simple as that. It’s not like he’s exchanged his white hat for a black hat — it’s a green hat.”

My initial reaction was “WHAT?”  Why would they do this?  Why take one of the most iconic and AMERICAN heroes and turn him into a super-secret bad guy?  It just does not compute.  It’s akin to what Michael Bay did with Optimus Prime in Dark of the Moon when Prime says “We’re going to KILL them ALL.”  It just didn’t FIT, and was contrary to who the character was and what he stood for.  Now Marvel has taken Captain America and basically told readers that everything we know about the man is WRONG.

So, again, the question is WHY?  The most obvious reason is shock value.  Obviously Marvel’s shakeup of the comic universe wasn’t complete with Secret Wars, but really is there any purpose to inserting this twist and completely changing Cap’s history in the process?

None of the other characters in Marvel’s universe know about Cap’s allegiance.  Even now, after the restoration of his youth, they all believe he’s the same Captain America THEY’VE always known.  But the reader now knows otherwise.  Brevoort again: “Suddenly there’s a whole other wrinkle to all of it.  Any cover with Steve Rogers takes on a slightly different dimension because you have information that no one else in that picture has.”

Brevoort acknowledges the reaction may be severe:  “We knew it would be like slapping people in the face,” confessed Brevoort. “The idea of Captain America means something very primal and very strong to the people of this nation, and they have a very visceral reaction when you get to something like that. You want people to feel and react to your story. So far, so good.”

“So far, so good.”  What the heck does that mean?  If they were looking for a way to enrage fans simply to generate a reaction then yes, I’d say so far, so good.  But unless they’re trying to trigger a showdown with FalconCap and the Avengers, I don’t see this working in the long run.  I just can’t see how they can suddenly (and believe me, this is a very sudden, drastic change from the status quo) make Cap a fascist bent on world domination.  If this is just The Way It’s Going To Be Now, then Marvel will have a huge problem.  If it’s part of a longer play and a storyline that will get resolved, then starting with Steve Rogers: Captain America #2 Marvel really needs to drop some hints about what Cap is REALLY up to.  Otherwise it is going to shade EVERYTHING.  It even makes me look at Civil War in a completely different light.  Now Cap isn’t fighting government insight and control for the sake of freedom and privacy, he’s fighting to destabilize the superhero establishment AND the government.

There’s a part of me that really wants to see how this plays out, which is no doubt Marvel’s intent.  But there’s also a part of me that wants absolutely nothing to do with it.  To me, Marvel has despoiled one of their most iconic characters, and with that tarnished every action he’s taken.  Brevoort’s comments illustrate just how well Marvel understands this.

The ultimate question now is this:  What effect will this have on the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  Will we end up with a huge reveal during Infinity War that exposes Cap as a Hydra agent?

What do you think of Marvel’s huge shakeup?  Sound off in the comments!


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