Are We Overreacting to Cap's Latest Change?

I'm a big, fat, long-time dork.

 With that said, one of the benefits of being such a dork is that I've been reading comics for a long time, and I've seen a whole bunch of weird shit. Hell, I've seen a whole bunch of weird Captain America storylines that, if they'd taken place now, would literally crack the internet open like a cantaloupe:

 Cap abandons American government, dons low-cut uniform.

 Cap's super soldier serum fails.

 Cap surrenders Captain America identity.

 Cap turns into a werewolf.

....no, seriously. This was an entire arc

....no, seriously. This was an entire arc

 Cap gets assassinated on steps of Washington.

 Oh, wait, the last one happened in 2007. Also, Cap was sent to another dimension recently by Rick Remender. Also, Cap was turned into an old man the other year.

The point of all those examples is to point out that Cap has undergone some bizarre-ass stuff in his 70-year history, and the most recent Hydra-plant example should be taken with a grain of salt: he's gone through a lot of stuff, but nothing has really stuck except that Steve Rogers is a hell of a hero and he'll be back at some point.

This is not to sound cavalier about the whole thing - I understand how jarring it can be to see a character created by two New York Jews suddenly appearing as a supporter of a group that wouldn't piss on the Constitution if it were on fire. Yet this is gaining a TON of traction for Marvel. Consider the initial outrage, how it was trending on Facebook, how it was being covered by news outlets. All this happened in the face of DC releasing one of the best comics of the last 30 years, and it's gotten more knee-jerk reactions than Rebirth. Hell, it used Rebirth to fly under the radar and surprise an unknowing audience up until the day of its release.

Yes, because of that outrage, a metric poop-ton of people decided to spoil the reveal. Hell, Entertainment Weekly had a headline released that literally told readers what the big reveal was! Being caught off guard like that, being unable to process the event and allow one's mind to work create theories, to reverse-engineer how this happened (personally, I think the lady in red is a time-traveling Hydra agent, but that's neither here nor there). Instead, the majority of the folks complaining haven't even read the damn book yet and are going in furious.

 Here at CoN we had an extended debate about this whole hootenanny on Wednesday when this all went down. It was actually funny; we couldn't decide if we were more mad that Cap was a Hydra agent, or that none of us were able to read the book before spoilers were dropped all around us like a heavy rain. But my comparison to this is simple: Superior Spider-Man.

When that story dropped (and Ben can attest to this), I was incensed: Doc Ock defeats Peter Parker, and usurps his body?! This is the worst idea ever! How can Dan Slott do that to one of the world's most beloved fictional characters?! ....and yet, after bellyaching for months I finally started reading the story, and it was really, really good. In fact, Superior Spider-Man was captivating and turned out to be a phenomenal tale in the Spider-pantheon.

 Why can't this be applicable to Cap now? Why can't we just pipe down and let the story be told before we sharpen our pitchforks? Nick Spencer is a HELL of a writer -- all his past works confirm this -- and Tom Brevoort is one of Marvel's best editors. Shouldn't we trust them a bit more than this? Yes, in the EW interview they basically shot down a myriad of theories as to why Cap is a secret Hydra agent...but they didn't shoot down all of them.

 Personally, I didn't think the book was that bad, and neither did our review. Reading it made me start to think of how it came to this, not how Marvel could let this happen. I've learned from Spider-Man, from all the weird Wolverine storylines, from Knightfall and the Death of Superman, that this medium is ripe for bombastic changes. The trick of it is to keep the reader consuming the story, allowing it to gestate, and have it somehow return the character back to its truest form. We owe it to Marvel, despite some of its pretty terrible publishing choices, to tell this story. Even more so, we owe it to Nick Spencer to tell his story.

 

 

Just...stop spoiling shit. We live in a world that hates allowing others to be surprised, so let's fight back. Let's let the story surprise us, and let it surprise others.