2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier made the fictional terrorist organization Hydra into an internet meme, thanks to scenes of characters suspiciously whispering “Hail Hydra” to each other, denoting their allegiance to the bad guys. With Hydra back in the public eye thanks to both comic book and television storylines, the meme has also returned — and upped its game significantly.
Try typing “hail-hydra.com” into your web browser and see where you end up. Spoilers: You won’t see a page for the fascist organization now led, in comic books at least, by a newly evil Captain America, but, instead, the official White House website’s page for President Donald J. Trump.
It’s unknown who set up the redirect, but the URL was originally registered back in 2014 by someone in the Australian town of Nobby Beach, Queensland. The redirect would appear to have been set up in the middle of last month, with the last update to the site showing as April 16 — far in advance of recent political upheaval that only underscores the popular conspiracy theory that President Trump is attempting to obstruct investigations into potential ties to Russia by firing FBI Director James Comey.
While Marvel attempts to distance its current Secret Empire Hydra comic book storyline from real-world parallels, it’s worth remembering that the original Secret Empire — an offshoot of Hydra — was headed by a previous U.S. president. The 1974 Captain America and The Falcon storyline by Steve Englehart and Sal Buscema showed an unnamed president commit suicide when his identity became known, in an allusion to the then-contemporary Watergate scandal surrounding Richard Nixon.