Marvel Comics has released a statement through sister company ABC News addressing the distress felt by long-time fans over the storyline in Marvel’s new Secret Empire series (#1 launches this week) based on the revelation that Captain America has been a member of the villainous organization Hydra through his entire career.  The ties between Steve Rogers and Hydra were first revealed in Captain America:  Steve Rogers #1 (see “The Marvel Universe vs. Captain America”) and carry over into the Secret Empire limited series. 

In the statement released to ABC, Marvel said, "With Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire, the forces of Hydra have taken over and, due to the villainous actions of the Red Skull, have manipulated Marvel’s greatest hero, Captain America, and forced him to adopt their cause. At Marvel, we want to assure all of our fans that we hear your concerns about aligning Captain America with Hydra and we politely ask you to allow the story to unfold before coming to any conclusion."

But the statement goes beyond asking fans to be patient, pointing to the future direction of the story.   "Captain America will always be a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe who will stand up for what is right, and Secret Empire will be the biggest challenge Steve has ever faced,” the statement continues. 
“What you will see at the end of this journey is that his heart and soul -- his core values, not his muscle or his shield -- are what save the day against Hydra and will further prove that our heroes will always stand against oppression and show that good will always triumph over evil."

Reaction to the storyline has been fierce, even extending to pushback against a Marvel promotional campaign asking retailers to incorporate the Hydra logo into their store logos to show the Hydra takeover.  As of late March, Marvel said 50-60 retailers had already altered their logos. 

Last week we received an announcement from Coliseum of Comics, a six store Florida chain founded by Phil and Brendan Boyle, describing its opposition to the association with an evil organization, and suggesting an alternative.  “We looked at the option to ‘Hydra-ize’ our logo, but didn’t feel comfortable siding with a group known for infiltrating organizations for their own evil purposes and uniting with the worst of the worst,” Coliseum CEO Phil Boyle said.  “We didn’t want to align ourselves with that…. It seemed pretty poorly thought-out asking stores to align with the villains.” 

The company created a logo expressing its opposition to Hydra, and announced the formation of the Comics Underground. “We don’t blame stores for jumping on board the initial initiative,” Boyle said.  “We’re going to now ask them to be part of the Comics Underground. Free yourself from Hydra and a poorly conceived promotion that is carrying negative connotations.”

Coliseum of Comics is offering the logo and related materials to any retailers that want to express those sentiments instead of the Hydra takeover.