Five Worse Offenses To Captain America Than “Hail Hydra”
Hail Hydra! By now the word has gotten out that last week, it was revealed that Steve Rogers has been, oh, obligatory spoiler warning…
…Cap has been a Hydra operative for his entire life. A lot of people felt betrayed by it, but there have been at least five time that are worse in Cap’s 75-year history. Because everyone is outraged over a story that hasn’t played out, we’re going to remind you that Cap has come back from far worse, and there are five times Captain America was treated by creative people with less respect than was at least obligatory.
In the 1980s, Marvel tried so hard to get their characters out of comics. They sold film and television rights like crazy, and even worked with someone to bring Captain America to a Broadway show. Pre-production didn’t get far, but the story had Cap’s mid-life crisis interrupted when his girlfriend, a candidate for President kidnapped by terrorists who force a showdown with Cap at the Lincoln Memorial.
This is one of the reasons we’re so fortunate that Kevin Feige came along and stopped Marvel from loaning out its characters for other media.
Speaking of poor decisions, the film rights for Captain America went to those bastions of quality filmmaking, Golan-Globus.
Golan-Globus was the production company behind Cannon Films, which put out most of the action movies of the 1980s that featured almost cartoonish violence following an almost embarrasing string of films that featured gratuitous nudity and sexuality. Among their film library are the Death Wish sequels starring Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris’s Delta Force, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Bo Derek’s Bolero, and Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo. After Cannon films was bought by another company, Menahem Golan put Captain America into production, but released it through his own company 21st Century Film Corporation, not to be confused with 20th Century Fox.
The Red Skull was Itailian. The Captain America costume, while on the surface faithful to the comics, crowded actor Matt Salinger’s eye and featured fake ears. It went straight to video two years after it finished production. The Red Skull’s plot is to brainwash the President, who had been saved by Captain America as a boy, into abandoning his pro-environmental positions. In stopping the Red Skull, he not only intentionally knocks him off of a cliff, he decapitates the Red Skull’s daughter. This is the culmination of a horribly mismanaged story with obviously low production costs.
It was the 1990s. Everyone had some type of armor. Captain America learned that he was being paralyzed, then killed by the Super-Soldier serum. Tony Stark made him an exoskeleton that let him continue his fight. Eventually, Steve Rogers succumbed to the degeneration, but recovered in time for the new creative team of Mark Waid and Ron Garney to take the character in a direction that honored the character more than turning him into Iron Man with a shield.
What makes this so offensive a development is that it ignores what makes Captain America special is that despite being fueled by a Super-Soldier Serum, he’s still just human. He is the peak of humanity, but not superhuman. His motivations are in doing the right thing, because someone has to, not because he has more firepower, or stronger armor. Mark Waid understood that, which is what made the stories that followed this so special.
Of course that didn’t last long, but before I get to that travesty, we need to talk about one more time Marvel did something atrocious to the character of Captain America.
This is the one that you’ve heard of. The story is so bizarre so just bear with me, because it makes so little sense.
Captain America’s personal pilot is John Jameson who once was curesed to be the Man-Wolf. He went missing and as Cap went to investigate, he found himself attacked by werewolves, controlled by the villains Nightshade and Dredmond. In battling a hypnotically controlled Wolverine, Cap is injected with the werewolf serum by Nightshade.
Fortunately, the Super-Soldier Serum prevented Cap from losing his mind to the werewolf serum, he escapes, fights Wolverine again, but is captured by a werewolf hunter. Held with other werewolves, he becomes the Alpha male and encounters Wolfsbane. Cap leads the werewolves against Dredmond, who uses John Jameson’s moongem to become Starwolf. Cable shows up and gets himself and Capwolf captured. Wolverine is freed from his hypnosis and joins Capwolf’s team of werewolves to defeat StarWolf. When Nightshade is injected with the werewolf serum, she develops an antidote which is used to restore everyone that has been turned into a werewolf by it, including Cap.
It’s a mess of a story that relies on guest stars and treats Captain America as if he can’t carry the story on his own. However, it was 1992, and Wolverine guest-starred in almost every Marvel comic. They threw in Cable, who was hot as well. It relied on everything but Captain America to make this horrible concept resemble a story.
1. Rob Liefeld. Hail Hydra.
Heroes Reborn was an attempt by Marvel Comics, made in the midst of the market collapse of the 1990s to boost sales on its flagship titles. Avengers, Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Captain America were given to Image creators Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. Liefeld had control of Captain America, which did not bode well. There were minor aesthetic changes to Cap’s costume that showed an ignorance of the symbolic history of World War 2.
Rob Liefeld was at most hackneyed version of himself, ignoring anatomy, perspective, all for the sake of dynamic pages. Unfortunately, a lack of the basics of good storytelling makes for confusing scenes. Coupled with a mediocre script from writer Jeph Loeb over Liefeld’s plot makes the book almost unreadable for a fan of Captain America. It also makes it offensive to anyone that loves good storytelling and art in comics. It is by far one of the worst things that Rob Liefeld has ever done, and he has done a lot of bad comics.
So before you lose your mind over Cap saying “Hail Hydra,” remember that Cap has survived worse.