Movies & TV / Columns

What We Learned From Captain America: Steve Rogers #2

June 29, 2016 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Civil War II #2, Batman: Rebirth #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

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Last week we asked, “Is Spider-Man’s Clone Conspiracy a Good Idea?” Here’s what you all had to say:

Mike Axelrod: “I think the clone saga was awesome. Am I alone in this world?”

J516: “Please bring back ben Reilly!! Enough teases”

Shadow: “The clone saga coincided with me going from an every week collector to a when I have the cash to eventually pick up the trades when omethinginteresting hapens.”

chris: “Ugh just give us the ORIGINAL , the best one the guy who wisecracks through a fight. The guy who can do AMAZING things not a villain taking over his body not some half assed guy who has to check into his company The guy who can take down electro, the enforcers, dock ock, kraven, the green goblin, the dude who took down fire star. And for god sakes bring back Mary Jane.”

Ron_Mexico_17: “”Some of you reading this may have only heard about the Clone Saga in passing; maybe as a story your parents told you to scare you at night. Believe me. It’s real. All of it.”

Can we stop pretending that The Clone Saga wasn’t both a massive commercial success and by and large well-received by fans? I’m sorry but it was and deservedly so. Ben Reilly and Kaine are both phenomenal characters and while there were plenty of missteps, it was overall a great storyline.”

Al Lobama: “Glad to hear this story isn’t going to lead to more Spider-Man clones, because lord knows there’s enough people running around the Marvel Universe calling themselves Spider-Man already without adding clones into the mix. ; )

I started reading the ANAD Amazing Spider-Man for about eight issues, and while I enjoyed them for being good books I didn’t think they were very good Spider-Man books, if that makes sense. Had this been the story of a completely different hero (or a completely new character) it would have worked great, but it just didn’t feel like Spider-Man. It felt like the creators were tired of telling Spider-Man stories, and instead of moving on to a new title/character they chose to change Spider-Man into something THEY found more enjoyable.

Getting somewhat back to topic, the most interesting subplot going on in those issues was the man in red (apparently Jackal) recruiting villains from Spider-Man’s rogues gallery and gaining their loyalty by reuniting them with their dead loved ones. I have to admit that cloning had never entered my mind as a possible explanation, and that is a good idea that you can build a story around, but like some of Slott’s other Spider-Man arcs (Spider-Island, Spiderverse, Superior Spider-Man) it will probably end up being a year-long epic when a four issue story arc would have been a better fit. Granted, that’s probably Marvel’s “write for the trade” mandate and Slott probably doesn’t have any control over that. At least that’s what I’d like to think.

As for Slott’s comments, I personally think his story would be better served with a Jackal-inspired villain who discovers Dr. Warren’s cloning technology and takes it to a different level (a’la the original Hobgoblin) rather than changing the Jackal’s decades long established motivation to fit the story he wants to tell. Yes, the Jackal has always had a narrow focus, but that’s WHY he is the Jackal. He could be a world-renown scientist at best or an A-List Spidey villain at worst, but his obsession with Gwen Stacy is the Achilles heel that always does him in – like how Lex Luthor’s obsession with beating Superman prevents him from doing greater things. He’s a nut with a crush, but he’s a brilliant nut and that’s what makes him dangerous. If you take away that aspect of his character, then he’s no longer that character, and if you can’t tell an interesting story with that character without changing the character for the sake of your story then the problem is with you as a writer, not with the character.

And I love how Slott thinks that comic book characters coming back from the dead is something DIFFERENT; something that we’re NOT used to seeing. He’s got to be trolling us with that line! ; )”

As always, thanks for the comments!

This week we tackle…

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What Did We Learn From Captain America: Steve Rogers #2?

As if you didn’t know: SPOILERS FOR CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #2

It wasn’t too long ago when we were all discussing…or rather debating…the shocking “twist” in the pages of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. You remember. It was the issue where they revealed that Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, is, and always had been, a sleeper agent of Hydra.

People, many who reacted without even reading the story, were either livid that they would dare do that to Captain America or just shrugged, understanding the wild and wacky world of comic book storylines.

No matter, things got real serious when writer Nick Spencer started receiving death threats. Over a comic book story.

Tom Brevoort, Marvel Executive Editor, and editor of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 came out saying, “I think that’s fair to say. We certainly knew it would be a big book, and a shocking book, and a controversial book. We didn’t predict how extreme and extensive it became. So yeah, we were definitely caught off guard by how big this became.”

Brevoort made a couple of other interesting statements when he said, “Not every story is for every reader. This situation surprises me – and it really shouldn’t because I’ve lived through this sort of thing with Captain America at least twice before. We’re on the anniversary of Civil War II #1. This is what it was like when we had Captain America killed at the end of Civil War. It’s just in 2006, the internet wasn’t quite the presence it is now. Even then, while it was a factor, it wasn’t what it is today. But the reactions here, and a lot of the letters I’m getting, could have been written about Cap’s death. You cross out “killed” and you write “Hydra” and it’s the same basic message, the same basic sentiment.”

Perhaps the most important thing he said, and that a lot of people missed, is, “No, Captain America is not a Nazi.”

Fast forward to now. As we ready for Captain America: Steve Rogers #2, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso came out with how Steve Rogers came to be a Hydra agent.

Turn away now if you don’t want to know!

In pages from the upcoming issue, it’s shown that Steve’s memories of recruitment to Hydra as a child and allegiance to Hydra were implanted by Kobik, the sentient Cosmic Cube that restored his youth and Super-Soldier status during Avengers Standoff! and is under the influence of the Red Skull.

Long time readers know this isn’t the first time Rogers has been subverted by the Red Skull. It’s happened several times and a number of people predicted this online.

So what did we learn?

Probably nothing. Comic book fans know the drill with big stories like these. They know not to get too worked up over announcements and twists like this. We’ve seen it. We’ve been there and done that. Most of us enjoy the journey and are happy with it.

But what about the angry mob proclaiming this was a slap in the face to Cap’s creators? Where did they go and do they still care? Most likely not. Don’t worry though. They’ll be back in time for the next reveal, ready to voice their disgust.

What do you think? Any surprises over issue #2? Are you still interested in seeing where the story goes? Let us know!

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That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!