Well the first issue of Steve Rogers: Captain America has caused a bit of a shake up in the comic book industry, second only to DC’s Rebirth. If you don’t know by now, which means that you are living in an internet blackout, Steve Rogers is a Hydra sleeper agent. All I have to say is, “yawn.”
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Hydra seems to have planted sleeper agents throughout the superhero community, waiting for the right time to strike. For some reason that time is now, 2016. In the end, I bet no real consideration is paid to this. Why now, why not before? The only plausible reason would be the fact that not all the agents had been in place. If that’s the fact, then you mean you’ve allowed Cap all these years to lay the beat down on you, not to mention other heroes, because you weren’t ready? That makes no sense. If a particular sleeper was that much of a thorn before they were activated, and if Cap was a convert since before he became super (that’s simply conjecture, because of the flashbacks from issue one) then why not just off the guy, and be done with him while you place more agents?
Now, in all fairness, there is a lot of story yet to be told, and I don’t know the direction in which this will play out. It is possible that Nick Spencer, who cooked up the idea, could be getting read to take us on a magical journey with one of the best superhero stories ever told. Some of the best stories can come out of left field, but they still need to deliver something that is plausible, and makes sense in the end.
From the moment I read the first issue, a couple of things stood out to me. The first was all the references to this Pleasant Hill, which was an event that occurred in the Avengers: Standoff series. To be honest I didn’t read that, and had no desire to. I don’t feel bad for missing out on such an important piece of information for this story, mostly because I hate the common practice of spreading a story through tons of books to get you to buy them. So here I am, reading a book with a plot that serves as a continuation of a story from another series. What does that tell us? It tells us that this newest incarnation of a Captain America comic is just a tool to launch another mega event.
If this plot twist really is as legit as they claim it to be, then Marvel just invalidated all of Captain America’s back story. Sure it happened, but he was a Hydra sleeper agent the whole time? This doesn’t only undermine the characters personal history, it kind of taints a huge chunk of marvels continuity, not to mention the character himself. I guess that doesn’t matter anymore since they hit the restart button with Secret Wars 2. If this is a hard truth, and he really is a sleeper agent, then boo. Marvel is playing fast and loose with their continuity, but then again, in the eyes of the big two, continuity gets in the way of sales.
Which brings me to the Cosmic Cube, really, enough with that thing already. Let me see — we want to be able to tell the most crazy, bizarro-world type of story we can think of, and here is our built in way to do it, the Cosmic Cube. If they didn’t use the damn thing in every other major Captain America story line I might not care so much, but enough is enough. Stop leaning on a reality-changing device to make your story happen, only to then use it again as the ultimate backdoor out when it’s time to hit the reset button; that’s lazy writing.
My last point is this: if you want to have Captain America be a better hero, get him a better rogues gallery. When it comes to Cap, he only has a couple of bad guys of note, and really the Red Skull is the only one who has any kind of super stardom of his own. Most of Cap’s recurring villains are also old Nazis, like Zemo and Arnim Zola. While they’ve made for great antagonists, it’s time for villains who are not rooted in the past. Sure they have Hydra and the Serpent Society but, in the end, you need more villains the readers can care about.
Captain America is my favorite character, along with Daredevil and Batman. I have fond memories of this character. Maybe I am simply throwing a fit because I don’t like the way the story is going, but I doubt it. You see, what I’m really mad at is the lack of desire on the part of the publisher to give us quality stories, not just the next installment of a mega event. I want a story I can sink my teeth into and remember not just months afterwards, but years and decades later. You’ll see, after the dust has all settled, we will be right back to where we started. There will be some kind of crazy scheme that set everything back right, and put everything neatly into a row so that the next mega event can bowl it over. You never get to see thee evolution of characters in comics anymore — it’s all just set up.
For the record, I hope I’m wrong. I hope that Mr. Spencer, with his editorial oversight, can guide this into a proper story. There is a reason I have not read Captain America comics on a regular basis for nearly ten years, except to check in on a new creative team, or to do a review, and unfortunately, I have a feeling this will be just the latest in that trend.