Remember when stories were allowed to finish before people called it the worst thing since sliced death? Yeah, so do I. I miss those days.
Today, the second issue of Nick Spencer’s Steve Rogers: Captain America series was released. The first issue started an arc in which Steve Rogers, America’s sweetheart, was revealed to be a Hydra sleeper agent that had been sleeping ever since he first put on the pointy white ears. Immediately, the whole of the Internet erupted. “HOW DARE THEY DO THIS TO SUCH AN ESTABLISHED CHARACTER???” said most of Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, and probably even on Diaspora for all four of its current users to read. Things got outright cruel even, with certain overreacting individuals threatening death upon Spencer for daring to put his pen on paper to craft this tale.
People reacted with all this vitriol after issue one. Marvel’s Tom Brevoort, along with Spencer, soaked this all in and gave interviews saying this would be Steve Rogers’ status quo for the foreseeable future:
Issue 2 will lay a lot of our cards on the table in terms of what the new status quo is, but the one thing we can say unequivocally is: This is not a clone, not an impostor, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself.
And so here we are, June 29th, and issue two hits stands. Spencer did stick to his exact words: Captain America isn’t being mind controlled, nor has he been replaced by a clone named The Scarlet America, and it’s not an actor whose features have been altered to make him look exactly like Steve Rogers. You’re welcome for those references, fans of 90’s Spider-Man comics. Instead, Cap’s entire history, personality, and existence has been altered by Marvel’s favorite McGuffin: The Cosmic Cube.
Which brings me to an article published by Paste Magazine earlier today, in which the author of the piece insinuates that Marvel saw the response to the beginning of this storyline and decided to alter their course to placate the masses. “All of this just screams of a shameless gimmick while also trying to give readers what they want,” the article says. Insert my response in gif form below.
When issue one was released, it was not billed as a one-shot. It was released as the start of a new storyline. Admittedly, I was a bit taken aback by the Hydra news at first, but then I came to my senses. Why? Because this is comics. And, as tends to be the norm with at least Marvel and DC, things happen to a well established character, and then eventually they are resolved and restored. I never thought Hydra Cap would be the norm, just like I knew that eventually Peter Parker would regain control of his mind in Superior Spider-Man. Just like I knew back in the day that Superman would come back from the dead. Just like I knew that Batman’s back wasn’t going to stay broken, or that Iron Man wasn’t going to be a teenage boy forever. Oy to that last one.
We comic book readers appreciate being challenged to read something new and different, as long as what replaces it is something enjoyable. New 52 over at DC was a mixed bag, but at least it was an attempt at reinventing the wheel. And now they’re righting that ship with Rebirth, which is the New New. Steve Rogers: Captain America is the current New, but once this storyline is complete, no matter how long Nick Spencer lets this sleeper agent story go, us readers will be able to assess whether or not this particular twist was worth it or not. The first issue just isn’t the place to do that, and neither is the second issue. As Michael Golden once said, to everyone’s chagrin, “Patience is a Virtue.” I truly wish that the media, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Google+ were able to exercise that virtue more often sometimes. But that’s not how the Internet works, unfortunately. I await the newest overblown outrage to the next New, whatever that may be.