The Timely Importance of Marvel’s Secret Empire
by Bryan Scheidler
Disclaimer – I don’t do politics, I usually stay away from them as much as possible. However when comics, real life and politics collide I occasionally let my opinion be heard.
Let me start by saying that I am not a huge fan of the current Marvel Crossover event, “Secret Empire”. It feels like a lazy attempt at a shock value storyline that would all be reset by the end and thus pointless. While that still may be the case, it isn’t the significance it has to the Marvel Comics universe that is important, but the real world truth it tells us about Fascist governments and those who follow them. A little of my background on this topic for clarity sake, besides being a huge nerd I am also a Modern European History Major from UC San Diego with a focus on WWII. My senior colloquium was on the Holocaust from the point of view of the Nazi’s. I say all of this to show that I have given a great deal of thought to these types of situations.
If you are unfamiliar with the “Secret Empire” story so far, the basic premise is Red Skull (Marvel’s #1 Nazi) had used a cosmic cube (magic wish granting glowy box) in order to change the past and make it so Steve “Captain America” Rogers was always a secret Nazi. In the present day Steve reveals his true nature and takes over America in the name of Hydra (modern day Nazi’s). Throughout the entire story Hydra Cap tries to convince everyone, including his former friends and allies, that Hydra just wants peace in the world. He claims he is trying to create a world where no kids are killed accidentally by weapons or super power incidents. It all sounds nice until you remember two things: 1) his is imprisoning those that are born different, which in this case means Inhumans 2) HE IS STILL A FREAKING NAZI AND JUST WANTS EVERYONE TO BE COOL WITH IT!
As the story progresses and people continue to resist Hydra’s vision of a peaceful world, Hydra Cap shows his true colors and Las Vegas is wiped off the planet. This is the core of the story, it doesn’t matter what things fascists promise it will always end in the slaughter of the innocent. Hitler promised a prosperous world for Germany if everyone just gave him what he wanted and if they got rid of the pesky Jews who were really to blame for all of their problems. Hydra Cap promised peace and happiness if everyone gave over their free will and got rid of those pesky Inhumans. Clearly people claiming they can fix all your problems if you give them unlimited authority can’t be trusted.
So what is the point, why am I writing this? For as much grief as I have given the “Secret Empire” storyline, Captain America #25 might just be a shining example of what we need to remember in light of the fact that Nazi’s were marching in Charlottesville. This issues states it clearer than I ever could; there are two sides in this ideological and yes very physical battle, War and Hope. The side of fascism is the side of war, they at their very core believe that in order to make the world their vision of perfection, there is no cost too high, no rights too sacred, no action too vile to get the job done. The other side is that of hope. The side of people who believe in others, and that our differences make us stronger. The side of the soldiers risking all to storm the beaches in Normandy to free a continent from death. War and Hope, two opposing forces that will once again define a generation.
Like I said at the start, I generally stay out of politics and these kind of current events, but this isn’t a time to stay silent. Here at Good Nerd Bad Nerd we are on the side of Hope, what side are you on?