What Does a Hydra Captain America Really Mean?

Spoilers ahead if you have not read the Captain America HYDRA issue #1.

Captain America #1 2016
Captain America #1 2016

Steve Rogers: “A HYDRA Double Agent”

Steve Rogers with HYDRA? What has the world come to? Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America, has recently been outed and not in a good way. Not in the way the fandoms wanted, anyway. He is not in love with Bucky Barnes… YET… but, it was written into stone that he was a member of HYDRA. The entire time and the Captain America we see as Cap is no longer the good guy who wants to save the world. He is a part of the opposing team. Now, could one of Marvel’s most beloved heroes really have been a Nazi all along or is this a huge one-shot comic to mess with everyone who loves Steve Rogers? It could be the result of bad writing coming from the Marvel team. Or, it could be the result of good writing coming from the Marvel team. Alas, we will never really know, either way. But, what we do know is about who Captain America is. How he has come to where he is now. Was Captain America a Nazi working for HYDRA something we saw all along and did not really pay attention to it? Was he whispering ‘Hail HYDRA’ when we weren’t looking closely? Or are we trying to justify these terrible writers use for gasp’s and awe’s as they buy the new issue because he’s now with HYDRA?

Let’s look back on a few moments that Captain America has done that have been questionable to his heroism. Not only moments that he has done but moments in his life that have proved this theory – or not proved at the same time.

Captain America: Through the Years

Captain America #1 2016
Captain America #1 2016

We all know the Captain America we know and love. The hero of all heroes. The good guy. The one we all root for in every Avengers and Captain America film.

BUT, to know that he is now with HYDRA proves readers to now question who they looked up to. How did Captain America become HYDRA? How did we not see this all along? Well, according to the issue Steve’s mother was saved from abuse by a HYDRA agent and she somehow convinced Sarah and Steve to go to a HYDRA meeting in Brooklyn. Ever since that meeting, Steve has been obsessed with what HYDRA stood for and where they were headed. And, from then on, he has and always was an undercover double agent for HYDRA. In every way you look at it, you will find certain instances of Captain America being with HYDRA… according to the writers of this issue. It was there all along.

His parents were poor Irish immigrants as the creators have first stated in about 1930-ish. That does not seem like someone who would want to go with HYDRA for the sake of HYDRA brain-washing him. He came from the lowest of the low, you would think he would want to save lives such as what the Avengers do currently. Now, the serum could have been the moment where he switched to HYDRA there are many moments in Marvel history where you think what they are doing is good and it ends up being the opposite. It seems to be terrible writing because they instead chose to alter the way his parents raised him and alter the way he ‘accidentally’ goes to this HYDRA meeting when they could have started with the serum. It is cliché, but better than what they came up with in the long run it seems. It seems unbelievable that Captain America being who he is would go to HYDRA and be on the same team. His personality does not make the reader believe it.

Captain America #1 2016
Captain America #1 2016

In certain instances we have Captain America being Captain America – but, IF Cap was with HYDRA during the Civil War series, why would he want to keep his superhero friends from being under government influence? Wouldn’t helping them (like Iron Man was) favor HYDRA in a way? Because then HYDRA would know about every superhero or persons with superpowers. The again, you could say he did that so the members of HYDRA would not have to do it and they would not be outed. So, even though Marvel’s decision to take on this plot driven series, it might all make sense… but, you have to think about it hard enough to sit down and ponder. Why should it be that way for a plot twist?

It feels as though the writers are taking everything to the extreme to prove why he was HYDRA all along. Readers would then be questioning “Why” more so than anything else. Why would he wear the colors of the American flag if he was with HYDRA? It seems that if you believe Captain America is with HYDRA, then he is going through an awful lot to simply be an undercover double agent. Now, even some of the best HYDRA agents do not go through so much because they dislike the opposing side. What was the endgame for Marvel to prove that everything he was doing was not over-the-top too much to be with HYDRA? He wanted to infiltrate the Avengers, of course, and take over the team, possibly. But, why? What is the point? HYDRA wants to take over the world, sure, but they still do not have a compact reason as to why they want to do it so bad – which, is why Avengers always win against them the majority of the time. The Avengers have a solid reason for saving the world every time they do it, HYDRA does not have a solid reason to end it.

Captain America #1 2016
Captain America #1 2016

Steve Rogers’ mom died after he graduated high school and his dad died when he was a child. It does not specify when the time frame that they claim Steve got into HYDRA but seeming as though his dad died early on – how would he have the influence if he was a child going to this meeting. Why would Steve also try so hard to keep Bucky from going with HYDRA throughout his life, IF he was with HYDRA as well? It seems that even between the 1940s and 50s he was fighting off Nazis as much as he possibly could and it makes you wonder why he was doing that if he was with them the whole time. The writing seems to be off because, again, why he would go through the work of fighting people who were on his own team and taking them to jail or holding them captive. If you are a double agent for HYDRA you normally do not kill or hold captive people you work for or are on your same team. Or maybe you do.

It seems that the plot driven issue of Captain America has been exactly that – a plot-driven series. It seems to not have been thought through enough for it to make sense on both ends of the plot being assessed. The instances of Captain America throughout the years have been saving the world and dying, in that order. He has died, or almost died as much as one person can. But, maybe he has “died” in the series so he could work for HYDRA and find new ways to infiltrate. That seems to be the only way one would think he could have become HYDRA throughout his life.

Not only is all of this relevant, but what adds more substance to Captain America’s new found title is that he was created by Jewish creators. He was created and fighting the people he has become for himself when he was first created and what does that make of who Captain America is as a whole? Would they be okay with that? It’s doubtful. These creators chose to make this character in order to make the life they had, have light with whatever hardships that may have been. To change that and alter that and then make Captain America apart of the opposing team lessens that in a lot of ways. Making Captain America a HYDRA agent is a slight slap in the face to the creators who created this superhero for bigger reasons than this.

What To Make of HYDRA’s New/Old Double Agent?

The writing of this issue makes it seem like everything he has done previously to May 25th, 2016 is void.

Jack Kirby / Captain America VS Red Skull
Jack Kirby / Captain America VS Red Skull

Captain America has had multiple run-ins with Red Skull, who is with the HYDRA team. Red Skull has had it out for Captain America since before we can even remember. That makes you wonder as a reader, why would someone on the same team as Captain America would continuously fight them or try and kill them. Then again, maybe it was for show. That is also a possibility as well. So these new writers are proving to us that everything Captain America has done has been all for show?

All of the little children who have liked Captain America and have grown up with Captain America will not perceive this as something indifferent. They liked someone who was a hero, but also corrupt at the same time. There are kids that look up to Steve Rogers as a person and Captain America as a superhero, to think that they will now know him as a corrupt ‘superhero’ sucks. The writing was terrible and that is not to say all writers should think of the audience that it is writing for. But, in this case maybe a bit. Steve Rogers up until now has focused so much on being that hero, doing the right thing and being that person who does the right thing no matter what. Now it seems to be a foggy blurred line of everything he has ever done and makes you wonder.

Was Cap a HYDRA Agent All Along?

Turns out the writers were just pulling your leg on this one, an article by Inverse indicates that it was undone in the second installment of the series. That would make sense because nothing really added up like they wanted it to. It was an in RL version of click-bait as the article states and says that it was a backstory created by Red Skull (obviously) using the cosmic cube. The article states:

“The actual inception of Captain America was designed as an anti-Nazi message in a time BEFORE the United States was actually involved in WWII, the character has come to represent as kind of stand-in for the opposite of Nazism. Having him align with the Marvel’s version of the Nazis (Hydra) made a lot of people really angry because this felt less like a cool cliffhanger, and more like using anti-Semitism to sell comic books.” – Ryan Britt.

It seems to be a huge over-the-top use for publicity for Marvel, was this a cop-out? Or was Marvel doing something right?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. It feels like this story depicts just how easily “the American dream” can be corrupted by feelings of fear, confusion, and hate. Something that some of the best Captain American stories have had to deal with in the past. It seems like the kind of story that NEEDS to be told right now, if anything.

  2. Damage control. The comics could have singlehandedly ruined a lucrative movie franchise…

  3. Marvel should take a cue from DC’s rebirth. Getting back to what made comics great!

    • DC had to go through the work of restoring the best of their previous canon, which gives the impression that it was not well-thought out. The fact that it was damage control confirms this.

  4. Jude Binkley

    Marvel needs to get some of their past writers back. A Chris Claremont run on Cap would be cool to read (if it hasn’t happened already).

  5. Munjeera


    I love your topics and writing style.

    I am so pumped for the next Captain America.

  6. Red Skull is the Ramsay Bolton of the MU.

  7. Another great write-up, mate.

  8. Thats why i stopped collecting comic books many years ago, when they started that one more day crap with spiderman. Buying marvel comics now is a worthless endeavor, the real steve rodgers would never compromise his integrity and values which he has represented well that not every man can be bought. The comics with him being a hydra agent is great toliet paper.

  9. Streeter

    A bit of the potential that was inherent from Issue 1 is now gone, but I can still see some interesting stories coming out of this. Cap is definitely going to be devastated, that’s for sure.

    • I was hoping that he legitimately thought Hydra’s methods were the best possible way to change/save the world. That doesn’t mean he has to be a lackey or anything. I would envision him butting heads with Red Skull and Zemo over issues that he doesn’t see furthering Hydra’s cause. Like, Hydra is the only way to save the world, but those two are corrupting it and using it or petty purposes.

  10. It’s certainly complicated, but I don’t think it goes so far as to be convoluted.

  11. Marvel rarely does good stories anymore, they only do shock. Cap is hydra, cap is black, thor is jane, iron man is RDJ, Angela is gay, ice man is gay, how about just doing some good stories. ..marvel comics needs new leadership fast.

  12. They would’ve been better off having a story where he just fights the nazis or something. I dont care if its been done a million times. This is just lame.

  13. Chantal

    Great, another cosmic cube story. What’s the matter Marvel, couldn’t you come up with a lazier or stupider cop-out of a storyline than that?

  14. Im good with this. Very twisty. I like it.

  15. I believe Jack Kirby just threw up in his grave.

  16. I don’t know why someone would become concerned that they were “using anti-Semitism to sell comics,” because I don’t know why anyone would entertain the possibility that they were actually turning Captain America into a Nazi agent.

  17. It’s certainly a crazy plan by the Red Skull, but now that the explanation for Hydra Cap is out of the way I’m hoping we actually get to see more of him as a bad guy and that they don’t reverse the change too soon.

  18. this is just Marvel digging themselves out of a hole. Spencer is back pedaling now. he had originally stated that Cap is hands down a Hydra agent and always as been, no tricks, no brainwashing, no dream sequence. Now that theres been such a HUGE shitshow online over it Alonso was forced to change it to calm down readers. It was expected

    • if you actually read the comics you would have known this was the story all along. the second they introduced kobik as having the ability to change peoples memories then giving Steve his youth back you knew something would go wrong with the process being set up by the red skull.

  19. Even by comic book standards, this is a convoluted mess of a story.

  20. What Does a Hydra Captain America Really Mean? it really means that marvel thought its sales were slipping and it needed a lot of publicity — preferabl;y free publicity. and so…..

  21. danielle577

    Wow, talk about flipping a who franchise 360 degrees. How would this one work out? And for the die hards? How will they take to this? On one hand, this is ingenious, and the way good, complicated writing works. On the other, it can completely annihilate an already established and successful franchise.

  22. It simply means that Marvel is just messin’ with us.

  23. I can only hope it’s not permanent. I feel that there’s a way to undo this, and I can only hope the writers do. I’m still not sure what to think of Cap being HYDRA, because for me, he has always been the good guy, the guy who tries to do the right thing and knowing exactly what the right thing is.

    This was very well written, and I’m glad for the opportunity to know in depth about Cap being HYDRA.

  24. Hordkar

    I think this story if transforming Captain America into a Bad Guy was a horrible idea from author’s part. These stories since Cap has become young ready to strike against nazis and notably Hydra didnt happening very Well. Though he acts on his free will Captain America became sinister less heroic unlike Sam Wilson that i despise now for continuatly replacing Steve Rogers. And the worse is that Steve Rogers is normally the voice or the reason in Marvel but now . Nick Spencer’s stories are not terrible bad and twisted with no epic like i love but just blood and betrayal it doesnt mean Captain America stories. More i hate its flashbacks falsely reflecting Captain America as a young Hydra student are boring. See him learning under master villains from Hydra is awful its has perverted the character. If you see the truth Captain America is jew not à nazi and I love a character that ends UP be hated by fans and me. Its unfair. Why Captain America deserved that ? Even Heroes like Spider-Man Iron Man and other have had their Dark side but they have NEVER allied with evil organization like Hydra. So why Captain America ? It is just a trick created by Red Skull and his clone ? Does it pretend go to Hydra to just kill Red Skull and stopping baron Zemo ? Or he is really perverted ? Please i wish on the folliwing stories Captain America returns to his senses allying with his triops the Invaders whi seem to return and that kobik aids him to recreate his true past( it means no longer with Hydra’s past but with his true jew heritage) abd with this cure i wish Captain America stops Hydra Once for all with Avengers invaders new different and classic Avengers and if Sam Wilson must give up the shield to him it would be better because he’ll return as the Falcon. If that happening it Will be great but it wouldnt happen i will drop these stories and I will non longer read them thanks you. Captain America is not a nazi right ? He is just manipulated but later he Will regain his mind every like hero in the same stories “Captain America Steve Rogers” to stop Hydra Red Skull and both barons Zemos. Thank you

  25. I think Marvel is just trying to find way to keep their company relevant. With the big captain america films, maybe they just want the train to keep rolling

  26. DeanJr

    It was a thinly veiled political commentary and at this point, Marvel is going to have to do something akin to DC’s New 52 or Rebirth in order to undo the damage.

  27. I loved reading this article post-Secret Empire. After reading through the whole story and finding out what happens to Cap I bet a lot of people are regretting the conclusions they jumped to. Marvel knows what they are doing with their characters, and if a cliffhanger like Hydra Cap gets you upset, it’s because they wanted you to get upset. Secret Empire is what storytelling is all about!

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