Let me see if I understand this correctly, Nick Spencer thinks it is a good idea to make Magneto an agent of Hydra. Let me repeat myself, Magneto, a Jewish man, and holocaust survivor will be joining the ranks of Hydra, the marvel universe’s definitive neo-Nazi group.
The man whose opinion of the Red Skull is this…
Whatever the in-continuity origins of Hydra are now are beside the point. They are still the same Hydra that spouts racist, xenophobic, hateful, spite they always have. If it walks like a Nazi, talks like a Nazi, generally behaves like a Nazi, and was originally envisioned by its creator as a fictional branch the Nazi party and has extolled those ideals ever since then it’s a Nazi organization.
Let’s clarify one thing, the fan outrage towards Captain America joining hydra had nothing to do with the story justification. The reason why was and continues to be completely irrelevant. The outrage has always resulted from the principle of the symbolic gesture of making Captain America a Nazi. Nick Spencer has taken a character who positively embodied liberty, justice, hope, equality, and openness – a man who stood as a sentinel against all forces of oppression – and transformed him into the very antithesis of those virtues when we needed him the most.
The past few years have has seen a rise in out-and-proud bigotry. Racism, misogyny, islamophobia, homophobia, and more head-scratching, anti-Semitism. These are the years where America has returned to pure hatred when bigoted opinions have become “legitimate” in the public sphere when banning Muslims is seen as the best strategy for defending the nation. This is the perfect time to use Captain America as the beacon of hope, the symbol for the idea of America, the progressive man of principles, he has always been. A symbol for people of all different backgrounds to rally behind against this regressive dark state we have found our country in. Remind us of what America can be.
Now Nick Spencer is doing the same with Magneto, at the worst possible time. There has been a large rise in hate crimes, specifically anti-Semitic crimes, there is no denying this. Synagogues and Jewish community centers have experienced consistent threats of attacks since the election. Jewish gravestones have been toppled over. Anti-Semitic crimes in New York alone is up 94 percent since last year. Even very recently there has been another wave of bomb threats focused towards Jewish community centers. Only a few days after the election there was a huge spike in hate crimes.
Magneto is one of the few confirmed Jewish characters in the comics world and is also one of the most powerful and important characters in the marvel universe. He has been a staple and crucial player in so many of the events that have occurred in the marvel universe. He has stood as a Jewish icon all these years especially in transformation in more recent years, which makes Nick Spencer’s reversal of the character even more baffling. If anything, this is the perfect time for him to serve as an even larger icon in the marvel universe. Nick Spencer, people are outraged that such a pinnacle character who was has spent their entire life not only fighting Nazis but for the rights of an oppressed minority who is a Holocaust survivor and has seen firsthand the horrors of bigotry, is turning into a Nazi himself. A character who stands for so much is having all that significance tossed aside. Each time you convert such symbolically charged characters into Hydra agents, you continually normalize the types of political figures like the alt-right movement in the minds of people. The story reason why does not matter in the least bit. People need Magneto, like they need Captain America, right now and possibly many more years to come.