One More Day, Ultimatum, Superior Spider-Man, Avengers v X-Men. All events that were polarizing, all of them decried at their release and for some are still decried, looking at you One More Day. Now we can add Captain America: Steve Rogers Issue 1 to the list, a reveal so shattering it brought out the pitchforks and the torches, with actual death threats toward the creative teams and cries of BETRAYAL (tm Noah Antwiler) from the collective comic community. Is all this vitriol warranted? Has Nick Spencer really over stepped the line? Does the final page of a first issue, with a small back up story, dictate the end of everything before it? Or, just maybe, is there more going on here than the blatant reveal? Let’s take a walk through this briar patch and I’ll try to show you how this change, isn’t a change, but a continuation of story elements that have come before. Also I’ll lay out what I, and a lot of other fans, expect this story to finish. So sit back, grab your American flag costume and Hail Hydra. Today on the Geeks Respite.
By now anyone reading this probably knows the score, and if not I’ll say it now SPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILERS! The end of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, released on Wednesday 5-25-2016, revealed that Steve Rogers has indeed been, this entire time, from the beginning, honest, totally cannon now, more SPOILER BUFFERS, a plant by Hydra (dramatic musical sting!) for the entirety of his existence. A fact backed by Marvel executive Editor Tom Brevoort, so there is no way he is lying, Editors of special event comics would never lie about the ending of the biggest story in a while for a character, would they? So Cap is now a quasi-Nazi, and has always been one. Now I hear all of you shouting how this is a travesty and a betrayal of the Legacy of Captain America (huh, two stories about Legacy in less than a week) but I am here to tell you that we just need to put down the torches and pitchforks, this story is going to end just the way we all expect it to.
I want to start by talking about a handful of possible reasons this has happened, and then I’m going to walk you guys through a theory that came up in a couple of groups I’m in that seem to be exactly where this story is going. First off, mind control, that old chestnut of tropes everywhere. This could simply be a case of your average Hydra mind control. It wouldn’t be the first time they have mind wiped someone and put them in sleeper mode. It would be the first time that they went to such lengths and resources to twist the memories of their greatest enemy, but it’s Captain America so those costs would be seen as worth it. Problem is, most mind control needs the controller in close range or have some kind of relay in effect. We don’t see any of that here, so far, it’s just Steve out of the blue dropping the Hail Hydra and no hesitations with any other actions in this book, like he was running the whole show and not a puppet. Plus Brevoort told us it wasn’t mind control. So you know, there’s that. Let’s count that out.
Next is Alternate Reality Steve Rogers, one where he is exactly what he says because Hydra won in his reality. We just got through Secret Wars, the attempt by Marvel to do some streamlining of their multiverse. I don’t think that they would jump the rails this soon with mucking it back up. Also Brevoort said it wasn’t an AR Steve. Again, so there’s that. Another theory to toss away, they keep letting us know that all these are wrong and they are completely telling us the truth after all.
Third, Shapeshifter. Again wouldn’t be the first time that Hydra has used subterfuge to sow distrust of the good Captain. There are plenty of them floating around in the Marvel Universe, and it wouldn’t be too hard for Mr. Spencer to create another one for this story if he didn’t like any of the available ones. It would give Cap the freedom to act and adapt that Mind Control limits and since he would, most likely, be from the 616 there wouldn’t be any strange tells in his actions beforehand. This time, however, Brevoort didn’t discount the shapeshifter idea. He left it off the list of things it wasn’t, but that was probably due to him just ending the interview questions with “it isn’t any of that”, that’s a pretty big blanket. So probably isn’t this either.
Finally, there is the idea that the whole thing is true. That the current creative team have woven this story into the very fabric of Captain America so neatly that this is the character now. Oh how we give them so much credit, and how we have become so cynical to believe that everyone wants to just deconstruct our heroes. This is what Brevoort wants us to believe, wants us to follow him down the rabbit hole and some of us are doing just that. In that chaos though, is buzz, interest in the Cap comics for its new title and a genuine interest in how this plays out. Exactly how they planned. Issue 2 is sure to spike in sales as this story continues, all because of the fire this story started with. Editors in interviews are never going to give away the ending, no matter how a question is worded, so the simple act of saying “Yes this is the endgame, he’s always been a part of Hydra” should be enough que to know it is nowhere near being true. They got us, even for a moment, and now they are ready to show us the real story and we will be surprised at every turn.
So, what do I think is the endgame of this storyline? Simple and I’ll let this Meme run it all down. I don’t know the author but there is a concerted decision that this has to be how it plays out.
Seems pretty plausible right? It avoids retconning 70 years of comics right? It makes sense, and sounds like a great story. I want to know how this ends and I hope that the above, or something close to it, is how this all plays out. Otherwise, Marvel is just deciding that outrage equals sales and Legacy means nothing. This is the Geeks Respite, and sometimes you have to avoid the hype to fully enjoy the hype.