Thursday, July 16, 2015

This Hatred Reborn!


Name This Marvel Villain??

There's nothing subtle about either the name or message of the Grand Director, who heads the white supremacist group, the National Force, and has begun to hold hate rallies in New York. And though his audiences, like those of other such groups that persist to this day, are considerably more enlightened than they were when these groups flourished, it seems the Director has every confidence in his message being heard and accepted. And also, astonishingly, being instantly acted on.

Even more astonishing is that the blond lady here who has fallen under the sway of the Director is none other than Sharon Carter, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and girlfriend of Captain America, who seems to have been checking up on the activities of the National Force but who, along with her fellow agent, are now frenzied followers of the group.

Later, as the Director meets with his hidden-in-shadows benefactor, we learn just how the National Force is able to make its audiences flock to their cause. The Director also doesn't appear to be the brains behind the movement, but rather its figurehead.

Soon, the National Force moves on Harlem, and there is an abundance of rioting in the streets which Captain America seeks to mitigate. Complicating matters is the Harlem rackets lord, Morgan, who enters the conflict in force with the intention of wiping out the National Force. Unfortunately, there's one other complication that will hamper Cap further.

With so much mayhem in the streets, Cap gets separated from Sharon; but the National Guard arrives to restore order, only to find that the Grand Director's men have ways of using martyrdom to both advance their cause and avoid being taken into custody, causing Cap to fear the worst where Sharon is concerned.

Earlier, the National Force targeted Sharon's sister, Peggy, whose life was barely saved when Cap enters the scene. Fearing a second attempt on her life, Cap arrives only to find that she's been released to the care of a private physician, with a rather shocking name--Dr. Steven Rogers. Cap picks up the trail, and discovers not only the one truly behind the National Force, but also the shocking identity of the Grand Director.

If you haven't yet put two and two together here as far as the Grand Director's stunning resemblance to Steve Rogers, try turning your thoughts back to the time when another Steve Rogers impostor was making his presence known in Harlem, one whose feelings of hate and bigotry would later make a perfect template for those of the Director.

Yes, the Captain America of the 1950s, who has fallen into the clutches of Dr. Faustus and his mastery of mental manipulation. This "Captain America," who was mentally unbalanced (and getting worse) when he was defeated by the original Cap, made the ideal victim for Faustus to exploit--once he was cruelly further conditioned.

The real Cap also became a victim of Faustus's mind gas; but with the help of Daredevil, Cap was able to free himself of its effects. And in the moment of truth, the "Grand Director" chooses a more drastic method to gain his own freedom.

Despite what we've seen here of their fates, the 1950s Cap, his partner, Bucky, and Sharon would all survive and return. Yet this adventure would mark the end of the message of hate of the Grand Director.

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