In last week's Secret Empire variant covers, with the Hydra Villains images, one took some by surprise. Secret Empire #5 by Dan Mora, that of Magneto as a member of Hydra.
Magneto has been portrayed as a Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camps of World War II. So to align the character with the Marvel's Nazi-allegory bad guys, for some, smacks of even less taste than turning Captain America, created by Jewish comic book creators as an anti-Nazi figurehead years before the US even entered the war, into a secret Hydra agent all along.
And with Nick Spencer writing both series, and also defending the free speech of actual Nazis without getting punched in the face, the internet was back.
Magneto as an ally to Hydra. Are you fucking kidding me?? https://t.co/jT0BJnvWLn
— Lorene (@coolbyrne) March 6, 2017
"We've done Hydra Captain America, now what?"
"…Hydra Magneto?" pic.twitter.com/UjhaNtQzKv
— Daz Watford (@ThatsWhatUGets) March 6, 2017
LRT: Wait, now MAGNETO is in Hydra?
Magneto? Erik Lehnsherr? The Jewish guy?
FUCK NICK SPENCER
— JL Sigman (@JLSigman) March 6, 2017
Now we've got Nick Spencer, who may or may not be Richard Spencer in false eyebrows, who is teaming up Magneto with Yes They're Nazis HYDRA.
— Speedfarce (@jewishbartallen) March 6, 2017
I can't imagine anyone at Marvel is SO tone deaf that they'd actually make Magneto a Hydra agent. But they've "surprised" me before.
— Andrew Wheeler (@Wheeler) March 6, 2017
It may be worth pointing out that Hydra is a fascist organisation, but not necessarily a Nazi one. It allied with the Nazis during World War II, but always had its own agenda. It has served for Marvel as a handy Nazi-allegory without having to deal with all the concentration camp/racial superiority ickiness that just complicated things for a kids comic. Nowadays, that doesn't quite wash.
Recently the Nazi Red Skull has led Hydra again, but Captain America, Steve Rogers, now transformed into a Hydra Sleeper Agent, is plotting with Baron Zemo to kill the Red Skull and depose him from within Hydra. Secret Empire looks like the result of his success in that endeavour.
And Magneto? Well…. Magneto is a fascist. He has long proclaimed mutant superiority over humankind, and has been involved in a number of attempts, both in comics and in the movies, to wipe out all non-mutant humans on the planet. He's no danger to genocide, even if he has repented of late.
In that respect, even as a rare survivor of Auschwitz, being part of an anti-Red Skull Hydra may align with his classic world point of view, even if he has repented of late. Wouldn't take too much cosmic cube rewriting. And fascists to tend to collaborate with other fascists.
And of course, it just might be a variants cover that's not reflective of the contents. This happens a lot. One more thing. Nick Spencer usually thinks this kind of thing through. And his Captain America titles for Marvel are possibly the most relevant, clever, satirical and purposeful than the comic has been for a long time.
It's about America. And frankly there's plenty to be offended about right now.
Secret Empire #0 is out in April from Marvel Comics.