At a time when My Hero Academia brings such optimism to the superhero narrative, it is disappointing that today brings news that Marvel Comics will have Captain America Steve Rogers be revealed to have been a Hydra spy. Not only does this storyline borrow from the Winter Soldier film adaptation–years too late–only with Cap rather than SHIELD as having always been Hydra, but the article suggests Cap’s work within Hydra will be repeating the xenophobic talking points of Donald Trump.
While my colleague Keith Friedlander points out very well that Marvel actually could be using Rogers as representative of a divided America, with he and fellow Captain America Sam Wilson identifying two approaches to United States identity, I cannot stomach such a portrayal. I cannot accept a story that, rather than immediately and without equivocation condemn Donald Trump and his voters, instead gives them a voice.
Since he announced his presidential run–no, earlier, when he, solely out of the racism and xenophobia that is at his core, dared to doubt the citizenship of the first black president–Donald Trump’s xenophobia and fascism has deserved no voice. And yet this madman, thanks to a feckless cable news media thriving on sound bytes, fake controversy, and reducing politics into a goddamn horse race, already dominates television screens 24/7, as if interviewing an incoherent, ignorant buffoon will yield new understanding of his madness, hatred, and bigotry. And this madman will be the nominee for a Republican Party that has thrived on feeding such prejudice for decades, culminating with bigotry against our fellow human beings on the basis of their gender, not to mention unfettered misogyny. Such violence deserves no respect, and anyone who votes for Trump deserves to be mocked for their vote.
Regardless whatever sound goals Marvel’s team of creators had to make Rogers into a Hydra agent, and I see hardly any that are worthwhile at this time, the words of Donald Trump deserve no platform: his ideas must be knocked down as a part of dangerous movement and should be mocked as unrealistic, unpragmatic, and un-American. To have Steve Rogers speak for Trump, rather than speak against Trump, is a disservice to that character, to that comic’s legacy, and to all of us who do not want to see our nation further collapse into rightwing nonsense.
Shame on Marvel, shame on its Trump-fundraising CEO Ike Perlmutter–and God help this world should any of us vote for a fascist like Trump.
And if My Hero Academia reveals All Might to be a fellow Hydra sleeper agent, I’m snapping my Kindle in two.