Captain America and the Falcon issue 171 was the first Marvel comic I ever read. Cap was my gateway into Marvel comics, and I’ve been a fan of the character ever since.
As most of you may know, Steve Rogers–the classic Captain America–is the central figure in Marvel Comics’ big event this year: Secret Empire. Boiled down to basics the story line features a world where Steve Rogers was always a Hydra Agent and the Allies used a Cosmic Cube to win the Second World War by rewriting history.
In the current story line Steve has reverted to his original Hydra loyalties and is working to bring about a fascist victory in today’s Marvel Universe–an attempt to put things back the way they should have been had the Allies not used the Cosmic Cube to win the war.
Throughout this event, Marvel has consistently argued that Steve Rogers is an agent of Hydra, but not a a Nazi. They say Hydra is not racist, but is an evil and fascist organization. At the same time, they’re using fascist imagery to tell a story that draws most of its power from the association of Hydra with Nazism. It’s Cap’s ultimate heel turn.
I have a HUGE problem with this. Marvel is essentially saying that people who weren’t racist actively worked toward a Nazi victory in World War Two. Marvel is saying that people who weren’t racist thought the New Deal was more of a deal-breaker than the Holocaust.
That doesn’t fly. You don’t get to say you’re not racist and actively work to expand the Holocaust.
While I wouldn’t have liked the idea, I think Marvel would have been more intellectually honest had they said Steve was a Nazi. It would have been ugly, and I think indefensible in today’s social climate, but at least Marvel wouldn’t be out there sending the message that it’s not as bad if you only supported the Nazis but weren’t really one.