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Captain America reveal leads to outrage, death threats

Spoilers from Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 to follow.

All it took was two words to send the Internet into a frenzy: “Hail Hydra.” At the end of Marvel’s new comic, Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 — written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Jesus Saiz — it is revealed that Steve Rogers has been a sleeper agent for the criminal organization Hydra since the very beginning.

For many fans, this news was hard to swallow. Many speculated that this Steve Rogers could be a clone, or brainwashed, or some other red herring. But editor Tom Brevoort was quick to stamp out all guesswork — he confirmed that this is the real Steve Rogers, who has led the Avengers and beaten Hydra to the ground more times than anyone can account. Apparently his entanglement with Hydra began when his mother was recruited to the evil organization.

Cue the outrage. On Twitter, #SayNoToHYDRACap was a trending topic for most of Wednesday. Besides the sense of betrayal fans felt about the seemingly incorruptible hero, many felt it was a betrayal of the intentions of Cap’s creators, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. The two men created him based on their repulsion to Nazi Germany’s actions during World War II.

Panels delved deep into the issue of Captain America and antisemitism, explaining that undermining Steve Rogers’ character — effectively making him a Nazi sympathizer — is a slap in the face of the memory of those killed in World War II and Jewish people who are still harassed around the world.

Even Chris Evans, who portrays Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, was surprised by the reveal:

Some journalists and comics creators, however, were quick to point out that this is far from the first “twist” a comics company has made. There was the death of Superman in 1992 or even Captain America’s own death in the 2006-2007 “Civil War” storyline. Io9, for example, calls the newest twist a “gimmick with no shame” and says Marvel will likely do something “fun” with the reveal.

Still, some weren’t willing to laugh it off as “temporary.” Someone made some edits to Marvel’s Wikipedia page, however briefly:

Some took it even further. After the reveal, Nick Spencer began receiving social-media death threats.

Given that this was just the first issue, and that comic storylines are planned months and months in advance, fan anger is unlikely to change whatever path Spencer, Brevoort and Marvel are heading down. Whether the Hydra reveal is a bluff or something permanent, it’s worth noting that Rogers is not the only Captain America in the current comics universe — this will likely lead to a big confrontation with the current owner of Rogers’ iconic shield, Sam Wilson.

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