Inspired by this article, I decided to actually read Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. There’s a lot going on in this comic, and most of it has to do with the rise of the extreme right in the US and Europe. This comic is taking on Trump, white supremacists, neocons, and neoreactionaries.
And, as the article’s author points out, there is something going on with the flashbacks about Cap’s mom that suggest maybe things are not what they seem. Not to mention, it’s not really clear what the big picture is here, either. The context for Cap’s final “Hail Hydra” — not to mention Jack Flag’s ultimate fate — is not clear yet.
However, I absolutely do not want to dismiss the concerns of people who feel that what we know about this story arc comes off as dismissive of the suffering of million of Jews, and about the company’s respect for Cap’s creators, their heritage, and what they were trying to accomplish. This is definitely a high-stakes subject, and we have yet to see whether Marvel can handle it respectfully.
That said, I feel like this comic is attempting to do something good. It’s using Cap — and what Cap represents to many of us — to try and make a statement about the current rise of fascism and white supremacy. And, sure, it’s also trying to make money. BUT! Having read the comic I feel like there is a larger artistic statement being made here, one that could be powerful and important — depending on how the rest of the series goes.
So, let me try and be reassuring without being dismissive of legitimate complaints:
This does not seem to be Cap going “grimdark”. This does not appear to be some sort of ham-handed, DC-Snyderverse-esque attempt to make Cap “edgy”.
This comic, I think, is trying to make a statement. It’s putting Cap through a — likely very challenging — story arc in an attempt to say something about the rising tide of bigotry (something that has had me genuinely worried about raising my son in this country). I.e., I think they are taking a big risk in order to make art that just might be genuinely important.
The question is whether Marvel can pull it off. I am cautiously optimistic, and hoping they do right by Cap’s legacy and that of his creators. But we’ll see.
h/t Adam D for the link.
(FYI: Based on how my last post about this went, I am disabling comments.)
‘Captain America’ Twist Is a Good Lesson in Storytelling