Mention “Secret Empire” to a comic fan and this immediately springs to mind.
We all know this moment. What followed was a series of stories leading up to Secret Empire as fans raged against the idea of Captain America, a character created by two Jewish men in response to the rise of the Third Reich and the US not doing anything to help their European allies until Japan dragged us into the war by attacking Pearl Harbor, would join Nazi’s scientist group (at least in the 616 Marvel universe.) In order to hide his reveal of why Cap turned (compared to DC, who rewrote the villain reveal in Zero Hour to protect their twist then years later revealed twists in the newspaper) they tried everything to soften things. “The Cosmic Cube rewrote Steve’s history. Hydra wasn’t originally Nazi scientists but a cult that worshiped a space alien or something.” This did nothing, and with the rise of politics coming into stories (see also what happened with Captain America under later writers) this was scene as another attack on the United States and it’s way of life, a political move to make a statement. That may have been the only thing that the critics were wrong about, making it also one of the few things the creators didn’t screw up. Maybe.
Just on the surface of the plot I wanted nothing to do with this story. Even if there weren’t political overtones with this, we’re talking about another “darkening our heroes” moment and I’m well past done with that nonsense. So I treat it like I do anything with “Civil War” in the title from Marvel and reject it out of general principle. As I’ve said many times, quality of work does not equal quality of adaptation and this is not how I want to watch our heroes acting. The closest I’ll coming is watching tonight’s Showcase, a three-video overview of the event from Atop The Fourth Wall, because I know at least Linkara’s jokes will be more entertaining that the comic itself. So I bring that gift to you tonight. Enjoy.
I wrote this in response to the part 1 video: “Spencer or someone at Marvel tried to rewrite Hydra as (and this is the condensed explanation) AIM as a cult worshiping a space creature who just happened to use the Nazis for their resources. Too little, too late, guys. Not only has Hydra always been tied to the Nazis and the ideals of the Third Reich, just maybe with them in charge instead of Adolf, but in kid-targeted media when they weren’t comfortable having actual Nazis Hydra took their place. You can’t alter that much continuity for the sake of satisfying people already so disturbed by your story that they stopped reading it and in some cases all of Marvel. Even Bendis would put the breaks on this much continuity screwing.”
“It sounds like this story knows as much about hope as Man Of Steel. In that they know it is a word people like to hear but not knowing why.”
I don’t appear to have written anything for the last video but it sounds like it was the execution where this event failed. The story was dragged out too long, and as far as the Hydra Cap/Real Cap reveal he handled it about as well as I did with my namesake’s backstory in Tales From The Spriteverse. (I did a multipart examination of that failure for Art Soundoff.) I kept trying to satisfy critics without revealing the full lore I had planned until it could be introduced organically into the story and I made numerous mistakes that ended up just annoying or losing potential readers, killing all of the fun I had making the comic and ultimately dooming it. Sometimes the twist isn’t worth it and maybe the #0 FCBD issue should have set up a few details to satisfy those who just saw Nazi Steve Rogers and due to the character’s origins found it offensive. Tease the fact that the real Steve may still exist somewhere, even if it wasn’t in the “real world” and you could still confuse the reader about what’s going on. Was he in Stevel’s head? Was this a replacement? And as each possibility the #0 issue teased being shot down it would still keep things a mystery until what Kobik actually did was revealed. Instead they practically pushed everyone to rush to judgement based on previous history with modern writers and thus the rage took off.
As far as Heroes In Crisis, that’s another one I rejected on principle but it’s inline with Tom King’s Didio-approved approach to the DC Universe. I probably won’t post that one so head to Linkara’s site (link in the RSS feeds) and maybe say a prayer for his sanity. It’s more assassination of great characters and since he’s a DC guy like me I’m prepared to share his pain vicariously. And from what I’ve heard there will be much pain.