(I’m pretty sure that without these posts I would explode as a result of holding in my thoughts on this title. It is hard not having anyone who really understands what I’m on about (Though it’s like that a lot of the time, the amount of waffle that comes out of my mouth is arguably quite alarming…))
It is a little quieter this month in terms of main event issues but those pictured packed some serious punches. We have hit the half way point and things definitely aren’t looking any brighter…
Secret Empire #4
- Hope runs into some trouble but is rescued by two friendly looking characters. They offer to stay with him as he searches for answers.
- The Punisher is coming under more pressure to find Black Widow as Cap grows anxious. Black Widow is torturing a Hydra agent when the young heroes step in and release him. He tries to kill Iron Heart but is shot down by Black Widow.
- The quest leads the opposing sides to Alaska, Ultron-Pym’s realm. They clash but are soon apprehended by Ultron-Pym. He has organised a dinner party where the conversation, dragging up difficult pasts, becomes heated.
- Scott calms Hank down and in doing so secures a piece of the Cosmic Cube. The Underground heroes are pretty pleased with themselves till Captain America strikes a deal with Namor the Submariner, levelling out the play field.
- The issue concludes with a hint of a traitor amongst the Underground team…
Where to begin. First of all, the Hank Pym-Ultron mash-up is honestly amazing. I knew about the merge from snippets of information here and there but actually getting to experience it first hand was wonderfully intense. Hank isn’t known for his mental stability so his coupling with Ultron spells trouble. However, it is made apparent that Hank is having to battle Ultron’s influence which makes it really hard not to feel sorry for a man who feels as neglected as he does. He is a hero lost in what is effectively a prison. Scott Lang’s speech comforting Hank reminded me how well Spencer handles Ant-man and I now really miss having Ant-man as a regular part of my reading.
The Dinner Party conversation was also immensely rewarding. Having the group just talk reflects on just how broken the Marvel community is over Cap’s betrayal. Hank quite rightly points out how the events at present parallel those seen before. Whether or not this is a self-jab at event fatigue is open to debate.
The story as a whole felt far less confusing that with previous issues. For starters, the perspective jumps were minimal. We had Hope, Black Widow and then the main stuff in succession, no jumping back and forth. It made for an easier reading experience and I appreciated it a great deal (Considering how late I read my comics).
This issue saw 3 artists illustrate. Rod Reis, as before, handled all the Hope stuff and, again, his softer details reflects on the more positive stuff going on with that subplot. Joshua Cassara returns to do the Black Widow/ Champions sections which I appreciate. It gives that bit more consistency as a follow on from Uprising. Leinil Francis Yu does the main body of art and does a fab job. He captures characters expressions fantastically, an essential part of the dinner conversation.
Overall, a strong issue which explored some really great content with Hank-Ultron. I hope he pops up again in the coming issues. There is a hint at ties with Captain America which does not bode well.
- Story – 9/10
- Art – 9/10
- Overall – 9/10
Secret Empire #5
- Black Widow has been captured but she’s not too worried. She provides a sufficient distraction for the Champions to break-in and rescue an important person (Who I don’t actually know.
- Scott Lang reflects on the Underground heroes’ lack of success over the past few weeks. The team keep running into dead ends and it is wearing down on morale. The team are tired and injured so they decide to return back to base.
- Cap’s conversation with Beast over a supposedly stolen cosmic cube shard is cut short by the arrival of Madame Hydra. They have something big planned and all but Odinson are ready. Odinson is struggling with what is being asked of him and is very much alone with his feelings.
- Upon return to the Mount all seems well. Friends are reunited and Raz and Rayshaun have been working on a way to communicate with Manhattan and outer-space. However, the conversation is cut short by Tony realising what has been happening. He calls for the base’s shield to be raised but its too late. Hydra have found them and they’ve brought something big…
- Hope’s situation goes south when an old enemy returns…
The feelings I got from this issue parallel those experienced upon completing #0. Just when things seem to be going okay for the Underground they find themselves betrayed by one of their own (Whose identity I will keep secret because I wouldn’t want it to be spoiled for me (It did actually take me by suprise in all honesty)). The rug was well and truly pulled out from under them and from me. Well played, Spencer, well played indeed.
Reading it before going to sleep was a bad idea as my mind start racing with the implications of what the final page alone meant, let alone everything else that was going on. So many questions! Spencer is about to put the Underground through its paces and I really don’t know if they will all see it to the other end. Words cannot fully describe how I felt about this issue. I am annoyed I have to wait so long to see what happens next.
The Hope stuff has taken an interesting turn with the introduction of a well-known character. If I think about it, who better to get involved with the suggested tackling of Hydra Cap than his greatest villain?
Sorrentino steps back into illustrating the main story. I do appreciate his style but I wouldn’t mind other artists being given the opportunity to illustrate. That being said, it does support the mood rather well. Reis and Cassara have again produced great stuff that accompanies their respective segments well.
Overall, a really great shock issue in my opinion. It does raise a fair number of questions leaving me wanting more but I don’t feel nearly as lost as I did last month.
- Story – 9/10
- Art – 8/10
- Overall – 8.5/10
I will say this every time I review the Main Event title but I feel I have to. Mark Brooks is absolutely killing it with the cover art in my opinion. They are already some of my all time favourite covers, they are simply superb. I eagerly await having all of them to marvel at.
All in all, a quieter but perhaps even more exciting month in terms of the Main Event. There are an awful lot of twists and turns but they feel far more genuine than ones I’ve have seen before. I will be releasing two more June posts in the next week, there is an awful lot more content to cover in terms of extra content and tie-in issues. If you have any thoughts or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. Thank you.