Marvel’s Secret

(Editor’s Note: This secret is nothing like Victoria’s. Although, it wouldn’t surprise me at this point if Marvel did a series where it was revealed that a major male character wore ladies underwear.)

I’m not a huge presence on social media. Imagine my surprise then, when my feeds blew up a few months ago with the news that Captain America was a Nazi. First, if that seems incongruous, you are not alone. Along with many others, I took to Twitter (something I almost never do), to express my dismay at this development.

I also texted Chris about the news. We had our usual “old man” conversation about the state of comics. The stories aren’t as good! It’s a dying medium! They’ve run out of ideas and are just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks! This is a dumb idea to sell more comics and it will probably backfire!

And, yes, you damn kids better stay off my lawn!

Our old man sensibilities might have been right on for some of that, but we were dead wrong on the point that it might backfire. After reading the main comics, I went to the store to pick up some of the tie in issues. Well, during that trip, I discovered that a few of them were sold out. So, yeah, Marvel’s money making scheme has worked on more than just me. Know that I’m not the only sucker still out there made me feel a bit better.

Obligatory spoiler warning: Look, I don’t give 2 craps about spoilers, so this article will probably contain a buttload (an actual measurement by the way) of then. Let this be your lone warning.

I’m pretty sure that issue #0 is a reprint of a previous comic. Even if it is not, as a guy jumping in after almost 2 decades away, I was glad for the recap. Plus, it is well written and the art is by Steve McNiven, so it is top notch. It absolutely added to my enjoyment of the book. Some artists distract from the story by going over the top and others are just bad, but not him. I’ve always liked his work and I’m glad they put him on another major even book. I’m a bit bummed that they don’t have him working with Millar to recreate the Civil War magic, but Nick Spencer is doing well so far as writer.

No snarky comment. Just admiration of his talent.

So, what is this great story that made even you jump on board with the Captain America, Hydra Supreme angle? First, let’s all admit that we know that this isn’t going to last. There will be some conclusion to bring Cap back to his Nazi hating self. Sure, the even might finish with him in custody after Hydra surrenders or is otherwise defeated. However, it’s only a matter of time before ol’ Steve Rogers returns. In fact, it may have already happened.

Until they, they’ve given an outlandish, though not entirely implausible explanation for the transformation. Bear in mind that when I say “implausible”, we are talking about a universe in which Hulk ripped Wolverine into two pieces and the top half had to crawl to the top of a mountain to retrieve the bottom half. So, with that in mind, Red Skull apparently altered or recreated reality so that Captain America was raised from a young age as a Hydra agent. He was destined t become the Hydra Supreme and did so through a takeover of SHIELD and eventually the entire country.

His plan included isolating a group of heroes in space against a neverending attack from Chitauri drones. Another phase trapped a portion of Manhattan in a dark dimension. By the end of issue #1, he had moved into DC to capture the White House. I will say this about Hydra. They probably keep the trains running on time.

Okay, I admit. That was in poor taste. I’m sorry.

Issue #1 explored the resistance a bit by introducing a character that gets “saved” by them. There is also some development of the Cap character in that he is shown as little more than a figurehead as leader of Hydra. I will keep this part in suspense because it involves a death, but Steve isn’t able to “pull the trigger” so to speak.

While the resistance story is expected and predictable, I’m intrigued by the Captain America angle. In the past, Steve Rogers has been nothing if not committed to his values. Even during Civil War, he was willing to play the villain and split the super hero community over his opposition of the Registration Act. To see him conflicted to such a degree is both surprising and encouraging that some of the old Cap might be shining through the darkness.

This thread is tugged a bit harder in Issue #2. We see that, in fact, Captain America ultimately did not make the fateful decisions in issue #1. That fact weighs heavily on him and he feels a bit out of his element. Black Widow does what she does and attempts to set off on her own, but she is quickly joined by others and they set up a new team to fight against Hydra and take down Cap.

Surely, you know me well enough to know that was all just an excuse to show Scarlett Johansson.

The issue ends with a moment that literally had me say, “Oh ****” out loud and cement my interest in the story. I went from openly antagonistic to mildly interested in the main title to needing to buy all of the tie ins and read them, too. They aren’t crucal to your understanding, but they do fill in nicely. Plus, there aren’t a ton of them and the event is fairly short, so I don’t mind keeping up with them.

Look, I admit that I’m an easy mark. I can usually find some redeeming quality about most creative projects. But, this one is genuinely good. I can’t nor won’t necessarily recommend the tie ins unless you have the extra money. However, if you’re looking for a new series, getting back in after an extended break like me, or any other reason you might have, I say absolutely get the main series. You won’t be disappointed.

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