Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Have I figured out what the 'Hail Hydra' is going on with Steve Rogers?

Shortly after I posted my "What the 'Hail Hydra'?" review of CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS No. 1, my theory on why Cap is now apparently a Hydra agent started taking shape. In fact, it came into sharp focus. I just wish I could have put it into words when I was writing my review!

I know why Steve Rogers is — or at least seems to be — a member of Hydra.

My theory goes back to the "Attack on Pleasant Hill" storyline from the CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON series (also written by Nick Spencer). At the end of issue 9, the Cosmic Cube personified, an adorable girl named Kobik, turns Rogers from the old, Super Soldier Serum-less man back into the young man we know and are used to seeing.

And that transformation got me thinking.

Since the Cube messes with reality, why couldn't it do the same thing with someone's personality? Or even their history? We'd just seen Maria Hill turn vilains into non-threatening members of a quaint community, soooo …

And since the Red Skull is obsessed with possessing the Cube and defeating Captain America (and many times, those two goals have coincided!), why wouldn't he want to twist Cap into a vision of his own choosing — a twisted, Hydra-following version? Why not make Cap the very thing he despises?

After all, the Red Skull takes credit for manipulating reality and the circumstances to introduce Sam Wilson into Rogers' life.

So why not take that concept one step further and mess with Rogers' history? Why not have the Red Skull make Rogers think he grew up being introduced to the tenants of Nazi-loving, freedom-hating Hydra at an early age?

What better way for the Red Skull to humiliate Captain America and destroy his reputation then by making him a longtime member of Hydra, but one whose "affiliation" hasn't been revealed until many, many years later?

The second issue of STEVE ROGERS pretty much confirmed my theory, thanks to the Skull's monologue.

First of all, the Red Skull says he plans to "destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. from within."

At first, he is stunned to learn Kobik has turned Dr. Erik Selvig into a passionate Hydra follower without his knowledge. Once he learns he can guide Kobik into doing his bidding and he sees the brilliance of what the girl has done with Selvig, the Red Skull is delighted. You practically can imagine him rubbing his hands together with glee as he begins to see the power he can wield.

Wanting to be affirmed like any child would want, Kobik asks the Skull is she did "good."

"Indeed you did, girl. And you can do this … to anyone?"

Then the Red Skull hears exactly what he needs to know, the next part of his diabolical plan.

"Uh-huh. I think so," Kobik tells him. "I like fixing people — making them Hydra makes them better than ever!"

"And in that moment, I knew what I would do … how they would fall," the Red Skull says in his monologue.

From there, he details the circumstances of the Pleasant Hill situation.

Once you put it all together, the Red Skull obviously plans to make Rogers believe he's a member of Hydra — even if that's not the truth. From there, the villain plans to dismantle S.H.I.E.L.D. and/or have its agents follow Hydra.

Granted, I have no idea where Spencer is going with this storyline ultimately, but it should be a fun ride as I find out.

Cary Ashby and Cary's Comics Craze from waaaay downtown!

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