Welcome to our weekly post where we tell you “What Comics to Watch…
Huh? We’re not doing that right now?
Oh, well then I must be writing about DC. So, REBIR… No?
I’m writing about Marvel?! You know I’m Hal, right? I was the DC guy. Is this still Comical Musings?
Has the world gone mad?!
Welcome back to Comical Musings. Some amount of weeks ago (depending on when you are reading this) both major comic companies decided to stir things up in a major way. On May 25, 2016 the DC universe was totally new, totally Rebirthed, and Scooby-Doo was rebooted (Now with emoji!!!100!! [kiss] [eggplant] [wink]) Strangely, people seemed to like both. We’ll probably write about that stuff once it becomes even less topical, but this article is about Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. So, *SPOILER ALERT* I guess. You know he’s working for Hydra, right? You’ve seen the memes.
We’re making some big changes here at Comical Musings as well. We’ve got some new writers. Our old writers are writing again. And all of our bathrooms are now gender neutral! (Due to a plumbing mishap, we all have to use porta potties out in the parking lot.) But enough about us.
Cap’s a Hydra agent. Crazy huh? And he has been his whole life – ever since that in-utero indoctrination. And Marvel swears up and down that this is really the real Captain America, not a clone, not an alternate dimension/timeline, not brainwashing. The real Captain America has always worked for Hydra and it won’t be retcon’ed; it is Uncle Ben level set-in-stone. *Audible wink*
Reactions have been mixed. Mostly bad, but varying degrees of bad. In general, people were more annoyed about this than they are about kids using that damn dog filter on Snapchat. Some were like, “Oh, that’s dumb. I’m going to continue to not read Captain America.” Others took it as a personal insult or a challenge to America’s sovereignty, and responded with death threats.
I, on the other hand, began working on conspiracy theories (and memes). Is it possible that there’s more going on here than a publicity stunt to sell comics? Unlikely, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE! This could be just a gimmick to get headlines, but I believe this is actually a cutting commentary on the state of this year’s presidential election.
Nick Spencer the writer behind Captain America: Steve Rogers has been fairly outspoken about his personal political opinions. Is it unthinkable that this politically aware author would use a well-known comic as a platform to critique the biggest political event of the decade?
Let’s look at the characters. We all know about Captain ‘Murica, but who is his adversary? Issue #1 introduces long-time Cap-foe the Red Skull as the “villain” of this story arc. You can tell he’s the bad guy because in his first few panels he is spouting conservative-sounding talking points. The natural result (according to the comic) is racially motivated violence and domestic terrorism.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that this well-known, aesthetically challenged individual, who is generally disliked, but is able to motivate crowds through conservative, charismatic speeches is a stand-in for the republican presidential nominee.
So that would make Cap’n Steve a proxy for the leading Democrat candidate. Let’s see, he’s older than dirt, yet somehow ageless (largely due to chemicals). He has played a role in American history for years. He has had to deal with a philandering partner (in the person of Tony Stark). He was once beloved but has also been a controversial figure. He was once a werewolf. He hides behind an impenetrable shield. He is returning to the high office he previously held, and is taking over the mantle from an African American man who held it in the interim. And now his honesty and integrity are in question. Does the shoe fit?
Captain America: Steve Rogers presents us with the same dilemma as the presidential election. Who will you side with? Will you go with the historic hero, draped in patriotic garb, who we all know is a traitor seeking to undermine the nation they claim to serve? Or will you pick the scary monster, who may say the right things, but will probably lead us to a destructive outcome? How do you handle the fact that they are actually working for the same team (Hydra)?
Who will save us from this Sophie’s choice? Can anyone? Perhaps Moon Knight, the crazy Jewish outsider, who has imagined himself to be America’s champion. That’s unlikely; he’s likable and popular with the kids, but he isn’t strong enough or politically savvy enough to successfully overcome the emblematic leader of his party, even if that leader is inherently and fundamentally flawed.
Instead we face a Kobayashi Maru (a hotdog eating contest we can’t win). At present, a path of escape doesn’t seem to exist. It’s possible that a solution may ex machina. A true outsider may emerge to save us, perhaps a John Quackafee. In this crazy circumstance maybe we need a hero who could possibly be insane. Either way, we’re left hoping for a miracle.
I think the situation presented in Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 speaks to where many American voters may find themselves at the moment. At least it does to me, and I’m interested to see where Nick Spencer takes it. So please, don’t carry out any death threats until he finishes this story arc. It will probably turn out that Hydra was always run by SHIELD anyway.
What do you think? Do you agree? Was I too political? Did I rustle your jimmies? Do you use the dog filter on Snapchat? Please feel free to lambaste me in the comments.
Update 6/29/16 ***************** SPOILER ALERT *****************
Oh snap! It was Kobik, the cosmic cubist four year old. Red Skull got her to alter Steve’s reality/history so that he joined Hydra as a child. This is why I generally try to avoid children.
So, in our analogy to the 2016 election Kobik would be… Marco Rubio.? Let’s go with that.