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05/05/2019 02:17:12 •••

This Can't Be Too Hard: NAZIS. BAD.

This is the worst storyline Marvel comics has ever done. Yes, worse than One More Day. Worse than Punisher becoming an angel. Worse than Ultimate Tony Stark's backstory as a baby turned into a giant living brain after being infected in utero with mutant monkey blood. Yeah. Worse than that. Here's what I imagine the writing process for this event was like:

"Here's a brilliant idea: take Captain America, the kindest, purest, and noblest superhero in the Marvel Universe, and retcon his backstory so that he was a Nazi sleeper agent this whole time! That's a shocking twist and totally not a contrived Ass Pull that disrespects his Jewish-American WWII veteran creators! Then, let's have more beloved Marvel heroes like Punisher (a moral crusader with no loyalty to anything other than his quest to kill evildoers) and Deadpool (a zany screwball who has no loyalty to anything period) become Nazis as well! Yeah, then we'll have this totally-badass-and-not-at-all-dreary-and-depressing storyline of our Nazi heroes repeatedly winning against outside forces, and portraying those same Nazis as the lesser of two evils compared to other villains totally won't come across as horrifyingly tone-deaf in a time when fascism and white supremacy are becoming increasingly normalized in America! Then, to prevent the fanboys and SJ Ws (because hating Nazis makes you an SJW, apparently) from getting too angry, we'll just end the story with a nonsensical Deus ex Machina that makes it so the heroes aren't Nazis anymore! How could anyone possibly object to something like that?"

This is the storyline that made me almost give up on Marvel's comics. It's dull, depressing, trashy, nonsensical, and shamelessly exploitative. If you'll excuse me, I'll go watch Inglorious Basterds to revive the part of my soul this comic destroyed.

05/01/2019 00:00:00

I haven\'t watched the entirety of the storyline, so can\'t really judge how right you are, but... wasn\'t the whole point being that Captain Hydra was a villain? And that the new backstory was an in-universe retcon that eventually got reversed?

05/03/2019 00:00:00

I can\'t say turning a character, intended by his Jewish-American creators to be an ideal for which people ought to strive for and published as a commentary on WWII prior to Pearl Harbor, when WWII was viewed as \"not our problem,\" into a Nazi is somehow made better by the proclamation of \"But the point is that he\'s a villain.\"

05/03/2019 00:00:00

Okay let me clarify: it doesn\'t make it better, it just means that the writers who did this knew that Nazi were bad, as this review\'s title seems to suggest they didn\'t realize that.

What makes it better, on the other hand, is the fact that it was an in-universe retcon; they didn\'t change Cap\'s actual backstory in the setting, it still happened the way the creators intended; they had him replaced with a Captain America from an alternate timeline where he was a Nazi... I think. It wasn\'t very clear. At the end of the storyline, the message remain that this nazi Captain America wasn\'t the real Captain America, and the real one comes back. It\'s basically just a classic storyline about the hero being brainwashed/replaced by an evil duplicate, only with a much more confusing explanation of how. That\'s not exactly something new under the sun, and it didn\'t cause that much of an outrage before.

05/03/2019 00:00:00

He does point out the other ways in which it\'s a problem, though, Theo, or in which its handling came across as tone-deaf and tin-eared, instead of just spending the entire review ranting about it.

05/03/2019 00:00:00

I don\'t remember accusing him to rant in any way, nor do I see how this nullifies my point.

05/03/2019 00:00:00

And I didn\'t mean to accuse you of accusing him of that, helpfully.

Let me put it this way: his point was not that turning Captain America into a Nazi is bad. His point was that, at a time when neo-fascist white-supremacy movements are on the rise in American society, turning a Jewish-American-created symbol of resistance to fascism like Captain America into a Nazi is tone-deaf shock-jockery. And that\'s setting aside his broader but equally-well-put point that the story\'s poor layout only makes the unfortunate implications of that worse. And that\'s setting aside his point that, even ignoring all of the political stupidity, it\'s still a weak, poorly-constructed, lacking story.

05/04/2019 00:00:00

There\'s a frequent danger in stories about perverse topics that they risk becoming so much about the perversity that the message at the end to NOT do this thing feels tacked on and feeble. So even if the story is nominally about how Captain America being a Nazi is bad, spending so much time on trying to maintain the facade of \"but he totally can be both!\" thus weakens the impact of the closing claim.

See also Exploitation Film and Do Not Do This Cool Thing.

05/04/2019 00:00:00

Rereading the review, it\'s clear that \"Nazis. Bad\" refers to the use of Nazis was bad, not that the reviewer somehow thought the writers were trying to make Nazis good guys. And I agree. It doesn\'t matter how much in-story justification there is, it was not a good decision on the writers\' part. It took the comic book writer\'s impulse to do some stupidly \"shocking twist\" in a vain attempt to put their own stamp on a character that has been through dozens of hands, and added Nazis. As noted, there have been brainwashing plots before, but those writers were smart enough not add Nazis. When you add Nazis where they are not needed, nothing good comes of it.

05/04/2019 00:00:00

the use of Nazis was bad

Uh. Using nazi in a story is bad? Okay, then, I guess Hell Boy, the original Captain America comics (from the same guys you're saying it's disrespectful to) and any Marvel comic using Hydra are terrible then, because Nazi have been used as bad guys in all of these. Nazi seriously are the most commonly used villains in Fiction's History, and in Captain America in particular. For Christ's sake, Captain America's first comic cover had him punch Hitler in the face!

Sorry, I do not get the problem here. HYDRA has been a major antagonist in Marvel for years, yet somehow using them as the ones behind the brainwashing is bad now? Also I am pretty sure even them using the brainwashed hero plot isn't new.

05/04/2019 00:00:00

Me: \"When you add Nazis where they are not needed...\" You: Oh, so you can\'t EVER use Nazis?

We\'re telling you the foundation of the house is cracked, and you\'re trying to quibble about the decor.

05/04/2019 00:00:00

Then define how you know when they aren't needed. In this case, Nazi have always been part of Captain America's story, so they were the obvious choice to make a story about him being a villain. I fail to see how that makes them "unneeded". Mephisto in One More Day was unneeded because it made no sense for him to be with Spidey. HYDRA actually is part of Cap's Rogues Gallery.

05/04/2019 00:00:00

\"Then define how you know when they aren\'t needed.\" No. Not only have multiple people explained the issue to you here, but you have repeatedly taken a single phrase out of people\'s entire responses and acted like that is the whole of the discussion. You\'re sealioning and wasting people\'s time.

05/04/2019 00:00:00

Am I? No need to get agressive here, I am just trying to understand what the heck is so controversial about this storyline, and so far none of what you or the others said has convinced me. It doesn't matter how many times you explain it, it's not my fault if I am not convinced by the arguments. If you don't want to explain clearly and prefer accusing me of wasting your time, that's your problem entirely, but it doesn't really help to convince me.

Allow me to put it this way: Superman The Animated Series also had a plot about Superman being brainwashed into serving Darkseid. Darkseid ALSO was created by Kirby and based on the Nazi (though admittedly not as blatant as HYDRA). So once again we had a hero who is The Parangon being turned into a servant of a nazi analogue... and nobody batted an eye back then. Why is it problematic in this storyline?

And since you apparently want me to adress the other arguments instead of focusing on one line:

If it's the Do Not Do This Cool Thing, then why isn't Red Skull controversial, as he is a pretty popular villain despite being blatantly a Nazi?

If it's the whole context of right-wing being on the rise in real life America, fine, but isn't that the entire point of the story? To have an evil version of Captain America appearing and introducing himself as the true face of America only to end up beaten up by the real Cap returning, mirroring all the right-wing extremists in America who pretend they represent the true face of America? In that context, seems like a pretty good message to me.

So yeah, I did hear them. I focused on that specific line because that's the part you brought up, and I was talking with you specifically.

05/04/2019 00:00:00

Captain America was created (by Jewish creators) specifically in OPPOSITION to Nazism. To suddenly make him an actual Nazi (not some new breed of right wing extremist, but specifically a Nazi) is EXTREMELY tone deaf and unnecessary. An \"evil\" Captain America is not inherently a bad idea. A NAZI Captain America... Is.

05/04/2019 00:00:00

@Jakobitis: okay, please clarify something for me there: are you saying it\'s wrong to make a Nazi version of Captain America, or to turn the actual Captain America into a nazi? Or both? Just trying to follow there.

05/05/2019 00:00:00

Both. And again, only making him specifically a Nazi is the sticking point because of his creation as an anti-Nazi figure. A generically evil Cap is fine. Ultimate Captain America is extremely conservative/right-wing by modern standards but definitely NOT a Nazi. That\'s the difference.

05/05/2019 00:00:00

Okay I see now. Thank you for clarifying.

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