Thursday, June 02, 2016

Captain America and Hydra

I read enough spoilers on Facebook about Captain America 1 by the time I got home with it last week, that I didn't do more than skim it. And I have mixed feelings about the issue.

First, regarding the controversy over the revelation on the last page that Steve Rogers is actually a loyal Hydra agent, this article by Jessica Plummer is a good summation, with an emphasis on the anti-semitism behind the revelation.

Second, I'm Jewish. My grandparents, lost family to the Nazis, especially my paternal grandfather, who came to the US from Warsaw, Poland and lost most of his family to the Holocaust, other than two of his siblings who also left Warsaw in time. The Final Solution of the Nazis is not some nebulous concept to me.

So, I have mixed feelings about the storyline by Nick Spencer. There are some really evocative scenes, especially the flashbacks that show how insidious evil can be when members of an evil organization set out to recruit new members.

It's easy to say this is a publicity stunt. It most likely is just that. And I hate the idea of Steve being Hydra. But I want to read the entire storyline before passing judgment on it. However, that's becoming very difficult, because my view of the story is no longer a thing between me and the story. Everything that's been written about it that I've seen is in my mind now -- this is why I hate spoilers; I can't get the knowledge out of my head and treat the material as something fresh.

And no, knowing it will all get reversed at some point, doesn't help. Even believing that Spencer has something interesting to say, a valid point to make about organizations as nefarious as Hydra, doesn't help. Because I can't read this in a vacuum now. I can almost hear the outrage. What I would want to treat as a story has become something bigger. Instead of being angry and upset with Steve Rogers, and wanting to know how this could be and what it means going forward, I've been pushed and prodded into being angry with Spencer and editor Tom Brevoort. And that makes me angrier, angry at Marvel and angry at the spoilers I saw before I got to read the issue. I can't know what my reaction to the revelation would have been because I didn't get to see it for myself, just me with the comic book in my hands. Instead, I got the anger of friends first as they posted what they were angry about, with words, with photos, with Photoshopped memes.

I want to keep reading, to see where the story goes, but I know it can't ever be just a story now, so I'm not sure what I want to do. Keep reading and, thus, show support? Don't read as a matter of protest and hope someone reveals the rest of the story as people often do? I'm really torn about this. The story could end up being a thoughtful exploration of evil and how it can insinuate itself into people's lives, something so relevant today, especially with the upcoming US presidential election. Or the story could end up a hot mess that insults Cap and everyone who believes in him. So, thanks for nothing, Marvel.

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