Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 was unleashed on the masses this past Wednesday, and it was a fun, standard Cap is kicking some evil guys’ ass with the help of sidekicks almost forgotten by time, along with a telegraphed flashback story that carried a gut punch of a last page reveal. A reveal most people got in the headlines of newspaper on their way to read the actual issue. Captain America said it, “Hail HYDRA.” Since then wave after wave of online reactions have from funny ones and several memes, to the entire creative team of the book getting death threats and videos of people burning the book. The biggest discussion has been over the connotations this carries, and the opinion of some that Steve Rogers has basically declared to sympathize with the Nazis. HYDRA is one of those , comic-booky, permeable, changing organization that started in the 60s to represent the ever-present faceless threat of communism, and the cinematic universe has adapted it to have ties to the Nazis that were later severed. This is reflected in the issue itself when it shows a moment of people beating someone up only based on the color of his skin. This comic isn’t shying away from the ever-changing face of its antagonistic force. This change in Steve Rogers’ history is worthy of such polarizing and passionate reactions (not death threats, it’s still a fucking comic book, calm yourselves people), but among the many opinions there seems to be one missing. Everyone is losing their minds over what happened to THIS Captain America and seem to forget that we already have a Captain America.
After Steve Rogers had the Super Soldier serum extracted from his body and instantly became an old man, Captain America comics hasn’t gone on Captainless. Sam Wilson, the Falcon took up the shield and the mantle of Captain America. Another topic which caused a lot of controversy and a similar polarizing reaction among the community. Sam Wilson: Captain America comics and its current run is also written by Nick Spencer has been championing the progressive thoughts that this bold direction carried with, much of the first arc reflecting the current political landscape in the country and staying strong to the core of the decision and facing the opposition head-on. If you don’t believe me, please pick up the first volume of this fantastic run, aptly named Not My Captain America.
I was very excited to this bold new take on Cap have excitedly read every issue. Captain America disagreeing with Steve on hard hitting issues, a new Falcon taking flight in the name of Joaquin Torres a fellow Latino with a story similar to those close to me. Sam Wilson: Captain America has been a fun and engaging book from the beginning of Spencer’s run and I couldn’t wait to see where this Cap would go. Then the announcement of Steve Rogers’ return was made, my heart was broken by Marvel. They had done it again, cut a promising book run just as its taking off (I already miss you, Weirdworld) by backing out of a new direction in order to favor the established formula. So my main question this week while reading Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 was: What does this mean for Sam? How will my Captain America land in this? And the answer after that last page is very clear. He’s still our Cap. Sam Wilson continues to be the one to deserve the shield.
I get it, having Steve Rogers say those words means a lot to a lot of people. But keeping Sam Wilson as the Captain America to root for and to stand behind means a lot to a lot of us as well, Everything in comics is tangential and nothing stays as is for long. These days and many occasions not long enough. And having a good tenure of Sam Wilson and Joaquin Torres as Cap and Falcon will mean a lot more in the long run that two words at the end of a splash page in a first issue. It admittedly makes me intrigued to see how Steve will behave now, but mores so, I’m excited to see how will Sam Wilson, the Captain America will deal with it.
Before you go burn another comic book or send Nick Spencer another hateful tweet in favor of progressive, anti-Nazi opinion, remember that this is the guy who is championing a comic with Captain America as an African American guy with Falcon as a Mexican guy who cares deeply about immigrants.