Comic books and politics have collided once again, this time with the URL Hail-Hydra.com redirected to the White House website. More specifically, it sends browsers to the listing for President Donald J. Trump in the administration section of WhiteHouse.gov.
Hydra is, of course, a worldwide terrorist organization within the Marvel Universe dedicated to the overthrow of governments and, ultimately, global domination. Introduced in 1965 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the group has come into conflict at one time or another with most every major Marvel Comics hero, from Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. to the Avengers and the Secret Warriors.
The organization and its “Hail Hydra!” salute entered the larger cultural consciousness in 2014 with Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. is uncovered by Captain America, Nick Fury, Black Widow and the Falcon. The scene in which Gary Shandling’s Sen. Stern whispers “Hail Hydra” to S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jasper Sitwell, indicating his involvement in the conspiracy, even inspired a widely circulated meme.
Following the premiere of The Winter Soldier, Hydra plotlines became prominent on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., culminating in the current “Framework” story arc, which depicts a world in which Captain America and his allies lost their fight against the organization.
The group has recently taken center stage again within Marvel Comics, with the controversial revelation that Captain America is a Hydra sleeper agent. That twist led into Secret Empire, the publisher’s summer event in which the heroes of the Marvel Universe must unite to fight their one-time friend and ally to prevent Hydra from seizing total control of the world.
The Hail-Hydra.com redirect doesn’t occur in a vacuum, but rather amid wave after wave of news stories about the Trump administration, investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and, just this week, the firing of FBI Director James Comey.