When a favorite character takes a dramatic turn, it can be like a break-up. The hero you've come to know and love suddenly stands before you, a stranger. It's like learning that Santa Claus isn't real. The most recent occurrence of this magnitude was when Captain America fans cracked open the new issue of Steve Rogers No. 1 and learned that their beloved Nazi-fighting nationalist was actually a HYDRA turncoat the entire time. The comic book world's reaction led to such pandemonium that the author received death threats. Even James Gunn's cat wasn't safe from the melee.
Of course, the chaos led to comedy, and the now famous "Hail HYDRA" panel became a medium for a million internet memes. Embrace the sarcasm as we survey the consequences of this unexpected Captain America twist. Here are the 25 Best Captain America/Hail HYDRA Memes.
He's been depressed his whole life. His dreams are filled with horrific images and the echoes of gunfire. Bruce Wayne basically became Batman because his parents were murdered; we've seen it countless times in comics, TV, and film already. Michael Keaton's Batman didn't like to discuss it; Christian Bale's Batman couldn't stop thinking about it; Ben Affleck's Batman kept visiting the morgue. Zack Snyder opened Batman V Superman with a lengthy closeup on Martha Wayne's pearl necklace intertwined with her killer's gun. What's that you say? Oh, nevermind. Batman actually shot his parents in cold blood.
You're a proud small-business owner. You've dabbled in Microsoft and Apple, but you finally met your dream system in Linux. It's everything you ever wanted in an operating system: customizable, fast, and essentially free. Linux looks good, works well, and has a penguin for its mascot. Business is soaring, in no small part due to this much-appreciated counter to the spawn of Bill Gates. After grabbing your morning coffee and a cheese danish, you sit down at the computer, power it up, and smell the aroma of that fresh brewed cup of joe. As you prepare to take your first sip, a gigantic, four-colored window pops up on the screen accompanied by white, flashing text: "Hail Microsoft." You've been conned.
You spent half your childhood collecting gold coins. You bruised your thumb hitting "jump" too hard. You did everything possible to free Princess Peach, and you stayed up three and a half days straight to unlock Yoshi. You drowned forty-one times in the underwater levels, force quit a dozen times, threw three controllers against the wall, and yet, when you tried to sleep, you couldn't get that classic theme song out of your head. When you returned to the N64, Gameboy, GameCube, or whichever console that held you prisoner, you finally had Bowser on his heels. Then, just as you were about to offer the horned beast his coup de grace, Mario screams: "It's a me, Mario! Sworn advocate and disciple of Bowser, ha ha!"
You tried to let go of John Travolta's mispronunciation of your starlet and you did. You let it go. You've been freed ever since, riding on the heavenly cloud of Disney's box-office smash hit and promise of a sequel. The only thing that's Frozen are the hearts of the cynical unbelievers who can't hit those high notes quite like you. Sure, Idina Menzel has some pipes, but when you're alone in the car, you don't just drive down Broadway, you become it. You turn Route 66 into the Avenue of the Stars, singing your Oscar-winning hit-single until the cows come home. Or your glass windows shatter, whichever comes first. You are empowered, you are strong, you are Elsa and - sorry, what'd the ice princess just say? "Shut up, sit down, and hold onto it."
You always believed in Atlantis. That place is real; the historians are wrong. They're hack intellectuals who don't know how to describe what happens beneath the surface of the water. But Aquaman knows; he's a deep-sea snorkeler of the first order, and he's got a trident. You know what else is cool? He showed up in Batman V Superman for about fifteen seconds, swimming around in some drowned ship, looking all mean and relentless. Jason Momoa is going to kill in that role, especially if James Wan goes full The Conjuring on him and makes things particularly creepy. Especially since it's underwater and Aquaman actually can't swim for his life.
21 Rick Astley
After prom and your first traffic ticket, experiencing a "Rick Roll" is one of those milestones that harken our ascent into into adulthood. We've all been there: never before seen, deleted scenes from The Lord of the Rings; promising videos of Oprah Winfrey being transported into the sixth dimension; found footage of a Sasquatch playing the ukulele; they all end with the most terribly awkward dance moves this side of Steve Urkel. Rick Astley was "never gonna give you up, never gonna let you go," and he was a complete and utter liar because he is actually breaking up with the world and giving us up.
20 Mickey Mouse
You've been to Disneyland and Disneyworld. You meant to go to Disneyland Paris, but that just seemed like a bridge too far. You've watched every classic Walt Disney clip of Mickey Mouse, even the one of him whistling like an insatiable geek. As all of your friends and family know, you can list every major Disney release from 1991 to the present in chronological order, followed by a brief tagline of the film's central themes. When you lay your head down at night, you look upon a ceiling filled with Disney iconography: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, the Lion King and more. Of course, all of this was true before you popped in your VHS of Dumbo and saw the eponymous, big-eared elephant spike the camera and yell, "Hail Dreamworks!"
He was always cautious about embracing the full extent of his powers. Web slinging was a gift, but it had to be wielded carefully and without collateral damage. After all, Spider-Man had to juggle the affections of Mary Jane while looking out for his fragile and doting Aunt May. To whom much is given, much is expected, and that's why Spider-Man has been one of the most over-performing superheroes in recent history. Audiences were thrilled with Tom Holland's depiction of the webslinger in Captain America: Civil War and can't wait for the much-anticipated release of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Most of all, fans can't wait to forget that one bizarre episode where he grabbed a local reporter's microphone and yelled, "With great power comes -- ah, screw it."
As a devoted hippie and flower-child detective, few things in the world gave Shaggy the immense pleasure of Scooby Snacks. Even when being pursued by a seven-eyed ghoul, the bell-bottomed goof found time to grab a handful of the mystery food and chow down. Despite being irreversibly gangly, Shaggy's voracious appetite and vulnerability are the very traits that have endeared audiences to watch him for decades. With the hope of more versions of The Scooby-Doo franchise on the horizon, it will be great to have some consistency from iteration to iteration. The worst thing possible would be to hear Shaggy say, "I hate Scooby Snacks."
17 Also Shaggy
Honey came in and she caught me red-handed, so I'm not going to lie to her. I was creeping with the girl next door, and she saw everything: I even had her on the counter, I had her on the bathroom floor... she saw the marks on my shoulder, Ricardo. It's all my fault - how could I forget that I had given her an extra key? She saw us kissing on the sofa, man. I'm going to have to clean that sofa. There's nothing for me to do but own up to my own mistakes, and accept responsibility, whole-heartedly. There's only one thing to say. It was me, and I'm so sorry.
16 The Alien Guy
Giorgio Tsoukalos, famed ufologist and xenoarchaeologist, has blessed us with countless theories about mankind and aliens. He posed such insightful questions as, "who built the pyramids?" "Are humans actually alien hybrids?" And, his most famous question, "If, today, we're able to create a two-headed dog with six legs, is it possible that a similar creature existed thousands of years ago? And I say: yes." Tsoukalos' willingness to identify aliens as the culprit behind most, if not all, of mankind's mysteries has inspired many forward thinking scientists to follow in his footsteps. Should Mr. Tsoukalos ever renounce his tagline and claim that humans did it, the world of scientific progress will collapse upon itself.
15 Optimus Prime
The greatest trick the Devil played was convincing the world he didn't exist. Thankfully, with Transformers, we can fully trust that Bumblebee and Optimus Prime are who they claim to be - even if they are robots in disguise. They mean the best, intend to protect earth, and are willing to sacrifice themselves at the feet of the Decepticons in order to protect the "AllSpark." What a sad day it would be if the countless lives lost, the heroics of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), and all those expertly-directed Michael Bay explosions were wasted because Optimus Prime's voice dropped a few octaves and bellowed: "Autobots, roll out! I'm a Decepticon!"
14 Cap'n Crunch
As with Transformers, Cap'n Crunch defended earth from the invading forces of Squish the Sogmaster. Upon invading the cereals of earth with his deluge of milk, everything turned soft except for Cap'n Crunch, the most lip-smacking breakfast delicatessen of all time. It remains "Still crunchy, still sweet, still delicious," even after taking a direct-hit of thick liquid. Indeed, the late 1980s' cereal campaign drove the point home: join or die, for the Cap'n took no prisoners. Should he do an about face twenty years later and welcome back his arch villain, proclaiming, "Hail Soggies," we will be forced to return to the perennial silver medalist cereal of choice, Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
If the X-Men were a religion, then Magneto would be their High Priest. A stout believer of the genetic superiority of mutants, Magneto looks down upon mere mortals and spites them. True, he had a depressing upbringing, marked with tragedy, that helped shape these opinions, but he is definitely a mutant loyalist worth respecting. What's more, Magneto has never had any intention of following Charles Xavier's path to coexistence, the milquetoast and weak way of mutants living side-by-side with pushover men, women, and children. To be fair, this was Magneto's firmly staked opinion until last week, when he was seen watching X-Men: Apocalypse at his local IMAX theatre and mumbling to himself, "I hate Mutants."
Blinded at a young age, Daredevil has been forced to look deep inside to see the truth. The outside world can only offer so much. Until this morning, in fact, Daredevil has been haunted by a dark past and an internal struggle that pits his altruism against a latent dark streak of violence. Tempted by Elektra and made good by Karen Page, Daredevil has had countless women fall for him. Their love stems not just from how he sees them, but for how he sees them. Their hearts and souls, and all of that sentimental stuff. As of today, however, it all changed when Daredevil was proven to be a huge creep and pathological liar after publicly admitting, "I could see the whole time." Looks like love isn't so blind after all.
The resident smart aleck of Marvel, Deadpool has acquired a very particular kind of appetite. The mangled man loves pancakes, tacos, and of course, the occasional chimichanga. But more than devouring these carbohydrate-heavy foodstuffs, Deadpool simply loves saying the word chimichanga. It sounds funny to him, and it highlights his whip-smart wit and love of verbal wordplay. You thought swords and nunchucks were his favorite weapon? Think again. The man loves firing words as much as bullets. That is, until he recently declared, "I hate chimichangas," losing 83% of his fanbase in two seconds, flat. Maybe Deadpool will finally learn to keep his mouth shut.
You paid your dues: reuniting all those pieces of the Triforce could not have been more painstaking. Time after time, you played your ocarina, you waked some winds, you endured the creepy soundtracks. You did your sentence and fought back evil demons, though you committed no crime. Your bad mistakes - spending far too long in the bazaar, neglecting to care for your horses - sure, you've made a few. In the trials and tribulations to rescue the Princess Zelda, you've had your share of Hyrule sand kicked in your face. When you finally subdued Ganondorf, however, you totally came through. We are the champions, my friends. And for as long as you've existed, the nerdiest among us have had to defend you, reminding laymen that the man in green isn't Zelda; that's the princess! Oh, until you admit, "I am Zelda." What?!
9 Fred Flintstone
We all lose ourselves in moments of insecurity. That's why so many movies and TV shows feature the generic line: "I look in the mirror and don't know who I see anymore." For Fred Flintstone, that scenario is never going to happen. His identity is rooted in being a fully-engaged caveman who loves to go bowling. Had he not settled down, raised a few kids and whatnot, Fred would have undoubtedly set up shop on the local golf course or bowling alley, giving him unbridled access to the athletic arena. Like an animated version of Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners, it doesn't take a lot to please Fred Flintstone. One thing's for sure: you'll never hear him say, "I hate bowling."
Clark Kent, aka Kal-El, humble resident of the destroyed planet Krypton, is a maladjusted man living in circumstances far inferior to his natural place of birth. Whether behind black-framed glasses or a phone booth, Kent strives to find his more sociable side in a world surrounded by aliens. He is the ultimate immigrant, a pariah when times are bad, a savior when they're good. Bound by Lois Lane and the ubiquitous threats to justice, however, Kent faithfully unleashes Superman on the world, the ultimate defense against evil. Even if his creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, had the audacity to make him say, "I was born in Kansas," no one would believe him.
7 Red Skull
Imagine if during the fiery fight scene between Captain America and Johann Schmidt, the latter ripped off his human face and yelled, "God Bless America!" Beyond surprising audiences and destroying any sense of good vs evil in the story, the best reaction would have been on Steve Rogers, the most eager and direct of all the Avengers. If Red Skull looked at him and spouted pro-American sentiments, Rogers would surely have said, "Excuse me? That's my line!," then turned to Bucky Barnes who would simply shrug his shoulders. This would have ended the film and ceased pre-production on Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
6 Admiral Ackbar
Had there not been a trap during the climax of The Return of the Jedi, Star Wars would have lost one of its most enduring moments. Thanks to the amphibious and squid-looking Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!" became a hallmark of Episode VI, a verbal meme before memes even existed. It was that good. Furthermore, had Sir Ackbar quietly moaned, "Well, looks like it's safe," George Lucas may have never propelled the franchise back to its roots. And no matter how you feel about Episodes I-III, that era spawned the Disney takeover, which by many accounts has been quite enjoyable for the masses. Therefore, Admiral Ackbar deserves more credit for keeping the Galaxy Far, Far Away much closer to home.
5 Hayao Miyazaki
It's always disillusioning to hear artists trash their own work. Radiohead despises "Creep" (though they played it live last week for the first time since 2007), Alec Guinness didn't love Star Wars, and as was reported this morning, Hayao Miyazaki has formally stated, "Anime is tolerable. It is not my first love. I also despise happy endings and high fantasy." Fans were shocked to see Mr. Miyazaki approach his anime headquarters at Studio Ghibli, home of Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle with a fleet of bulldozers behind him. As the demolition team neared the building, Hayao apathetically yelled like Totoro one final time.
4 Iron Man
The Iron Man movies lightly dance around the subject, but Tony Stark is a full-fledged alcoholic. The billionaire playboy goes for the drink like a moth to light, and in the comics, Stark's stories turn more into The Hangover than The Avengers. As he once said, "Since Tony Stark is behind all my problems, I'll just stop being Tony Stark." Indeed, there are many frames of Tony just starting at the Iron Man mask with glazed eyes. Imagine the shock, then, if he placed an order with a cocktail waitress and asked for "Water only. Thanks." The arms dealer would never be the same, nor would he be nearly as interesting.
3 The Hulk
"Hulk is calm." He is sweet, he is tender, and he is never green with envy, anger, or anything but love. This newly-minted Hulk shops at Whole Foods, eats gluten-free, practices yoga, and reads poetry under apple trees. A former member of the Avengers, Hulk has renounced his violent vows and recently filed paperwork to live with the Quakers in eastern Pennsylvania. While Thor and Black Widow can hardly process the complete evaporation of their formerly angry friend (FAF), Hulk claims he has seen the light and is happier than ever before. RIP to collateral damage, Hulk smash, and irrational anger.
2 James Bond
Ian Fleming created one of the most enduring characters in cinematic history: James Bond. With twenty-four films to his name already, 007 has irreversibly changed the way we see the world. His tropes define him: the beautiful Aston Martin car, the perfectly tailored tux, and the "shaken, not stirred" martini. These finer points are more important thank you might think. As the first Casino Royale discovered, for example, calling James Bond "Jimmy" really undercut the masculinity of the British super spy. The devil, as we're finding out, is truly in the details, and had James first ordered a, "vodka martini, stirred, please," all those Bond girls would never have been shaken.
1 Darth Vader
High atop the Cloud City catwalk, the world's most famous mouth-breather has just removed Luke Skywalker's prized dueling hand. With gusts of wind swirling and the gaping oblivion of the trash chute below, Luke clutches on to the processing vane, hanging on by a mere thread. In this moment of truth, surely about to be a cinematic classic, Darth Vader reaches out his hand and bellows, "Luke, I am not your father." To which a recently amputated and broken Luke screams, "No! It can't be!" He then relinquishes his will to live and willingly falls as far away possible from that pathetic denouement.
Do you have a favorite Captain America/HYDRA meme? Tell us about it in the comments below!