Whilst the Main event was a little quieter this month, extra Secret Empire content was ramped up to the max with two one-shots and the first two instalments in the 5 part Brave New World mini-series. Let’s get started.
Secret Empire: Underground #1
- The Underground Team have gone to the Savage Lands in hope of finding a piece of the Cosmic Cube. They run into some trouble with Sauron who they soon form an alliance with, his knowledge of the Savage Lands being essential to the mission.
- Whilst on their way to the main hub, they run into trouble with some dinosaurs. They make it to the council room where Mockingbird breaks off the alliance with Sauron, hoping to reason with the three leaders.
- However, the women are not keen to hand over the shard and the team clashes with them. It is a tough battle, the trio proving to be challenging adversaries. However, after Sauron recovers and tries to attack the trio, they secure the shard.
- Battered but pleased, the team head home…
If you intend to read this one-shot I would recommend reading it both before and after reading #5. You will not feel the same way when you read it after as you did before, I can pretty much assure you. If I had read this before, I would say it had a much lighter tone than previous Secret Empire stuff. However, events of #5 hung over it and it amplified the feeling felt towards the character who betrayed the Underground. I must say that Jeremy Whitley does a stellar job at keeping readers in the dark on who the traitor is. I can say that I would have been none the wiser. Looking past the betrayal, this one shot is definitely the most relaxed in comparison to the other two. It feels like a more classic adventure, heroes going on an adventure and naturally winding up fighting some people. It was a beacon of light in what has been a rather dark couple of months.
Eric Koda has produced illustrations that further extend the more classic heroes-on-an-adventure feel to it with a style that reminds of me early comics. Coupled with Antonio Fabela’s fab colouring, the art as a whole accompanies the tale well.
- Story – 8/10
- Art – 8/10
- Overall – 8/10
Secret Empire: United #1
- The Sovereign Republic of New Tian, primary home for mutants, co-exists with Captain America’s America in relative peace. That is until Sunfire, Random and Frenzy kick up a storm on the border.
- Captain America and his council argue over what to do whilst Xorn authorises the formation of a team to rescue Sunfire. They get as far as his cell door until Scarlet Witch undoes their magical concealment. The team clashes with the “Avengers”.
- Captain America goes to New Tian himself to discuss peace. Xorn is revealed to be the puppet of a much deadlier mutant who reveals that the problems have spawned from fractures in his own council.
- Captain America returns with peace restored and the goal of sorting out the traitors in his own ranks. New Tian, on the other hand, possess both peace and a shard of the Cosmic Cube.
This one-shot is my favourite of the 3 by far. First off, it’s fantastic to see mutants finally catching a break from oppression (Noted, the way it has come about is far from ideal). Second, New Tian adds so much potential that I was left wanting to know more about what was going on. Having a section untouched by Hydra raises so many questions like how such a deal was formed and how has it managed to maintain its status. Jim Zub has produced an absolutely fantastic story. I will just have to wait and see what the X-men tie-ins hold in a years time.
The Mutants apparent absence from Secret Empire was a question in the back of my mind. I fear their neutral position will not sit well the people or even heroes following Secret Empire. Mutants clearly don’t get enough grief as it is.
Alongside an amazing story is awesome art by Aria Anindito and Java Tartagila. Parts of the issue are very dark and grey so the vivid, brighter colours used really stand out and look simply fantastic.
- Story – 10/10
- Art – 10/10
- Overall – 10/10
Secret Empire: Brave New World #1
- The Human Torch and Toro seek out help from an old friend, Namor the Submariner. He has been going through some leadership issues with people trying to overthrow him despite his only goal being to protect his people.
- With his goal in mind, Namor betrays his old allies and has them locked away in a dungeon.
- Raz’s life was turned upside down when he became Giant Man. He decides to head home to his family to get it sorted out but he ends up defending them, as Giant Man, from Hydra goons. Ant-man then takes Raz and his family to the Underground.
- Gwenpool is being held captive in a news studio! However, alongside a rather tough anchor-man, she is able to escape, though the anchor-man did most of the work after a slight communication error.
I mentally wrestled with myself a lot over collecting this. I am really enjoying Secret Empire and I wanted to get as much as I could justify. Brave New World was 50/50 until I gave into temptation and picked up the first issue whilst on a trip to London. The main focus of this series is on how Captain America’s oldest allies are taking the news of Cap’s turning. I hadn’t realised how interested I would be until I read it. Allor has reminded me how much I like Namor’s effectively split character. With this blast to past comes Level and Boyd’s fab art that feels like something out of the 1940s. Perfect, considering the cast.
Giant Man is a character I am particularly fond of having seem him become the man he is today. Whitley does a great job bringing readers up to speed on all the stuff Raz has been getting up to as well as teasing a possible future for the big guy. I would definitely be up for a Giant-man title, I can imagine being a lot of fun. Olortegui‘s art sort of reminds me of Astonishing Ant-man’s style which leaves me wanting Ant-man to come back to a title.
Though I’m not a fan of Gwenpool based on unfair, uninformed judgement of her character (I know how shameful it is but I just can’t move past it) this mini story provided a much needed reprieve from all the heavier content of the rest of Secret Empire. Thanks for that Kocher. I’m not overly fond of Ford’s style but it does suit the short story well.
Overall, this isn’t essential reading necessarily but it provides a really good look into lesser known characters and promises an intriguing classic-hero story with ‘Sanctuary’. Worth picking up if you enjoy small time heroes or the true classics.
- Story – 8/10
- Art – 7/10
- Overall – 7.5/10
Secret Empire: Brave New World #2
- Rayshaun would like to be a hero rather badly. He is hardly the heroic type, getting floored by aggressive youths. However, his contribution to the Underground does not go unrewarded. After receiving a suit and training he becomes: The Patriot!
- Hydra Bob is helping a unit take down a raging Inhuman. The rest of his squad are taking down easily but Bob manages to knock her out. Accidentally.
- Whilst the Human Torch and Toro are locked up troubles ensues outside. Namor goes to sort out of the problem only to realise that the attack was a distraction.
- The Human torch and Toro break free from their cell but come across some interesting creatures as they swim out. They finally make it out only to be reunited with another former ally: Namora!
Rayshaun Lucas is one of my new favourite characters, no joke. It was only 9 pages but wow. I don’t think I’ve felt quite so connected to a character in a long time but I can’t help but share some feelings Rayshaun Lucas. Major kudos to Barnes for achieving that in such a short page space. My affection does pose some problems but that’s a hurdle for October. Frigeri‘s art rounds off the feel good factor by being simply brilliant.
I feel like there was a missed opportunity to have a Hydra Bob-Deadpool team up considering where Deadpool stands but no matter. Though short, Nicieza provides another light hearted tale on par with Gwenpool. Robson‘s art accompanies the short tale well but it’s not a style I’m super fond of.
The Namora twist at the end of this instalment of ‘Sanctuary’ was somewhat lost on me as my Atlantis knowledge is unfortunately weak. that being said, I was able to deduce that it spelled trouble for Namor, the Human Torch and Toro who I should probably mention is John Hammond, not Johnny Blaze. I do feel obliged to take a look at Namor and co a bit more now to be honest.
All in all, more enjoyable than the first instalment primarily because of ‘The Birth of Patriot’ story, my future go to story for a quick mood-booster. ‘Sanctuary’ is unravelling nicely and I’m excited to see where it goes.
- Story – 8/10
- Art – 8/10
- Overall – 8/10
An exciting month if you are enjoying Secret Empire and are as weak willed as I am when it comes to making purchases (At least it isn’t heroin, as I like to mention on a regular basis to my parents). The one shots are definitely worth picking up, Underground for a hefty blow to the feels and United for a fantastic dose of Mutant Madness. Brave New World can be skipped as I don’t think it is really essential reading. Worth checking out if you prefer small heroes though. If you have any thoughts or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. Thank you.