TEL AVIV – The latest installment of the Captain America franchise has had some fans up in arms as Marvel Comics revealed that its American hero is in fact a secret agent for the evil terrorist ex-Nazi organization, Hydra.
The unexpected twist happens on the last page of “Captain America: Steve Rogers #1,” as the eponymous “hero” gets ready to throw his ostensible ally, Jack Flag, off an airplane, and exclaims, “Hail Hydra!”
Even Chris Evans, who plays Captain America in the Marvel movies, was shocked.
Writer Nick Spencer assured readers that this isn’t a gimmick and that Captain America will remain a Hydra sleeper. The next issue will examine the roots of his becoming a double-agent for the fascist organization.
Some critics have panned the twist for being a kick in the stomach to the comic’s Jewish creators, Joe Simon (born Hymie Simon) and Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg).
Captain America was created while World War II was raging in Europe and the United States was still not involved. For Simon, creating Captain America was a political statement – he wanted the U.S. to stop the Nazis.
The very first issue of Captain America, which sold nearly a million copies, saw Captain America punching Adolf Hitler.
Creator Simon explained that the villain’s identity came before the hero’s.
“I picked Adolf Hitler as the ideal villain. He had everything that Americans hated, and he was a clown with the funny moustache, yet guys were ready to jump out of planes for him. He was the first choice, and his antagonist would have to be our hero, and we’d put a flag on the guy and have Captain America,” he said before his death in 2011.
Jessica Plummer, a comic books critic, said the ending of the new comic was offensive in a world where anti-Semitism still rages on. “I am angry, because Steve Rogers’s Jewish creators literally fought in a war against the organization Marvel has made him a part of to grab headlines,” she wrote.
Other iconic superheroes from Marvel were created by Jews. Spiderman, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, and the X-Men were all created by Stan Lee, the son of Jewish immigrants. Kirby also co-created the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk.