Marvel has officially lost the plot. The latest issue of Captain America: Sam Wilson (#17) features a squad of superheroes called the Bombshells who fight for campus safe spaces and spout Tumblr gibberish.
The story by Nick Spencer is certainly intended to satirize extreme social justice warriors as well as their opponents, but ultimately carries an unambiguously progressive message. In the comic, released this month, Captain America Sam Wilson’s new sidekick Joaquin Torres—the Falcon—opines about a stand-in for Lauren Southern and Milo Yiannopoulos whose anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric on a TV show enrages him. Falcon teams up with a superhero named Rage, and they both head down to a college campus to mock her and speak their minds.
As the two superheroes are addressing her, a group of three costumed characters calling themselves Bombshells show up and attempt to kill her. They spout Tumblrisms like “safe space” and rant about the “patriarchy.” They condemn Joaquin and his friend for “empowering abusers” and the “culture of hate.”
“Consider this your trigger warning,” yells one of the characters.
Their efforts are unsuccessful as they’re quickly subdued and taken into custody.
After the events conclude, Lauren Yiannopoulos gives a TV interview about how “real Americans” are caught in the crossfire between “left wing zealots.” As Captain America holds back Joaquin from engaging her, the Mexican-American superhero says: “I just saved your life! You better be thankful I took some white superhero’s job or you’d be like vaporized right now!” [emphasis in the original]
The comic’s writer, Nick Spencer, also helms the main Captain America series. He previously came under fire for turning Steve Rogers into a Nazi, with heavy criticism levied against him from the progressive left, as well apolitical readers who consider his heavy-handed politicization of the classic character unnecessary and unwanted.
The Marvel writer is clearly lashing out at his critics, perhaps unaware that his comics make him sound exactly like the social justice trio he created to be satirical—especially with his narration. In many ways, the narrative promoted by the issue is more insidious than the over-the-top Bombshells, intended to make his politics more palatable to the reader.
One must ask: what kind of comic book plot starts with a main character going to a campus to protest an alt-right speaker?