In the lead up to their Marvel Studios releases, Marvel Comics publishes two issue “prelude” comics for upcoming films which are then collected into trade paperbacks with extra related material. Leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Infinity War Prelude recently saw its trade release. Written by Will Corona Pilgrim, with art by Tigh Walker, color by Chris O’Halloran, and lettering by VC’s Travis Lanham the two issue story recaps Captain America: Civil War and Infinity War, fills in gaps between the films, and also provides details on the Infinity Stones.
Part of the story follows what Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson, and Natasha Romanoff, (aka Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow) have been up to, and what’s presented is a little head scratching.
The scene has the trio breaking up an arms deal in Syria. That arms deal is weapons being sent by the United States government to Syrian rebels who we can only assume are fighting a civil war against the dictator Bashar Hafez al-Assad. Yes, Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow are protecting Assad from rebels and interfering in an internal conflict.
What’s stranger is that Black Widow refers to these individuals as “terrorists” which is language that takes the side of Assad’s government. Further strange is that Black Widow has gotten her intel from her KGB contacts (and I’ll ignore the use of KGB and not one of the current intelligence agencies that split up in to after the dissolution of the Russian government in the early 90s). That means she received information to take down these “terrorists” from Russian operatives. The Russian government supports Assad and is in a proxy war with the United States with real world engagement. As presented, these superheroes are being willingly manipulated by the Russian government to take down the Syrian opposition (and their US ally) and prop up a dictator.
When you mix in some of Rogers’ issues with the fictional Sokovian Accords it gets stranger. Rogers vocalized concerns to Tony Stark included being used by individuals to meet their agendas, they lose their right to choose what actions they take. So, in this situation either Rogers, Wilson, and Romanoff have chosen this action and/or they’re being used by the Russian government. Either case, it’s a bad choice as they’re propping up a genocidal dictator who has used chemical weapons against his own people.
Through their actions too they’ve not only denied the weapons to this group, they’ve done so in opposition to the United States government an action that would likely come with further sanctions and at least charges.
Will this be addressed in the upcoming film? We have only until late April to see but as is it muddies the politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.