The Buy Pile: April 2017 – Secret Empire #0

SPOILER WARNING: Approach with caution!

Marvel’s Blockbuster Summer Event starts now! If I hadn’t made it clear prior to this, I have been eagerly waiting for this event to start since it was first announced a few months ago and it has been one agonising wait (My best friend has had to put up with a lot, a lot, of hype-fanboying). Now that it has finally began, I feel utterly miserable. However, that’s not a bad thing…

The issue opens with a flashback to 1945 Japan where Steve meets his old mentor Kraken. He is informed of the Allies plans to alter reality and set the course for the Marvel History we all know and love. Steve is shocked to here this as he enters a strange pool confused, lost and a little scared.

A huge jump forward is made to the present day where Steve, Director of SHIELD, is facing a nightmare scenario: Villains rising up on mass, Nuclear capabilities falling into the hands of the bad guys and a Chitauri Invasion imminent. Despite these overwhelming problems, the heroes aren’t giving up. The Defenders and a few others are tackling the villains in Manhattan whilst Alpha Flight, the Ultimates and the Guardians of the Galaxy are pushing back against the Chitauri, Quasar providing some serious fire power on that front. The Nuclear threat in Sokovia is being dealt with by the remaining SHIELD Fleet after the one nearby loses contact to the rest.

However, our heroes best appears to just not be enough. The Fall of Quasar intensifies the Chitauri wave and Nitro’s suicide explosion nearly wipeouts the heroes on the ground. All hope seems lost until Iron Heart and Iron Man are able to get the planetary defense shield back online.  The Uncanny Avengers arrive in Manhattan to assist against the villain riots and the trouble in Sokovia appears to die down.

But wait! Steve and Sharon’s Helicarrier comes under attack from Hydra operatives, Dr Faustus brainwashing the SHIELD agents into submission. That is when the penny truly drops. Steve confesses his allegiance to Hydra to Sharon, leaving his love devastated. Cap refuses to drop the planetary shield, locking Captain Marvel and her fellow space-faring heroes out. Manhattan is encased in the Dark Force Dimension thanks to a Darkhold-empowered Blackout. With the first two phases successfully carried out, Captain America makes his final move: taking over Washington DC…

Honestly, wow. I knew this was going to be a really interesting read but I hadn’t expected it to be quite so heavy hitting. The sense of betrayl right now is a off the scale and I kind of love that aspect of it. Seeing Marvel’s pillar of trust do this is a lot to take in but it feels really well executed. I can sort of appreciate why long time fans are a rather upset about Cap’s turning but I think it has been handled exceptionally, even if it does defy and disrespect the good Captain’s past.

I am familiar with Nick Spencer’s work thanks to the Ant-man but this is a new, unique and dangerous side to him that I’ve now been enlightened to. He delivers a story that helps (At least for me) those who haven’t been following Steve Rogers: Captain America get to grips with what is going on. Yet at the same time, I’ve never felt quite so confused.

Daniel Acuña and Rod Reis’ art really helped make this story so special. I can’t quite say what it was about their styles but they both  felt dark, if you catch my drift, to match this almighty upheavel. They really conveyed the collapse of, well, the Marvel Universe as we know it perfectly. Absolutely stellar.

Mark Brooks’ first cover has set the stage for what is to come. The level of detail is phenomnal and I must admit that a part of my reasoning for collecting this event is because of his covers alone. The ones released so far have yet to disappoint me.

As may be clear, this issue has left me feeling awful in a way that I sort of welcome. Marvel have promised serious change in the past but, this time, it truly feels sincere…

  • Story: 10
  • Art: 10
  • Accessibility: Friendly – I would recommend looking into Assault on Pleasant Hill as that is referenced here and it might be worth checking out Steve Rogers: Captain America but, other than that, this issue is rather open in my opinion.
  • Overall: 10

I appreciate my 100% rating may not be very popular but if any arguments could be constructive and swear-word-free I’d appreciate it. I’m completely open to friendly debate or just simply hearing where you stand. If you have any thoughts or questions please leave them in the comments. Thank you.

(The Image used is property of Marvel Comics and the artist who produced. I do not lay claim to it.)


7 thoughts on “The Buy Pile: April 2017 – Secret Empire #0

  1. I’m with you! I go out of my way to avoid Marvel’s notorious, cash-grab fuelled “events.” But I have “Secret Empire” a shot because I love Nick Spencer as an author and respect the work he’s done with ‘Sam Wilson: Captain American’ in particular. I have not been let down! The story is heavy and turbulent and, in so being, it reflects much of the political landscape in the U.S. at the moment. Like the original “Civil War” before it, I think “Secret Empire” has the potential to be shocking, exciting, and an allegorical tale for the modern age.

    I know you’ve been waiting for this forever so I’m extra happy that you enjoyed it (is “enjoyed” the right word for such a heavy issue…well, you catch my drift) as much as you did. Yay!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Turbulent is the exact word I would use to describe it. This side of Spencer is very different to one I’ve seen with his work on Ant-man but I think he’s going to make this very special indeed.

      I myself rather enjoy the big events (Noted, I’ve only really experienced two as they were going on so event fatigue is only really beginning to creep on to my radar) but I normally shy away from picking up extra one shots (Though I did pick up the Oath, definitely worth it in relation to this event)). This time though, I think I might have to get the one shots currently advertised (Uprising, Underground and United) and maybe Brave New World in trade paper back form later. I simply can’t get enough of it!

      Have you read the free comic book day story? If so, thoughts? I personally found, for a much shorter story, it echoed #0 well in the impact it had on me. Witnessing the reactions of heroes to Captain America’s allegiances is just heartbreakingly brilliant.

      Thanks again for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was very impressed with the Free Comic Book Day issue! For a freebie, there was a lot of weight in the story. The ending blew my mind (and raised lots of interesting questions as to just how far the Cosmic Cube’s reach is in messing with reality) and the heaviness of the story that you describe so well was palpable. You have me intrigued with those one shots too… I wasn’t going to touch any of them but I know you’re really invested in it so I value your opinion here. Let me know what you think of them if you do get them!

        As to Nick Spencer as an author, my main experience with him comes from reading ‘Sam Wilson: Captain America.’ I’ve been with Spencer since he started that title, have read ‘Steve Rogers: Captain America’ here and there, and enjoyed his ‘Ant-Man’ stuff too. ‘Sam Wilson: Captain America’ regularly uses current events to shape the narrative, having Cap face issues like immigration, a divided (and angry) America, race relations, police brutality, sensationalist media, a shifting public opinion, and more. He masterfully weaves those topical threads through the superhero story and makes the comics all the better for them. He seems to be taking the same approach in “Secret Empire” although he’s clearly pushing it to a whole new level in terms of tone and certainly consequences! Like you, I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

        I’m also happy you’re reading this series too! I don’t know a lot of other comic readers who are picking this up as the issues come out so I’ll be looking forward to your posts and our conversations about it all summer!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The ending really was something else. I am really interested to see how it effects the rest of the story. Could Captain America’s new stance be, in some crazy way, right?

          I too look forward to having lengthy discussions because I can guarantee that I’ll have a lot to say and it’ll be great to talk to someone who actually gets what I’m talking about. I’m planning on doing a Buy Pile: Secret Empire post each month (As I get all my comics at the end of the month) where I’ll do the main book, tie-in issues and any one-shots I pick up.

          Thanks again for responding so much, it’s great to have someone I can express my opinions too at such length!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That sounds perfect! I know I’ll be looking forward to your Buy Pile reports on Secret Empire. Maybe I’ll wait to see what tie-ins you rave about before getting them myself :).

            One of Marvel’s editors did an interview recently where he said issue #2 will have some pretty intense plot moments for the story and he said everyone would be talking about it. That’s saying something given how crazy intense/good the first three issues (counting the FCBD one) have been! I wonder if it will probe what you suggested? Can there be something “right” about what Cap’s doing? It seems crazy to think! But who knows? I’m really interested to see how they develop the Champions-centered resistance too. I share your love for the ‘Champions’ book and I’m pretty excited they are so central in the active fight against Hydra. I also like the implied symbolism of how the youth shall lead the fight against tyranny. I also dig how Nick Spencer is using Ironheart AND the Tony Stark A.I., keeping him as an active character and in a suit too.

            I’m glad you enjoy the lengthy comments/replies as much as I do! Given how great this story’s been, I think we’ll have a lot to keep us busy geeking out :).

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The inclusion of the Champions will be great, I imagine. Up to now, they have been relatively isolated which I think has really helped the characters prove they are more than just legacy characters as well allowing their exceptional social movement to gather momentum without the need of the more adult heroes. It’s this social movement that I’m interested to see transition to Secret Empire. Could the Champions be the heroes we need to take down this new world order? That would be one heck of a play by Spencer/ Marvel, especially with all the absurd, unnecessary and downright rude hate that Legacy characters get.

              I’m glad you like what I intend to do, I do hope to get as many additional one shots as financially possible but we shall have to wait and see. My comic book hiatus might have to be broken for the May edition. Who am I kidding, of course it’ll be broken. Thanks again!


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