WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel #8, by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamara Bonvillain and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Despite the assembly-line nature of mainstream superhero comics, which requires production to begin months in advance to allow time for every step in the process, sometimes an issue will arrive that eerily, even uncomfortably, reflects real-world events of the moment. Such is the case this week with Captain Marvel #8.
Kicking off the "Falling Star" storyline, the issue depicts unraveling of Carol Danvers' life after her alien Kree heritage is exposed to the public. Even as she continues her day-to-day activities as a superhero, a storm rages around her, with newspaper headlines blaring "ENEMY AMONG US?," and talking heads on cable television question whether she's an American citizen and wondering why, if it doesn't matter that she is half-Kree, Captain Marvel has been hiding it. To make matters worse, a new superhero, Star, has arrived on the scene to bask in the glory that now eludes Carol.
But one of the lowest points (of several, mind you) comes when, in the midst of fighting crime and saving lives, Captain Marvel is greeted by protestors chanting "Send Her Home! Send Her Home!" while carrying placards that read "Liar!," "Traitor!" and "Alien!"
The issue was undoubtedly intended to reflect the current climate in the United States, in which policy debates about immigration and refugees have become kindling for the raging political fire. However, Captain Marvel #8 becomes more relevant than any of the creators likely imagined, because it went on sale the same day President Trump stood before a crowd in North Carolina that chanted "Send her back! Send her back!"
That was in reference to Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, the freshman Democratic congresswoman who came to the Unites States when she was a child as a refugee from Somalia. She, and three other progressive female Democrats known as "The Squad" -- New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley -- had been targeted by Trump for most of the week.
The president has accused the four Democrats, all women of color, of hating the country, and on Sunday tweeted that they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." All four, with the exception of Omar, were born in the United States. Trump's targeted attacks of the congresswomen dominated cable news this week, but coverage reached a fevered pitch following Wednesday's rally. On Thursday, the president and his surrogates sought to distance him from the "Send her back!," with the president insisting, rather unconvincingly, "I wasn't happy with that message that they gave last night."
Later that same day, Omar returned to the Twin Cities, where she was greeted at the airport by a cheering crowed chanting, "Welcome home, Ilhan!" It remains to be seen whether Captain Marvel will experience a similar, uplifting turnaround as part of "Falling Star."