Secret Empire: June 2017 – The Main Event

(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.

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Secret Empire: June 2017 – The Main Event

  1. Their betrayal by [REDACTED SO AS NOT TO SPOIL ANYTHING] blew my mind too. I had been running possibilities in my head and I never would have guessed that. It made me sad too. But, if nothing else, Secret Empire has been great about hitting us hard emotionally!

    I like what you said about Nick Spencer writing Scott Lang. Honestly, I’ve never read his run on ‘Ant-Man.’ As I may’ve said before, I read his ‘Sam Wilson: Captain America’ and some of his ‘Steve Rogers: Captain America’ too but I’ve never tried ‘Ant-Man.’ As I was reading issue #5 though I kept thinking I should pick up the trades and try them.

    “Unpredictable” is really the right word for this whole series. I am never ready for where it’s going to go. I love that! But I feel like I put every issue down totally surprised by where it took me and I never have any idea where it’s heading. My predictions normally end up wrong :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read SE: Underground after finding who it was which might have ruined it slightly. That being said, it kind of made all their activity worse which I did enjoy. I couldn’t really work out who it was going to be, though I could eliminate the not so subtle distraction almost immediately.

      Ant-man and/ or Astonishing Ant-man were both brilliant, I definitely recommend taking a look. I don’t I was ever truly disappointed with a issue.

      You’re definitely right about the unpredictability of the whole event so far. I am actually managing to avoid spoilers which makes my reading experience all the better, considering the sheer volume of twists they have had so far. In all honesty, the end of #5 left me feeling genuinely concerned (As well as confused), more than some of the other stuff they’ve blindside us with.

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      1. Yep, I’m right with you!!! That ending was excellent. I can’t wait for the next issue. Also, going back to re-read ‘Secret Empire: Underground’ now that I know what’s going on is a really good idea! I best it gives a whole different feel to the issue, to read it in that light.

        I just picked up the latest issue of ‘Champions’ that came out this week and (while I haven’t read it yet) it looks like it’s a Secret Empire tie-in! I’m hoping Mark Waid addresses some of the stuff you and I have been talking about in regard to the Champions acting out of character with what we know about them so far.

        Oh, also, it looks like Ms. Marvel is spending her Secret Empire time in the ‘Secret Warriors’ title. I never read that one so I don’t know how the event is affecting her. It will be interesting to see what happens when she eventually reunited with the Champions too!

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        1. Ms Marvel’s absence from the Champion’s stuff is weird considering how fundamental she is to the team. It might be something to do with her Inhuman origins and not wanting to endanger her friends by being with them (Which would be in line with Kamala’s wonderful character). Still, a mention from her own team mates would not go amiss.

          I would like some of my questions answered on the Champions front as well. That being said, they seem to have maintained some of their moral compass having opposed some of Black Widow’s action on a number of occasions. I’m still waiting on #8 so haven’t read any Champions in a while. Thankfully, Secret Empire is providing a good substitute at the moment.

          On the Captain America side of things, I’m really enjoying seeing things start to crack from the inside. The Avengers-turned-Hydra-Heroes almost forced loyalty (Bar Odinson but even he is having trouble) is still a lot to take in but I’m glad that it’s not all going well with them. SE: United (My favourite one-shot of the 3) shed some light on disloyalty in the High Council itself which I can’t wait to see unfold.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m glad you mentioned the Hyrda Avengers again! I am really interested to see how they explain what’s been going on with them. Taskmaster, Black Ant, and Superior Octopus make perfect sense. We know Scarlet Witch is possessed and Vision has some sort of virus in his programming right? Deadpool (to the best of my knowledge) just trusts Cap and has no idea what’s going on…which is classic Deadpool :). But the Odinson is the most fascinating part of this team. They’ve started to address some of his struggle and his mentality in choosing his allegiance as he has and I am fascinated to see how it all plays out!

            Wait…do we know where Thor is? I just realized I haven’t seen her in the recent Secret Empire stuff and we know she doesn’t have the hammer. Hmm,,,

            It’s interesting to think of the mental effect all of this will have on the Avengers once Secret Empire comes to a close, whatever form the Avengers are in. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how this will affect Steve but what will it do to Wanda or Vision to realize they have been so used and have played a role in Hydra’s machinations in this way? There will be so many exciting story threads to be followed after Secret Empire concludes too!

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            1. I’m loving the Hydra Avengers in their entirety. I believe Thor is actually M.I.A, her location being explored in Avengers #9. Without Mjolnir, she must be going through a time of it at the moment.

              I’m glad you reminded me about the MU post Secret Empire. I know September has a bunch of Aftermath issues for the Champions and other heroes. I genuinely believe that this might actually be one of those “never be the same again” scenarios. You can’t halve the cornerstone of the Marvel Universe going all turn coat and have no consequences.

              The Aftermath stuff brings me to Marvel Legacy which I’m really struggling with. I’m not opposed to it, the stuff teased so far seems alright. My issue is being unsure what I want to collect. I’ve made the decision to cut back as I’m going to be going to University soon (hopefully) where I will probably have to take a hiatus for a while, unless I can get a job before it kicks off. I’m really interested in seeing where Sam Wilson goes from here so the new Falcon series is one I’m really considering (Plus, Rayshaun is involved and I absolutely love him). Unfortunately, all my current titles seem to be carrying on and Champions are crossing over with the Avengers straight off the bat. I don’t know whether or not I’ll carry on with the Hulk but I’m not sure I can class one less series as a proper cut back. I will have to wait and see what happens.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I feel like that is my constant struggle. I only have so much money to go around for comics but there are SO MANY titles I’d like to be reading! I do my best to limit myself but it’s tough.

                Like now, thanks in part to your fantastic advice, I’ve jumped on the Dan Slott ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ wagon. I’m loving it! Buuut it’s another title I’m reading now :).

                I’m actually trying not to think too much about choices I’ll have to make in the fall. Each time I see the Marvel Legacy promos I get fidgety! Part of my choices may come with how they handle the balance between the Legacy and original versions of the characters. I guess I’ll have to see how I’m feeling with everything as the Secret Empire dust starts to settle. But I’m thinking about this too!

                Oh, and thanks for the head’s up about Thor too!

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                1. I might try put Marvel Legacy at the back my mind too, it sounds like a good idea. I should just enjoy what I’m reading now and see how I feel when I reach that hurdle.

                  When I first started collecting “proper” comics my series count grew rather quickly. There is an awful lot of fun, great stuff out there, despite what angry “fanboys” constantly like to chant, which is a double edged sword for collectors. I’ll just wait and see how Marvel Legacy teasers unfold, I’ve got a few months to decide.

                  Thank you for your words of wisdom. Much appreciated, as ever :).

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                  1. Welllll I don’t know if I’d say it’s always the wisest of approaches but it helps keep me sane :). I’m hoping, as the Secret Empire dust settles, maybe I’ll find certain series are more exciting than others or I find certain directions are pulling me more than others and that will make my choice for me. Hahaha, it’s rarely that easy but MAYBE!

                    And there IS so much exciting stuff out their to read! You’re right, no matter what certain angry ranters may say, I find a lot of fun stuff to read. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried them (and I don’t want to add more choices to your comic selections!) but IDW’s take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters are fantastic!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I read the first issue of Back to the Future and was sad that it was too far along to catch-up. I’m mostly focused on Marvel but I do dip into other companies. The stuff I’ve read from Image is awesome, Outcast, The Walking Dead and #1 of Curse Words were amazing. I shall have to have a look at Ghostbusters, I do enjoy their antics.

                      Letting the dust settle is a good way of putting it. I honestly don’t know what they have in store, a character death isn’t out the question, so probably best to wait. I am definitely keeping Ms Marvel, Dr Strange and Champions (Will probably get the Avengers issues during the Worlds Collide cross-over, the first Alex Ross cover for Avengers looks awesome). I can probably do one more slot, it’s just choosing.

                      Out of curiosity, what comics do you have collect?

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                    2. Ghostbusters is great because it’s a bunch of shorter series with breaks in between which makes it easier to collect and jump into.

                      Budgeting comics along with things like my mortgage and utilities :), I aspire to ten titles a month but it always ends up being around thirteen. Here’s what’s in my file right now:

                      1) The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
                      2) Ms. Marvel
                      3) Ghostbusters
                      4) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
                      5) Champions
                      6) Black Panther
                      7) Spider-Man
                      8) Spider-Man/Deadpool
                      9) Sam Wilson: Captain America
                      10) The Mighty Thor
                      11) The Invincible Iron Man
                      12) Steve Rogers: Captain America
                      13) The Amazing Spider-Man

                      So while I dabble with IDW, I’m mostly a Marvel guy too. I had to let ‘X-Men Gold’ go because the twice a month thing was killing me. Same for Guardians. I may end up reading just one Cap-related title and I can see dropping Thor and/or Iron Man depending on how they handle the Legacy stuff.

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                    3. That is an awesome list. From what I’ve heard, there is just going to be one Captain America title supposedly written by Taheisi Coates which could be interesting. Part of me is actually interested in seeing the redemption story on that front. Plus Coates is quite good at the big stuff, from the issues I’ve read of Black Panther. That might actually be a solid contender for my 4th slot.

                      I get why you dropped Guardians and X-men, two issues a month on top of other series is a killer. I do hope the 2 issues a month thing is not across the board. If it is, I hope they do what DC do and keep the cost down.

                      On the topic of Black Panther, how have you found it? I’ve only read the first 4 and found that you had to give it time and energy, but not in a negative way. It strikes me as a series that definitely explores character more than action.

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                    4. Ta-Nehisi Coastes may be taking over writing Captain America?!? WOW! I hadn’t heard that yet but now the potential of this happening has me super excited! I’ve come to love his writing with ‘Black Panther’ so I’d love to see him tackle Cap!

                      My experience with that title was it took me a while to find my rhythm with it. I do read it slowly, as you say though. The story demands/deserves it. Coates has said it took him a while to learn/feel comfortable with writing in a comic format too and I think you can feel his comfort increase as the series progresses.

                      I think anything written by Ta-Nehisi Coates would be a perfect contender for your fourth spot too!

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    1. Thank you :). I can imagine this being a “read in one sitting” sort of graphic novel considering the number of twists and turns we’ve already been through.

      I would also recommend trying to get the 3 one-shots (Uprising, Underground, United) as they have added a fair bit to the main title and have been rather good in general. I believe they are being printed together along with a couple of tie-in issues, it’s called something like a Secret Empire: United.

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