Title Secret Empire #0 (2017)
Story by Nick Spencer
Art by Daniel Acuna, Rod Reis
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 4/19/17
Secret Empire #0 is the start of another event from Marvel Comics. That phrase, “another event from Marvel Comics” has a bad ring after the trainwrecks of Civil War II and IvX. With the neo-nazi Captain America taking a crack at leading an event will Marvel’s recent history be rewritten?
You either hate or love the idea of Captain America being a HYDRA member as this has been a highly controversial title from the announcement. Most people hate this version of Cap and I really can’t blame them as he is now the embodiment of retcon. With that being said Spencer has been writing the series pretty well and if you can look past the slap in the face is actually a decent read. In the recent issues of Captain America: Steve Rogers we see the decline of HYDRA though Secret Empire #0 is quickly fixing that with Steve Rogers now being the SHIELD Director.
Like Spencer’s Captain America: Steve Rogers series Secret Empire showing how Kobik “rewrote” Marvel’s history. In the beginning panels, we see that the Axis powers actually won World War II and that the events in Spencer’s series are the true origins of Steve Rogers and Captain America.
As Captain America is fighting an invasion by the Chitauri he dispatches cosmic heroes including the Guardians of the Galaxy to The Ultimates to defend. I am curious on why they are Marvel is playing so heavily on the Chitauri recently as I would have rathered seen a competent race like the Skrulls who would’ve made this space battle more interesting. While the space front wages on Iron Man and Ironheart work on building up the damaged shields protecting Earth. SHIELD is attacked on the ground front by HYDRA’s Army of Evil which leads to the Defenders fighting against them. The damage is massive as the streets of New York is full of carnage with villains like MODOK causing chaos.
As the Iron people get the shield up and working Steve Rogers reveals his true plans and that he is actually a HYDRA leader. Sharon Carter is brought away giving him total control of the United States military due to the SHIELD Act. Unwilling to let the heroes on the frontlines return back to Earth members are failing and some are erased as the Chitauri are unrelentless coming wave by wave. Tony realizes what is happening to an extent and calls out for all heroes to fall under his command due to a Level Red Threat.
Rogers saying, “ I don’t understand any of this” speaks for the readers as Marvel Comics has become too vast and uncontrollable. When Marvel could have easily let this event become a type of *cough* Rebirth *cough* they have only expanded the rat’s nest in Secret Empire #0. Though the story isn’t terrible and reads well this seems to be nothing more than a shout out to the cinematic universe having the Chitauri be the cosmic threat and having the Defenders, Doctor Strange, and Cloak and Dagger take care of HYDRA’s army.
Acuna’s art is by far the best attraction this issue has to offer as he uses thin lining allowing for Reis’ watercoloring to make a big impact on this issue. Acuna is able to use the thin lining to deliver detailed facial emotion the only part that was detailed to a certain extent. Reis’ coloring is often muted as even bright colors look toned down as can be seen in the space fight scenes.The beginning pages were done by Reis leading to the best imaging throughout the issue pulling off an interdimensional vibe. Unfortunately, Secret Empire will have different artists working on the series which could lead to a lack of continuity between issues.
Secret Empire #0 is just another Marvel Comics event. However, the story reads better than both Civil War II and IvX. Marvel really missed a chance to capitalize on this event having the ability to trim down the already muddled universe. The art is the biggest attraction as Acuna and Reis team up to create visually pleasing panels in a comic void of much entertainment.