Dear Captain America,
I should note at the top of this letter that I am not one of your reflexive haters. Sure, I'm British, so I find the idea that a far-flung confederation of massively different and mutually suspicious grouping of disparate people somehow stumbled onto the secret to viable democracy almost as ridiculous as wanting to dress up in those people's flags and punch out criminals (there's a reason Captain Britain is a dipsomaniac boor, after all). Despite that, though, I like to think I'm on your side.
Certainly I defended you when I lent the official record of your exploits during the superhero civil war to my then housemate, which led to him declaring you 'a dick'. I might not have been quite so willing to lay all the blame on Iron Man as others, but still, you had to do what you had to do. He went after your boys; that's a line crossed.
That said, however, I've now had the opportunity to study the full record of what took place during your recent battle with the X-Men under Scott Summers, and I have a few questions I'd like to ask. Since this is an open letter, I should warn those who are interested that I'll be discussing how that particular rift in the superhero community was resolved.
First of all, I'd like to point out the following:
- When Scott Summers said the Phoenix was returning for Hope, he was right;
- When Scott Summers said the Phoenix had no hostile intention towards Earth, he was right;
- When Scott Summers said the Phoenix would bring back a species all but wiped out, he was right.
That's a pretty impressive record, isn't it? And it gets much more impressive when we compare it with yours. Some would argue that your invasion of Utopia was no such thing, since the newly-raised island was close enough to the California coastline to count as US soil. Since suddenly-appearing islands are comparatively rare (and to my knowledge unheard of so close to an established nation), I lack the necessary legal qualifications to dispute this. On the other hand, I would point out that when you demanded Hope Summers be released into your custody, there were only two options:
- You did in fact invade a sovereign nation, and demand they turn over one of their citizens to you. Which, fuck you, quite frankly;
- You demanded a private citizen of America who had committed no crime be detained against her will. This is also a situation in which you need to go fuck yourself.
Either way around, you acted from fear. Not, of course, entirely unreasonable fear, but fear nonetheless. Fear that then proved to be baseless. The Phoenix Force arrived, and inhabited five X-Men. And what did those X-Men do?
They saved the world.
They took this hideous, stinking ball of mud and shit and terror and plane crashes and they began to fashion it into paradise. How many lives did they save in that first day, Captain? That first hour? How long would it have taken them to make your every action as Captain America seem like a sigh in a hurricane?
So clearly, you decided you had to fight them.
You will gain, I have no doubt, comfort in the fact that by opposing the Phoenix Five for long enough, they finally became the villains you swore them to be. You can make almost anyone your enemy if you slap them across the face enough times. Cyclops is not Gandhi, Namor certainly no Martin Luther King. But there's a word for those who goad heroes to the point where they feel compelled to take you off the table, and I promise you it isn't a word you'd like pointed at you.
You did not, in any way, save the world this time, Captain. You were merely lucky enough to stop the monster you created before it could do more damage than it did.
And what was it that helped you to restore that damage? The Phoenix itself. The creature you tried to kill. The creature you were so scared of you invaded the home of a friend, in order to kidnap a teenage orphan.
You tarnished yourself, your reputation, and the country you claim to love, Captain, you did it all on an assumption proved false twice, and the absolute best you can say is that in the process you succeeded in dragging those better than you down to your level. The fact that your response to all this is to set up a mutant Avengers team - to play the role of Charles Xavier, whose death you brought to pass - could be seen as ironic, were it not so terribly, terribly sad.