Today’s rant comes in the form of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unfortunately, the bad and the ugly are the same thing.
In my discussions on amalgam and target amalgams I’ve frequently mentioned the ’90s X-men cartoon. I’ve also theorized that the creative team behind Marvel’s Legendary deck builder game knows this version of the X-men is the most common amalgam and now for some reason is actively working against it. Anyway, after the release of X-men: Apocalypse, Honest Trailers released , well, an honest trailer of that iconic series. And no, Jubilee never did happen.
The Other Good, but With a Caveat:
And lo, the prophecy has come to pass and DC Comics is again rebooting their universe with a monster comic titled, appropriately, “DC Rebirth.” The main premise is, as far as I can understand, that something horrible broke the DC universe directly leading to the New 52 and the Wally West/Kid Flash/the Flash who was hitherto banished from the New 52 by editorial mandate is the narrator of the story who explains how he was kicked out of continuity but survived and is working to mend the universe. The story’s author is not being subtle with the meta-commentary here. The only slightly worrisome part to the story is the ending which hints at the force that broke the universe.
The Bad and the Ugly:
How can the people running Marvel Studios get the characters so right and the people running Marvel Comics get the characters so wrong? In a series of events that probably is as stupid as it sounds in shorthand, Captain Steve Rogers America started aging rapidly when the super soldier serum stopped working and handed the title over to former Falcon Sam Wilson. But then, of course, because nothing ever truly upsets the status quo, Steve Rogers was somehow de-aged and is again Captain America but so is Sam Wilson. And “Captain America: Steve Rogers #1” ends with Steve Rogers unironically saying, “Hail HYDRA.”
Lordy, lordy, this comic is a fetid stew of bad and ugly. There are some unfortunate implications in having Sam Wilson share the title of Captain America with Steve Rogers, namely, the implication that Sam is no longer as important or that Steve Rogers is the “real” Captain America. Unfortunately if a diversity character takes on the mantle of a long-established (white male) character, that only lasts until the long-established (white male) character returns to take back the title. Don’t tell me this doesn’t happen because it’s exactly why I stopped reading “Ultimate Spider-man.” I was totally on board with Miles Morales as Spider-man and then in issue #1 of “Miles Morales: Spider-man” ends with Miles finding the presumed dead Peter Parker alive and well. God damn it.
And Steve Rogers doing a face-heel turn? No one is actually surprised. Okay, well, maybe a little because at least I thought the people running Marvel Comics would realize making Steve Rogers evil was just too, too stupid. Clearly I have underestimated them yet again. Perhaps there’s another stunning plot twist in this considering Steve’s de-aging had something to do with a Cosmic Cube (an almost literal deus ex machina) and we’ll find out, say, this is the Steve Rogers from universe 597 or something (although I don’t know how that works since Marvel’s “Totally not Secret Wars but Actually Crisis on Infinite Earths” event).
I told one of my co-workers about this and pointed out, if Steve Rogers is indeed a deep cover HYDRA agent, he is terrible at his job. One can make an argument that some battles have to be lost to win the war, but at what point have too many battles been lost? I would argue that such is the case with HYDRA. If Steve is an agent, there were so many opportunities he could have pushed an encounter to favor HYDRA and no one would know, but he didn’t. He helped win WWII. He woke up in the ’60s and headed up the Avengers, one of HYDRA’s primary foes. Steve as a HYDRA agent is so incompetent, so ill-conceived, he could be part of the Illuminati.
Some sites are calling this twist interesting, but I disagree. There is NOTHING interesting about making a hero into a villain. This is Marvel and DC’s primarily go-to plot to stir up sales for a solo book (with the secondary go-to plot being a “bad future” story line). Is this the best Marvel can do: put Steve Rogers back on center stage (pushing out Sam Wilson) just to claim he’s actually been a bad guy all this time?
To quote my co-worker (when told of this) – “That’s so stupid!”