The internet, particularly the Captain America fan base, has once again been set on fire. After Tuesday's all-day trend of fans arguing over whether or not Marvel should #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend, on Wednesday it was revealed Captain America is a Hydra agent, a fictional terrorist organization with strong Nazi ties in the comics, and he has been one all along. Well, at least according to current Captain America comic writer Nick Spencer; I highly doubt Cap creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby would agree. The latest issue of the comic ended with this twist that — surprise! — the organization that kidnapped and brainwashed Steve's best friend Bucky, and that Steve devoted much of his time and adventures to fighting, has actually been Captain America's allies this entire time.
Steve Rogers has long been a symbol of all that is good and right in the world. You have to look no further than the big screen success of Captain America: Civil War to see Steve is the hero the world needs — an honest man with a big heart and a strong sense of loyalty and friendship. Except now he's apparently also a big fan of Hydra.
In an interview with Time, Marvel editor Tom Brevoort says the Steve-is-a-secret-Hydra-agent reveal has been in the works since 2014. For those who don't keep up with the comic book version of Captain America, Steve Rogers has spent the last couple of years as an old man. The super soldier serum that kept Steve young finally broke down, which led to Steve passing the Captain America moniker over to his long time friend Sam Wilson, also known as The Falcon. Now Steve has taken back his suit to coincide with being young again, but he is also evil, and fans are understandably not OK with this.
And, honestly, go ahead and be outraged because this is a horrible idea. But also know there is no way Captain America will stay a Hydra agent. Spencer insisted in an Entertainment Weekly interview, "This is not a clone, not an impostor, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself." However, I do believe the man does protest too much. Here are all the ways this Steve is a Hydra agent storyline could completely disappear.
1. Captain America Is A Triple Agent
The first issue of this Captain America arc reveals Steve was recruited into Hydra as a child before he became the original Avenger. You can check out the pages at Bleeding Cool, but the issue leans heavily on the fact that Steve came from a home with an abusive father, which could have made joining Hydra beneficial for Steve's mother. It also leaves the door open for Steve to be a triple agent, a man who has been playing Hydra unbeknownst to S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to gain justice for his mother being indoctrinated by Hydra members.
If this is a spy story, then Steve becomes an unreliable narrator, and it allows Spencer to play with the idea of Steve being a Hydra agent without having to fully commit to it. Even the "murder" of fellow hero Jack Flag could easily be a fake out. In the Entertainment Weekly interview, Spencer says the story is "in Hitchcock tradition," and every Hitchcock fan knows not to trust anything they see.
2. It Is An Alternate Universe
There are more alternate universe in the world of comics than there are heroes. In this universe, Steve could be a Hydra agent, but it wouldn't be the Steve or Captain America fans know and love. Alternate universes are popular ways for comic book writers to try "edgy" stories or kill off major characters without it having a long term effect on the character's story. This Steve may have always been a bad guy, but it would only apply to Spencer's run of the series, which has been an odd run anyway thanks to the old man Steve story.
3. It Is All A Dream
Steve is having the worst nightmare ever. Hey, maybe he never actually returned to his vital self, and this is a dying man processing his own mortality. Maybe Steve needs to see what the world would look like if he was on the wrong side to realize why it still needs him so much.
4. Someone Screwed Up The Timeline
Time travel is a thing in the Marvel Universe, and, if a Hydra bad guy went back in time to recruit Steve's mother, it could have left Steve's entire timeline broken. If this is the case, then there will likely be other subtle differences popping up over the next few issues pointing to Steve's history being altered. The biggest flaw in the idea Steve has been a Hydra agent all along is that Steve can wield Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, and you have to be worthy in order to use Mjolnir.
I don't care how good of a liar Steve is. He couldn't fool an ancient Norse hammer, so clearly something is not right here.
5. Steve Came Back Wrong
A character named Kobik is responsible for bringing Steve back from the brink of death as an elderly man. Kobik is not actually a person; instead it's a bunch of cosmic fragments that take the shape of a little girl and has been used by both villains and good guys in their fights. When Kobik restored Steve, it could have given him false memories or simply screwed up his head to the point where he believes he works for Hydra.
6. This Is All One Big "What If" Story
This run of Cap is meant to celebrate 75 years of Captain America. Turning Steve into a Hydra agent is not the best way to celebrate one of the purest heroes this side of Superman. However, creating a "what if" storyline that examines Cap as a Hydra agent could be interesting, as long as it ends with Steve choosing to once again be a symbol for all that is good in the world even after a lifetime of being taught to hate.
One thing is for certain: Steve Rogers is never going to be a bad guy permanently. As always, there is surely a whole lot more to this story than Steve just suddenly being a secret Hydra agent.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy (6)