Captain Anti-America and Immigration

In Captain America #21 (June 2014) Steve Rogers’ super soldier serum was, for all intents and purposes, deactivated. In Captain America #25 (October 2014), Rogers names Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon, as the successor to the Captain America mantle. Considering the Falcon has been flying with Captain America since Rogers was first thawed from the ice, there is some logic to this. After a short six-issue run from 214–2015, Sam Wilson’s adventures as the Sentinel of Liberty was given a new #1 issue to kick off the eighth volume of Captain America (there are now eight Captain America #1’s since 1940). This new issue, Captain America: Sam Wilson #1 (2015), has set off a controversy:

This response to Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna’s comic are fascinating to me. My point here is not to agree or disagree with Fox and Friends—although I do not think they understood what the comic book was articulating. Rather I want to look at a different issue at play here, namely ideology and how a person (or persons) responds to a perceived threat to it.

First, what did Fox and Friends see that caused their reaction? The first quote they give comes from the top panel of page 22 (using the digital edition from Comixology.com). The Supreme Serpent, the leader of the characters whom Fox and Friends are saying represent average Conservative Americans, also goes on to speak about illegals taking American jobs or drawing welfare (22) . Thus America needs to build a wall to keep the illegal immigrants from crossing the border. On page 16, Sam says, “This new Sons of the Serpent outfit, they’re all over the news—armed to the teeth, harassing people, inciting violence.” Back to page 22 and the bottom panel, the Supreme Serpent says, “While others are content to peacefully protest or vote in rigged elections, the Sons of the Serpent believe that aggression must answer aggression! I declare you all enemy combatants! You’re coming with us or you will feel the Serpent’s bite!” On page 23 the Supreme Serpent rebukes Sam Wilson for saying that they drove to the border in a pickup truck because, “we arrived in a minivan, sir.” And then look at how Daniel Acuna draws these Sons of the Serpent:

Screenshot 2015-10-24 08.14.12 Screenshot 2015-10-24 08.23.51

 

 

 

 

It’s easy to see why Fox and Friends might feel like these characters are a critique against their conservative stances on immigration.

They reference the cover to the famous Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941) which depicts Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, punching Hitler. As Cap says Joe Johnston’s movie Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), “How many of you want to see me sock ol’ Adolf on the jaw?” And again, “I’ve knocked out Hilter over 230 times.” Cap is supposed to fight the bad guys over there, keep them away from America. Sam needs to be fighting ISIS or other terrorist groups, not Americans who disapprove of allowing immigrants to enter the country illegally and staying here.

But what they leave out of the issue is just as telling as why Fox and Friends are talking about this issue as demonizing America. On page 11–12 the reader is addressed by Sam in a monologue to catch up on where he is at in his role as Captain America. Intolerance and fear have taken root in America. Americans no longer trust each other; they refuse to come together to work out their issues. No longer do they each themselves in their neighbor. And when it comes to fighting Hydra (or other terrorist groups), SHIELD and the government are doing things that not even Hydra would think to do. Americans are killing each other in their own streets and neighborhoods. Thus results of trying to reach out through the press are catastrophic:Screenshot 2015-10-19 15.10.48

The media blasts Captain America for even taking a side—something Sam notes Steve Rogers never did too much. Captain America is supposed to be above the politics, even if the character has strongly held beliefs about political issues in America and about what “Captain America” should do.

What makes this interesting is that the media reaction to Sam’s press conference is just like Fox and Friends’ reaction to Sam’s confrontation with the Sons of the Serpent—and brings us to the crux of the issue. Fox feels like Cap has taken a side, a side that opposes their own ideology. They are saying that Captain America: Sam Wilson #1 is being anti-America by discussing immigration in a way that disagrees with their own ideological viewpoint. Rather than seeing the climactic battle as an extension of the problem noted earlier in the issue, its isolated from the entire narrative arc of the book. If Cap had taken on a foreign policy issue, or a domestic issue that agreed with Fox and Friends’ narrative, then that would have been okay.

And that’s what makes Captain America: Sam Wilson #1 so fascinating. It triggered in the minds of some people who purport an ideology an attack on those beliefs. And rather than latching onto the conservatives who “peacefully protest” these issues, Fox and Friends identified with the terrorists who were kidnapping illegal immigrants at gunpoint under pain of violence. Rather than latch onto a Captain America who wants his countrymen to settle down and remember both red and blue state Americans are still all Americans, they choose to side with the divisive approach of the pictured media, SHIELD, and citizens who take up arms to defend the division. It’s not that Fox and Friends’ conservative understanding of political and economic issues of immigration are right or wrong; it’s that they chose to see a group that is historically militant, white supremacists created by a communist Chinese general (Avengers #32–33 [1966]) over an African American asking for people of differing political ideologies to come back to the table and learn how to disagree as citizens of one nation. Why did they make that choice? Because anyone who opposes their ideology is a threat that must be confronted and defeated.

Advertisements

~ by hankimler on October 24, 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: