WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man #38 by Nick Spencer, Iban Coello, Brian Reber and VC’s Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
In recent years, no character has riled the Internet quite like the Hydra version of over very own, Captain America. Earning the nickname “Hydra Cap,” Captain America revealed himself to be an undercover Hydra agent in 2016’s Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 by Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz. The final page of this debut issue saw Steve Rogers utter the “Hail Hydra” slogan, which kickstarted a story arc that culminated in the real Captain America reclaiming his title in the Secret Empire.
Various speculations behind Hydra Cap
The mere existence of Hydra Cap led to many spirited online debates regarding Steve Roger’s origin as a Nazi-punching hero, whether his membership in Hydra was a betrayal to Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, the creators of Captain America, and many more social media discussions. With his name tarnished, Captain America has been forced to reclaim the trust of a nation, which hasn’t gone so well in his solo series.
As for Hydra Cap, he is currently locked away in a secured prison just waiting to be broken out for a future Marvel event. However, that doesn’t mean he still can’t be used as a weapon to troll the Internet crowd. But instead of popping back up as a thorn in Captain America’s side, Hydra Cap however makes a surprising appearance as clickbait fodder in The Amazing Spider-Man.
J. Jonah Jameson is most famously known for running the Daily Bugle and being an all-around enemy to Spider-Man. In a surprising turn of events, he has now lost both of those titles. After a stint as the mayor of New York, Jonah became a “shock jock” radio host while also turning into a confidant to Spider-Man after the hero revealed his secret identity to him. Jonah took pride in helping the wall-crawler any chance he got after years of badmouthing him in the Daily Bugle.
We could say Jonah made a career out of making the public fear and hate Spider-Man, which is why his former employee, Norah Winters, thinks he would be the perfect addition to her new media publication which is called the Threats and Menaces. Companies like the Daily Bugle are old news, whereas Threats and Menaces writes for today’s readership. Think of Threats and Menaces as the Marvel Universe version of the BuzzFeed. Threats and Menaces is a team of young freelancers that know how to craft an eye-catching headline that is bound to draw in the website clicks.
Naturally, Jonah is less than thrilled to be working with “a bunch of vagabonds who drive children’s toys to the office and drink dessert for breakfast,” but Norah has one of her writers show Jonah a story she’s whipping up that features Hydra Cap as the main attraction.
The headline reads, “You won’t believe this shocking proof that Captain America is still Hydra,” with a photo of Cap standing in front of the Hydra symbol. The combination of headline and photo is surely enough to spark interest in Captain America haters and superfans alike, which is all a part of Norah’s master plan to pit the two sides against each other.
Of course, the entire Hydra Cap article is fake news, as Norah has revealed its entirely made up of repurposed material. But that’s not so important right now. She lays out this news cycle to Jonah, explaining how Step 1 is the catchy headline to make people click and read the article. Step 2 involves the Cap-haters and conspiracy theorists forwarding the article to their followers to eat up, with Machinesmith gleefully representing this group of individuals. On the other side of the spectrum is Cap’s best friend, Bucky Barnes, who is firmly in the pro-Cap group of supporters. An anti-Captain America headline like the one above is meant to make provoke outrage from people like the Winter Soldier, with the hope they will read the article and leave angry comments.
Spider-Man getting involved in Hydra-antics however appears to be a running theme over the last few months. Black Cat Annual #1 has featured Spider-Man teaming up with Black Cat to take down the Maggia crime families, faking their wedding and slipping into some Hydra gear to make a swift escape.
If any character was built for the modern age of hate-clicks and Internet trolling, it’s Captain America’s evil twin, Hydra Cap. What makes this sequence even more entertaining is the sight of a super-soldier like the Winter Soldier browsing the web, coming across a “Captain America is still Hydra” headline and being pissed enough to take the time to actually type out a scathing response on a computer keyboard. Winter Soldier is currently a member of Strikeforce, but he will always be Team Cap.
When it comes to navigating the Internet, it’s best to remember the old saying, “Don’t feed the trolls.”