Last week, Marvel debuted a new arc of Captain America: Sam Wilson, wherein Sam feels like he spends too much time dealing with abstract threats like HYDRA and less time trying to make America a better place. So, he reads a statement that boils down to “Hey, maybe America is not that great for everybody, and I want to do something to fix that.”
That gets him fired from S.H.I.E.L.D., puts his mentor Steve Rogers on his case, and essentially derails his whole life. Oh, also, he’s called in to deal with some rednecks in snake masks trying to detain and/or shoot illegal immigrants. And this, apparently, is enough to make a subsection of America — Fox News and those who watch it — believe that Captain America is out to end all things “conservative.”
This isn’t the first time Fox & Friends has featured incompetently researched discussion of comic books they obviously didn’t read. But to give you an idea of just how seriously the book presents the Sons of the Serpent and their politics, such as they are, here’s a notable line of dialogue:
Yes, clearly, this guy is concerned with the integrity of America. Despite what that panel looks like, the leader actually gets a good quip off Wilson, pointing out that he’s also a vigilante operating outside the bounds of the law doing what he thinks is right, so where does he get off fighting them?
There’s a lot of good discussion out there about the political nature of Captain America; who he is and what he reflects depends heavily on the writer and the times, whether it’s Steve Englehart taking on Nixon or Mark Gruenwald satirizing trade unions with the Serpent Society, or Lee and Kirby socking Hitler. And this is true! That said, really? Captain America beating up a stand-up act is controversial?
This isn’t Captain America gunning for “conservatives,” this is Captain America beating up a bunch of cartoonish bad guys who really don’t even believe in the cause they’re espousing. The group Spencer is satirizing here, The Minutemen Project, has been publicly criticized by notable left-wing bleeding hearts like, uh, George W. Bush. We also know they were so effective, illegal immigration from Mexico rose until 2007 before it began to decline.
This isn’t even getting into the other comics dealing with issues like this. Superman just dealt with police brutality. Boom! Studios is running a book called Americatown about Americans illegally emigrating to Buenos Aires and being treated in a manner suspiciously similar to how Mexican immigrants are treated in America. Honestly, if Marvel wants to get “controversial,” it’s going to have to up its game.
Of course, one could argue that the real issue is that a black guy in the Stars and Stripes is kicking the crap out of a bunch of blatantly racist white men with guns, but surely we’ve evolved enough as a culture to not find that a terribly political act. And I’m sure we won’t see an equally voluble freakout from the exact same people when this cover runs in January. After all, as I’ve noted up above, the folks at Fox News don’t read comic books, so there’s no reason for them to notice, right?