I have complained in the past about the way in which Nick Spencer puts political views that he doesn’t like into the mouths of supervillains and people that we are supposed to recognize as Not Very Nice. I have a problem with this not because Spencer has a point of view and promotes it, but because it has been so one-sided. It’s cheap and cartoonish to paint one’s political opponents as villains instead of rationally critiquing their arguments. And Spencer is one of the best writers working for Marvel Comics right now, so I know that he can do better.
Well, in Captain America: Steve Rogers #6, he has done better. In that issue, we see the young Steve Rogers in a flashback scene being indoctrinated at a Hydra school. Steve resists his new education (in spite of the manipulation of his mind by the Red Skull, he has remained in many ways the virtuous man he always was), and makes attempts to escape several times. On one of those attempts, he meets a man who calls himself the “Kraken,” who tries to persuade him that his American upbringing is all a lie:
What makes this scene remarkable is that the Kraken’s arguments are pretty clearly inspired by leftism and progressivism. In fact, they sound almost like Herbert Marcuse, a twentieth century socialist progressive (with a bit of Marx thrown in for good measure).
I find this refreshing because whether deliberately or not, it’s a remarkably fair-minded gesture coming from Spencer, who in previous issues has seemed to villainize conservative views over and over again (both in Captain America: Sam Wilson and in Captain America: Steve Rogers).
(That is not to say that I’m no longer ticked off at Spencer for the emotional torture that he’s putting Captain America fans through. I still am. But dammit, I’m still buying the books!)