Marvel has issued a statement in response to controversy over their newest event comic, Secret Empire. The series is the culmination of a year-long saga in which Captain America was revealed as a Hydra agent, who now seeks to conquer the Marvel Universe for that nefarious organization. The plot twist immediately sparked controversy, not least because Hydra has often been associated with Nazis and the sight of Captain America working with Nazi sympathizers did not sit well with many fans — especially at such a politically-charged moment in our culture.
In a new statement originally sent to ABC News, Marvel advises fans to be patient and see the story through to its conclusion.
“With Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire, the forces of Hydra have taken over and, due to the villainous actions of the Red Skull, have manipulated Marvel’s greatest hero, Captain America, and forced him to adopt their cause,” the statement reads. “At Marvel, we want to assure all of our fans that we hear your concerns about aligning Captain America with Hydra and we politely ask you to allow the story to unfold before coming to any conclusion.”
In a recent interview with EW, Secret Empire writer Nick Spencer acknowledged that Marvel was prepared for strong reaction to this controversial storyline, and sees the intensity of fan feeling as a testament to Captain America himself.
“Obviously, we knew going into this story that turning Steve Rogers into a Hydra agent was a controversial thing, that it would upset folks, and it should. It’s a horrible thing that’s happened to Steve here,” Spencer told EW. “But at the same time, you can never totally appreciate until you’re in it the intensity of feeling people have for this character and what he represents. It’s really an incredible thing. The reaction is very much a testament to that. At its core, the story is very much about what makes Steve Rogers such a great character, and what can happen if he was pointed in the wrong direction. It now is one of the biggest contests between good and evil that we’ve seen in Marvel Universe. It tries the heroes in ways that they never have been before. Now we’re at the point we’ve been building to from the start.”
Secret Empire #1 is in comic stores this week. Check out Marvel’s full statement below.
With Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire, the forces of Hydra have taken over and, due to the villainous actions of the Red Skull, have manipulated Marvel’s greatest hero, Captain America, and forced him to adopt their cause. At Marvel, we want to assure all of our fans that we hear your concerns about aligning Captain America with Hydra and we politely ask you to allow the story to unfold before coming to any conclusion. Your passion for the Marvel Universe is what keeps us going every day. We want to keep providing our fans with exciting adventures and presenting characters with dimension.
Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, will always be a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe who will stand up for what is right, and Secret Empire will be the biggest challenge Steve has ever faced. What you will see at the end of this journey is that his heart and soul — his core values, not his muscle or his shield — are what save the day against Hydra and will further prove that our heroes will always stand against oppression and show that good will always triumph over evil.