What is Secret Empire?
Writer: Nick Spencer
Art Team: Daniel Acuna, Rod Reis, Andrea Sorrentino
Release Date: April 19, 2017
Cover Price: $4.99
Well yet another Marvel Event is upon us, this one called Secret Empire, which should culminate what many consider Nick Spencer trolling the Marvel Universe. I guess when you basically decide to retcon the Comic Book equivalent of the American Golden Boy’s origin story you’ll piss a few people off … comic fans are fickle people, who knew? Anyway let’s see what all the hub bub is about since this story of Captain America being a Hydra/Nazi is supposed to be a big deal. Sit back, relax, and discover all about Secret Empire #0 which is the beginning of this 10 issue EPIC.
Events start off in 1945 as Steve approaches a cave in the mountains of Japan and runs into the Kraken. Kraken, a Hydra big wig, states he’s impressed with the progress Steve has made as a Hydra spy leading Cap to a glowing golden pool, ‘the source of Hydras power’. He fills Steve, and the readers, in on the biggest retcon in comic book history, while asking Cap to trust him and step into the pool, to preserve his Hydra memories to save the organization at a later date in history. Here is where the magic happens and the Cosmic Cube (I guess) takes effect on the world. Here is where I also get lost, although admittedly my interest is minimal in doing the leg work to understand this … Did these events really happen therefore making this a true retcon? Or is this more Kobik mind fuckery? Either way this is where I get lost in this story and it affects my enjoyment a bit because it’s not very clear.
Back in the present we join an utter shit show in action, which I’m sure unfolded over the course of the other 3 tie-in books Marvel wanted you to purchase this week. This would have cost an additional $12 on top of the $4.99 you’re already spending for this issue ... so thanks but no thanks guys. Anyway we see Captain America from this point forward organizing his forces while taking in the various bits information he’s being feed from all corners of the world. A few minor continuity issues pop up here which make this title appear to have a minor rushed to market feeling, but overall doesn’t influence the narrative or my enjoyment of the story too much.
These scenes with Cap directing the action boil down to the following:
- · Guardians/Captain Marvel/Quasar/Hyperion being sent into outer space fighting a Chitari invasion to buy time while waiting for the Earth Defense Shield to pop online.
- · In New York the Defenders (who haven’t formed yet) are ‘defending New York’ from a giant villain group attack.
- · Hydra forces, in Sokovia, have taken possession of the country’s ‘Nukes’ so all S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli carriers are sent to the area to defend from potential launch.
- · Iron Man (who’s controlling a suit via his AI while dead) and Ironheart try and attempt to pop the defense shield back online.
Despite teams being sent where they are needed most the events unfolding begin looking bleak as Hypeiron starts taking blasts, and Quasar gets eaten by a giant Chitari flying dragon in space. Meanwhile on Earth, Ironman and Ironheart can’t get the shields up, and Nitro sets off a blast in New York, almost reminiscent of the exact events that started Civil War 1, before Jessica Jones is able to limit damage by tossing him in the sky.
At this point the US Govt informs Captain America he is being given total control of all US power and military forces, basically the one man in charge of everything, and this is where he starts to reveal he’s a true piece of shit. Out of nowhere the Defense Shield begins working and the ‘good guys’ begin to see Captain America’s master plan unfold changing the tide of battle back to Hydra’s favor.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-carrier Sharon and Cap are on collides with the first one taken by Hydra. Hydra then forces its way on-board taking command of the ship, mostly through mind controlling S.H.I.L.E.D agents, and arrest Sharron Carter. Captain America continues his Hulk Hogan heel turn as he starts shit talking Captain Marvel, explaining how she’s now trapped in Space behind the Defense shield with the rest of the teams she gathered. Meanwhile in New York, Baron Zemo uses magic to cast all heroes defending it, to the Darkforce Dimension. The remaining heroes, not affected or currently tricked, are called into action by the A.I. Tony to head to Washington DC to regroup however the cliffhanger reveal shows Washington D.C. also compromised as S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-carriers are shown approaching the White House as the issue concludes.
Overall the story was interesting, even more so than I thought it would be. There are several points where it appears either the artist or writer lose track of events/characters status in the issue, or fail to make things clear for people jumping on expecting a true #0 issue, but the main directive remains focused throughout.
The art to me is just not very good, I understand I maybe in the minority here, but some characters come off looking silly, and the paneling on most pages feels very crowded. Sharon Carter looks like a woman who was on a bender all night, woke up late, didn’t put on make-up on or get ready at all in the morning, as opposed to an aging woman. However I do have to say the prologue was my favorite art of the issue and only truly event worthy section of the issue, artistically, if you ask me.
Bits and Pieces
While this is nothing more than another one of Marvel’s overpriced and overhyped event comics it does manage to avoid total disaster with a premise that has the potential to be very interesting. While the release schedule and sheer amount of tie-ins scare me away from engaging fully into the narrative I will pay attention to the main title to keeps tabs on how our heroes bring their one time greatest ally to justice.