M’kay, I dunno how long this post is gonna be ‘cause I’m just writing this as I go, but I feel it’s gonna be a doozy so bare with me while I explain why Nick Spencer’s a f*cking moron and why it make no sense for Cap to be HYDRA and why there’s really no way to explain it or justify it either.
1. It’s the most DISRESPECTFUL thing that could be done with the character, ESPECIALLY considering this character’s origins.
As many of you are probably already aware, the Captain America comics were created during WWII by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, two Jewish Americans, to fight Nazism.
By turning Captain America into a Nazi- ‘cause face it, that’s what HYDRA is (and really, any fuckboys who try and go ‘But HYDRA aren’t really Nazis, they’re a completely different organization!’ can go sleep on the sun because they ARE Nazis. Being comic book stand-ins for the Nazi Party is still equivalent) but by turning Cap into HYDRA shits on everything Kirby and Simon fought for and wanted in this character.
And not only does it invalidate all of their hard work, it basically amounts to Marvel saying that they don’t give a flying fuck about Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, or their legacy. That they don’t care about or respect J&J’s contributions to the comic book industry all while profiting off of their accomplishments.
Not to mention it’s ethically unsound to violate Captain America’s creation as an anti-Nazi symbol.
2. Even if it’s temporary, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Comics are notorious for retcons, brainwashings, time travel, and other gimmicks that allow the creators to backtrack whenever they get bored with or don’t like the direction their characters are headed without having to actually give the story a proper resolution and without having to stop writing that character.
It’s over-used as hell, and many fans are starting to get tired of it, but whatever, we’re used to it, we’ll get over it. In most cases.
But here’s the thing: even if it gets retconned later, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s happening NOW- that right now, Cap’s a Nazi.
That whole idea shouldn’t have even gotten this far.
And guess what? There’s no ‘Takesies Backsies’ in real life. Even when it gets retconned (and I have no doubt that Marvel will try and dig their way out of this), the damage has been done- not only to Cap’s rep, but more importantly to the fans’ trust in Marvel.
So by making Cap HYDRA Marvel’s also saying that not only do they not respect their own staff (Kirby and Simon) they don’t respect their readers either.
Not to mention throwing away 75 years of effort and skill writers and artists put into Captain America just to boost sales is the HEIGHT of moral corruption in favor of monetary gain.
3. We shouldn’t forget the Nazis were a REAL organization that killed, tortured, and maimed MILLIONS OF REAL PEOPLE and America was LITERALLY AT WAR WITH THEM
The Nazis aren’t a joke.
It’s easy to forget that, especially when many people only know about Nazis from History books- that degree of separation makes it difficult for their actions to really have an impact on many of the younger readers other than as a group that existed In The Past ™. But not everyone has such a short memory, and that should be recognized and respected.
But the media has sensationalized the Nazi party as the epitome of all evil, as the exact opposite of what humans should strive to be, and for the most part, I’m okay with the Nazi party being equated to the closest thing to pure evil that exists.
But that sensationalism backfires when it makes people think they have the right to use Nazis like they’re a toy to be played with. Nazis weren’t a gimmick; they mass-murdered real people and that really shouldn’t be overlooked in favor of having a ready-made villain for your story.
And the simple fact that turning a symbol against REAL NAZISM into a Nazi himself cheapens the suffering that Nazis caused, that the creation of Captain America helped alleviate. Politics have always been a strong motivator for comics, and I don’t think that should be forgotten.
Because not only did Cap ‘not get iced for this shit’ but neither did Nazi victims and allied soldiers.
Because sure, Cap’s not real, and neither is HYDRA, but what they represent sure as hell is, and that can’t be overlooked.
4. From a storyteller’s perspective, it makes no sense.
Setting real-world issues aside for the moment, making Cap a Nazi makes no sense as a writer.
Good, compelling writing requires two things, a) the suspension of disbelief and b) effective use of tension and release.
And Nick Spencer’s Captain America has neither.
For one, whose gonna accept that Cap, a character who’s HYDRA’s mortal enemy, is actually a HYDRA Agent? Right there you’ve pulled the reader out of the story.
But more importantly, the comic industry- and most modern media, in fact- have forgotten that tension and release is a thing.
They ramp up the tension so now everything is grimmdark and they think they’re being edgy, but what they don’t seem to realize that putting stress on something will only make it break, and grimmdark can’t last forever. Eventually people are going to need a break. They need something light to balance it out.
Now, I realize that grimmdark stuff has stemmed from a desire to seem more ‘realistic’ and born from the rampant cynicism that currently exists in the world, about the world, that the current generation feels and relates to- after all, if the real world’s shitty, everything should be shitty, and stuff that not shitty seems fake.
But see, that very reason was why Captain America was so important. Cap was the ‘release’, the ‘light’. It was a character and a series that acknowledged all the shit in the real world and said: hey, the world’s shit but we don’t have to let that break us. We can rise above that and make it a better place and that it’s up to each individual person to do so and the first step is genuine human decency.
It reminded people that being good isn’t boring or easy, that it’s difficult and painful actually, but it’s necessary. That if we forgo goodness because we gave up on it, then we just perpetuate the problem.
And frankly, the world needs more messages like that.
And the people who want to read messages like that knew where to find them, because if there was one thing that Captain America has always offered since its conception was the idea that there is hope.
And that’s what Marvel and Spencer destroyed.
It doesn’t make sense from a writer’s standpoint because people read Captain America for that message of hope, and by taking it away you take away peoples’ reason to return.
5. In-universe it makes no sense
Okay, further away from the real world and into the Marvel Universe for a moment.
Cap makes the worst HYDRA spy ever.
First of all, why would you make your super secret sleeper agent the guy who’s in charge of bringing down your organization, and why make him good at it?
Sure, you could argue it was to gain SHIELD’s trust and all, but there are other and more effective ways to do so that would give HYDRA just as much power. Ways that wouldn’t end up with their guys dead or arrested, and all of their plans delayed.
And you could even try and argue that all the HYDRA plans Cap disrupted were red herrings, except that there’s no logical reason for HYDRA to dump so much time, effort, and resources into a decoy. It’s just not done in the history of ever. You don’t pour resources into a decoy that could go towards the actual goal.
Second, Cap’s a loose canon for HYDRA. Cap gets involved in so much shit that HYDRA would have no investment in, that actually letting their super-secret-spy partake in them would just be too risky. The only reason for a 75 year long con is if they think it’ll reap a bigger reward than they would get otherwise. (Which it wouldn’t, considering keeping things short and simple almost ALWAYS has a better payout in the real world than dragging something out for over a decade) And you wouldn’t pour that much into building up your spy’s rep as the ultimate good guy if there’s always the chance he could get offed by a lucky shot from the latest villain of the week that he’s obligated to fight to maintain that reputation.
Next, if Cap’s HYDRA, then he’s opened the door many times for his HYDRA bosses to slip in and effectively take over the world- and not just ‘from the shadows’ but actually, publicly, in power and with all the benefits that comes with with hardly any resistance.
Yet HYDRA doesn’t have that power. And believe me, no organization would pass up opportunity after opportunity to fulfill their agenda the way HYDRA now supposedly has.
And that can tell you that if HYDRA has control over Captain America, they aren’t even using him to his full capacity as a spy.
And why would HYDRA keep trying to get their hands on the super-solider serum if one of their own guys already has a perfect version for them to get samples from?
Furthermore, no matter how evil your organization, it wouldn’t get off the ground without some kind of trust. And no HYDRA agent is going to trust Captain America no matter how many higher-ups tell them he’s on their side. And because of that Cap would make a real shitty field agent working with other HYDRA members cause every order he gives them would be questioned.
It just doesn’t work.
And for that same reason, brainwashing/mind controlling Cap into thinking he’s HYDRA isn’t going to work either, because it has no effect on the actual HYDRA Agents he’d be working with who wouldn’t trust his compliance on something as fragile as brainwashing/mind control when that hasn’t proven effective in the past.
Even with the super-soldier serum there are plenty of other heroes with arguably better and more useful powers to HYDRA, so you can’t say they’re using him for his abilities when other people would be better.
And the biggest problem with brainwashing Cap into being one of their own agents? Steve Rogers is more useful to HYDRA dead than alive.
What a great display of their power would it be for HYDRA to display the corpse of their strongest enemy, proving just how powerful they are how futile it is to fight them- what does it matter how much or how long you fight, if HYDRA will win in the end? And they would 100% take the opportunity to demoralize their remaining enemies (ie the Avengers, etc.) on top of getting rid of the leader and figurehead of those same enemies.
Same reason for why Cap can’t be a triple agent either- it’s just not believable. There’s no reason for HYDRA to take him into their folds. It would be much more effective for the Avengers or SHIELD to infiltrate HYDRA using LITERALLY ANYONE ELSE.
So yeah, HYDRA Cap makes no sense no matter how you look at it.
tl;dr: By making Cap a HYDRA Agent- no matter how temporarily- Marvel has proven they have no respect for their staff, their readers, nor the millions of people who died at Nazi hands or risked their lives to fight the Nazis in WWII, and they can’t even use the ‘its not real’ of ‘its brainwashing, mind control, a clone, etc’ excuse to backtrack from this because HYDRA Cap makes no sense in-universe either for a myriad of reasons that all boil down to the fact that Captain America is the LITERAL WORST CHOICE for a secret sleeper agent