[MAJOR SPOILERS for Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 ahead.]
It was the hail heard ‘round the world, and its reverberations are still echoing across the internet and comic book world with no end in sight. In a shocking twist last week in Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, it was revealed that not only was everybody’s symbol of America patriotism and de facto leader of the Avengers a Hydra double agent, he has in fact been one the whole time.
Fans quickly took to social media and message boards to decree the move, seen as disrespectful to the character and his 75-year history. It has since sparked a slew of comments from the likes of Stan Lee, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Captain America Chris Evans, and Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn. There’s no shortage of outrage and defense being levied at writer Nick Spencer for the twist, and now we can add on more name to his list of defenders.
Clark Gregg, who portrays notorious Captain America fanboy Agent Phil Coulson in The Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took to Twitter to offer encouragement to Spencer in the face of so much backlash. Spencer, for his part, used the opportunity to suggest Gregg, and by extension fans, would no doubt be satisfied with where the arc was going.
Hey, @nickspencer you tell your story. I’ll wait and see where it goes.
— Clark Gregg (@clarkgregg) May 29, 2016
The outrage over this twist is honestly overblown, but that’s probably exactly what Marvel was going for. Comics have a long history of shocking reveals and crazy turns that are never quite what they seem, and it’s pretty apparent that this will be just another footnote in the annals of comic book history, which are littered with examples of crazy story arcs designed to boost sales and get people talking.
Many fans, of course, point to recent interviews with Spencer and members of the Marvel editing board that swear up and down that this twist is real and that Captain America has indeed been a Hydra sleeper agent for the entirety of his 75-year existence. That, of course, is only adding fuel to the fires of outrage that now burn across the community as this is used as evidence that Marvel is ruining Captain America and, by extension, people’s childhoods.
It’s important to remember, however, that Marvel is a business and that, occasionally, they have to rely on controversy to push sales. While it might be easy to take the interviews at their word, comic book writers are masters of misdirection and companies have a long history of swearing up and down that new changes are real and will cause changes to the entire continuity. With that in mind: Is Superman dead? Is Peter Parker dead? Is Azrael still Batman?
No. Of course not. Comic book companies always hype up shocking deaths and mind bending twists in the effort to drive sales through the roof, and that’s all that’s happening here. Spencer is telling a story, and all we have right now is the first chapter in what will be a long form narrative that we have to wait to see play out before we fully understand.
In this case, Gregg has the right idea. Let’s let Spencer’s arc play out and let’s get a wider view of what the story he’s trying to tell his before we get up in arms over a plot point that will undoubtedly be retconned in some form or another in the near future. These kinds of twists are the bread and butter of the comic book world, and they’re unlikely to go away anytime soon.
For now, the entire world is waiting to see what’s to come of Captain America’s shocking reveal, and no doubt fans will turn out in droves when Captain America: Steve Rogers #2 hits shelves. It’s unlikely that the big reveal will happen then, of course, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the end game is before rendering our final judgment.
All New, All Different Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 is now available. Issue #2 hits stores June 29, 2016. Marvel’s Civil War II event kicks off in June 2016 and is scheduled to run through eight issues of a limited series (with spinoffs and tie-ins) in 12 books.
Source: Clark Gregg