Marvel Desperately Reassures Fans Captain America Is Still A Hero After Secret Empire Backlash

Marvel Desperately Reassures Fans Captain America Is Still A Hero After Secret Empire Backlash

Marvel’s new big event Secret Empire officially begins tomorrow, but an immense level of backlash has been levelled at the company’s use of a symbolic figure like Captain America as the villainous head of Hydra, an organisation affiliated with Nazis. It’s gotten to the point where Marvel has had to release an official statement in an attempt to reassure fans.

Image: Marvel Comics. Secret Empire #0 Art by Daniel Acuña, and Travis Lanham

The company responded to the anger fans have expressed at Secret Empire‘s subject matter via America’s ABC News, ahead of the first issue in the series hitting stands tomorrow:

With Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire, the forces of Hydra have taken over and, due to the villainous actions of the Red Skull, have manipulated Marvel’s greatest hero, Captain America, and forced him to adopt their cause. At Marvel, we want to assure all of our fans that we hear your concerns about aligning Captain America with Hydra and we politely ask you to allow the story to unfold before coming to any conclusion.

With Marvel pushing Secret Empire in the run up to its beginning in mainstream outlets like ABC News itself, Time Magazine or Entertainment Weekly (where it attempted to backtrack on heavily political undertones of the story), audiences’ reactions to the storyline has been quick and angry. To them, in a time where white nationalism has seen a resurgence in the Western world, Captain America has been twisted and perverted into an icon for the intolerant. Meanwhile, despite pushing Hydra away from its Nazi origins in the comics for years, Marvel’s movies and TV shows — which have introduced millions of people who don’t actively follow the comics to characters and factions like Captain America, the Red Skull and Hydra — have been telling audiences over the last few years that Hydra and the Nazi party might as well be one and the same entity.

Backlash reached a fever pitch with the recent Secret Empire #0 comic that kicked off the event in earnest. Many readers believe the issue’s prologue heavily implies that Steve Roger’s history was not purposefully corrupted by the powers of the reality-altering cosmic cube to turn him into a Hydra agent as audiences had been lead to believe, but instead the restoration of an original timeline in the Marvel universe where Hitler and Hydra won the Second World War, a reality averted by the Allied forces using their own cosmic cube to alter existence.

Marvel Desperately Reassures Fans Captain America Is Still A Hero After Secret Empire Backlash Secret Empire #0 Art by Rod Reis, and Travis Lanham

Secret Empire #0 Art by Rod Reis, and Travis Lanham

It is the reaction to this latest turn of events that has lead Marvel to release this unprecedented statement to ABC News today, which, after imploring audiences to wait and see how Secret Empire plays out, also promises that the series’ climax will see Steve Rogers restored to his former heroic self:

Captain America, will always be a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe who will stand up for what is right, and Secret Empire will be the biggest challenge Steve has ever faced.

What you will see at the end of this journey is that his heart and soul — his core values, not his muscle or his shield — are what save the day against Hydra and will further prove that our heroes will always stand against oppression and show that good will always triumph over evil.

While the statement itself does little to assuage concerned audiences beyond the fact that Steve will be back to normal by the end of the event, the fact that Marvel felt it had to release such a statement speaks to the levels of controversy surrounding Secret Empire.

Whether the uproar is actually diminished by the announcement is yet to be seen. But even if Steve Rogers recovers, will Marvel Comics be able to recover from what they have done to Captain America?

[ABC News]


  • I’m sure this will leave massive shock waves in the Marvel universe, until the next world reset event and the one after that and the one after that and……

  • Well there is some synchronicity in the symbol of America being a white supremacist / nationalist given the current state of things. 😛

    Seriously though the bigger problem (which they have acknowledged) is these constant massive crossover events and reboots. It makes things even more complicated for readers. Especially newer ones. And there is irony there considering a reboot was meant for it to be easier to get new readers in.
    Honestly I’m glad I don’t collect anymore given all of this.
    Although I have picked up the first of the Vader trades and loved it. So will get the rest of those.

  • “Dear fans: We are trying very hard to avoid saying that this is a Trump allegory.”

    • I would have thought this whole thing would have been planed before Trump won the election though?
      They just got lucky with their timing. 😀

      • The rise of American fascism is not a recent thing, Trump is just the eruption of the boil.

        • Yeah very true.
          He is just a symptom of a much bigger disease.
          Something we see here in Australia as well unfortunately.

          • Globalism had many winners, but it also had many losers. And those losers are sick of being written off as acceptable collateral damage. They have a voice that deserves to be heard, but unfortunately it’s afflicted by a curse which makes anything it says come out bigoted.

          • Oh don’t get me wrong I totally get that. The problem is that a lot of the jobs that have been lost that people are chalking up to “immigrants” and “globalism” were actually lost to automation and improved manufacturing processes.
            This has had a much more disastrous impact than globalism.
            And no matter what protectionist policies you put in place that is not going to change.
            In general globalism has lead to a better life for most people. And the situation where are at now is going to make almost impossible to go back. Not without causing massive disruption. price increases and more job losses.
            Having said that I understand how people have been left behind in this changing world and their reaction to it. I just think they’re funneling their anger in the wrong direction.

      • Oh there was no luck involved in the timing.

        There’s no coincidence when you work in narratives.

      • Perhaps they assumed Clinton would win, so decided to make a “what if” story based on a clearly ridiculous premise of fascists taking over the US.

        • Hahahaha.
          Oh how I wish we were living in a “what if” reality.
          At least then things would make some sense.

  • Ehhh Secret Empire is the best event out of Marvel in a long time. Now if only the art wasn’t so hit or miss.

    • I’m finding it to be yet another lacklustre event in a series of lacklustre events.

      Marvel have even acknowledged as much given their recent statement that there will be an embargo on such events after Secret Empire is done.

      • I never said it was great, but when you compare it to civil and secret wars; it is not hard to be the best 😛

  • “Don’t worry everyone, while Captain America may look like a Nazi now, we promise we’re just going to retcon everything at the end anyway so he becomes a hero again. But, you know, you should still read all the comics, even though we just told you what we’re going to do anyway.”

  • Why couldn’t people just let the arc play out then judge it in its entirety. Sigh.

  • I haven’t read the comics. Lets get that in the open. Read a lot of decent and respectable summaries. (not the OMG the worse thing ever type) But things like this annoy me. They are no different than compulsory television episode where our ‘heroes’ are shown to be dead, or gone evil or living in a dream. They tend to be really bad and tiresome because you know ultimately its some form of slight-of-hand, you know they are going to snap out of it. Rarely do television shows make it exciting viewing, Agents of Shield this season almost seem to make it watchable, with their REDACTED storyline.

    Having Cap going to hydra while could be mildly interesting, advertising it as not a slight-of-hand or a trick but really happening, feels wrong. It HAS to be ultimately, he is what, an eighty odd year hero, who is a champion of purity. Thats generations of people growing up looking to him for that.

    So why do it? You alienate the fans who love him because it goes against the very nature of his being? You want to shock in the most lazy way possible? But like all those annoying television episodes where our hero goes bad, we always know they will snap out of it, until the point they do, the drama and all the damage done is false. We want our heroes to be challenged not to change the very fundamental of who they are.

    • “We want our heroes to be challenged not to change the very fundamental of who they are” Example number two… this seasons Walking Dead. (for some reason I couldnt edit my post)

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