It was one month ago that Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort and writer Nick Spencer asserted to the world that Captain America’s “Hail Hydra” moment was “not a gimmick.” Sure, they responded to outrage by trying to Jedi mind-trick readers into forgetting the whole Nazi aspect of Hydra, Red Skull, and his crew, but the message was clear: Hydra-Cap wasn’t a shameless cash grab. Captain America: Steve Rogers #2, however, makes it clear that Mr. Brevoort has no qualms about lying if it will line Marvel’s pockets with short-term cash.
Here is what you need to know about the issue:
- Kobik, the sentient Cosmic Cube, sought out Red Skull the moment she manifested in S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters years ago.
- Dr. Selvig and S.H.I.E.L.D. never knew that Kobik was being raised by Red Skull, who led her to believe the most ideal world would be one run by Hydra. The doctor’s mind was altered before his initial suspicions were confirmed.
- Red Skull used Pleasant Hill, an super villain prison created by Kobik, as bait for Captain America.
- Everything that transpired at the reality-altering facility was orchestrated so that Kobik would implant a false past — a Hydra-inspired past — into Steve Roger’s mind.
Most readers, your friendly neighborhood blogger included, assumed things would eventually be put right after “Cosmic-Cube weirdness” was revealed. We knew what Marvel was doing, but a.) objected to story as a matter of principle — writers should not desecrate a hero for mere shock value, and b.) deemed the length of time it was implied that Hydra-Cap would be working for the terrorist organization as a betrayal of the character.
Blind supporters of Messrs. Brevoort and Spencer made it seem like critics were hyper-impatient, when it was Marvel that created the perception that bread crumbs would be dropped over the course of months.
“I thought we wouldn’t know this much for at least five or six months,” the manager at my local comic shop said when I asked him what he thought about the issue. We both wondered if the timeline was accelerated due to fan backlash, but the owner said he was confident that was not the case.
All of this begs the question: Why?
Why would Marvel expend so much time and effort lying to its fans for a short-term sales boost?
That answer appears to be two-fold:
- The people running the show have no shame. Ironically, the writer who rails against Donald Trump now subscribes to the same “all publicity is good publicity” philosophy that has been perfected by the billionaire.
- Marvel Comics, which is currently populated by a slew of petulant man-boys, wanted to steal headlines from DC Comics’ Rebirth.
A rising tide lifts all boats, but guys like Tom Brevoort are working overtime to needlessly torpedo ships that sail the same ocean.
If that is the kind of behavior you want to reward, then head on over to your local comic shop as soon as possible. Otherwise, save the $4.00 for a day when the “House of Ideas” once again has significant floor space dedicated to respecting long-time readers.