Secret Empire: July 2017 – The Main Event

Things weren’t looking great for the Underground last issue with Hydra forces right on their doorstep (Making the extended wait for these issues a little more irksome). Will they all survive this assault? Let’s find out!

 

Secret Empire #6

  • Things aren’t looking great for Hope, imprisoned by his arch-nemesis. Things in the Darkforce are looking equally dire, Dagger close to buckling. Daredevil encounters Kingpin, confused at his sudden helpfulness. He isn’t giving up on his city just yet.
  • Whilst some of our young heroes struggle with the ethics of Black Widow’s methods, the Underground appear to be weathering the attack well. Their defences are strong, holding against the might of Vision, Odinson and Scarlet Witch.
  • However, the real problem remains inside. A traitor amongst the Underground sparks a heated argument until one hero unexpectedly takes responsibility. As the argument dissipates, a much bigger problem smashes through their defences.
  • All seems lost as Hydra flood into the Mount. However, a united effort sees the Underground fight back, protecting the people and leading them to safety. As the last few jets leave, Tony talks with Steve.
  • The conversation goes south as Madame Hydra realises what is happening and sends Steve Rogers away before Stark detonates his suit. Black Widow hears the news and moves her plan forward.

I’m struggling to express how I felt about this issue. So much happened in the space of one issue, it is an awful lot to take in and process. The unexpected actions of one hero is probably the best place to start. I was honestly stunned when they took the fall for betraying the team. I think it reflects their character very well, a caring individual at heart who just wants to help. How this will effect their involvement with other characters in future should be very interesting, especially with the actual traitor.

The assault on the Underground explored an issue concerning Hawkeye amazingly in my opinion. I’ve felt like I’ve missed out on the impact that his actions in Civil War II had on him so it was fantastic to see it referenced here. What he did has clearly disturbed him more than he lets on and seeing him accept his apparent fate is a touch heart-breaking. However, all dark clouds have a silver lining and the scenes that ensue were incredibly uplifting.

The Thing’s “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” has never been so welcome. Seeing the heroes fight back in defence of the people they have sworn to watch over raises the spirits like nothing else, a real return to what superheroes do best. Odinson also shows signs of breaking away from his loyalty to Captain America, letting the Underground go.

I must confess to being just a little bit sympathetic towards Madame Hydra (It truly is only a fraction but it remains none the less). Her final words to Steve do make it a little tough to not feel a little sorry for her and Steve.

On the Red Room end of things, Black Widow’s reaction to the news of the Underground attack did remind me just how much she has given up to do what she believes has to be done. That being said, I don’t completely agree that Captain America has to get taken out.

Alongside Spencer’s masterful storytelling comes some great art from Yu, Reis and Cassara. I do agree to some extent with the argument that multiple artists with each issue does pose some consistency issues but I personally think it works with keeping subplots separate. If it was all one artist it would be far more confusing. Plus, the art has been mostly consistent with each subplot. As always, their work carries the emotional impact of this event superbly.

  • Story – 9/10
  • Art – 9/10
  • Overall – 9/10

 

Secret Empire #7

  • The situation in Space is worsening as the Chitauri waves keep coming. America offers up a possible solution with inter-dimensional travel. However, Captain Marvel won’t leave, guilt stopping her from leaving Earth defenceless.
  • Captain America prepares to strengthen his hold whilst Black Widow’s team move in to carry out their orders. With a powerful Inhuman onside, Spider-man prepares to fulfil the prophecy. Black Widow, however, won’t allow him to become like her.
  • Black Widow prepares to take out Cap but is attacked by the Punisher. She just manages to escape him but Spider-man manages to escape his cell and gets to Cap first.
  • A sudden turn of events escalates the situation. Spider-man lays into Captain America with all he has and is on the brink of finishing it when Nadia reminds him that he has a choice. He spares Cap and is taken away by Hydra Dreadnoughts.
  • Whilst Steve faces betrayal, the Underground regroup under Sam Wilson: Captain America! Meanwhile, Hope fights back against his torturer.

I really don’t know where I sit on the twist seen in this issue. Unfortunately, I was aware it was going to happen (I’m going to stop reading reviews…) so that probably took away from it a little bit. The impact it had on Spider-Man resonated with me more than the actual event as it showed a very different side to his character. I don’t know how I feel about him having to be stopped from killing Captain America, he strikes me as a character who could have decided that internally. That being said, Nadia halting him felt appropriate considering events building up to it.

On the space side of things, I really feel like I’m missing out on what is going on up there. They arguably have it worse off being in the vacuum of space and all (Though all cases have a fair bit going for them). That being said, America’s inter-dimensional capabilities do raise a few questions. I don’t know if the planetary shield prevents inter-dimensional travel but if it doesn’t I do have to question why it isn’t being used more.

It was great to see the Punisher side of things explored a bit more this issue. I was reminded of the impact that Captain America has had on people before Secret Empire which goes some way in explaining why they would ally themselves with Hydra. Again, an interesting look at a part of Frank Castle’s that I hadn’t seen explored. Credit to Spencer for really seizing the opportunity to explore characters in such a complex environment.

Though I haven’t been following Sam Wilson: Captain America (Something I do regret a fair bit) his taking up of the Captain America mantle once more concluded this turning point of an issue perfectly. I feel like the Captain America: Secret Empire graphic novel will be on my book shelf soon.

This issue sees Sorrentino take over from Yu on primary art. Again, his bleak style suited the events well with this issue it’s just that I would appreciate other artists being given the opportunity to illustrate. In relation to art, Mark Brooks continues to deliver simply superb covers, so much so that I might have to get his variant of the Marvel Legacy one-shot (Though I’m still not entirely sure).

  • Story – 9/10
  • Art – 810
  • Overall – 8.5/10

With this title drawing to a close next month things look set to wrap up nicely. I’m a little worried that the Cosmic Cube may just override Secret Empire and make it a bad dream or something which would be disappointing. That being said, the Marvel Universe could probably do with a break from misery. We will just have to wait what #10 has in store for our heroes. If you have any thoughts or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will respond accordingly. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Secret Empire: July 2017 – The Main Event

  1. I feel like I’m missing out on the space side of things too. I read ‘Captain Marvel’ here and there but it’s not a title I collect regularly. But when I read the main title of Secret Empire I sometimes wish I was following that story too. I’m with you!

    Also, the moment with the Thing was BRILLIANT. I’ve always, always loved the Fantastic Four. When I was younger, they were my absolute favorite Marvel team and I miss their presence on the comic racks now. One of my biggest hopes about Marvel Legacy is that it brings the Fantastic Four back together! I’ve heard speculation that the ‘Marvel Two-In-One’ title, featuring Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm, will lead to Reed and Sue’s return too. The title of the first arc IS “The Fate of the Four” so here’s hoping!

    I can’t believe we’re a few issues away from Secret Empire being over. WOW. It went so fast! I think that also speaks to how well it’s been executed. I don’t feel it dragging me down or any major sense of fatigue over the story. I’m still really invested in and excited by it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was a tiny snippet of the space stuff in Brave New World #3 with a look at Star Brand. It wasn’t huge but, in reflection, it was rather poignant. Captain Marvel’s speech to Quasar was really tough to read and I appreciated her being presented more sympathetically in light of Civil War II making her look a little bit like a villain.

      The Thing moment did bring up ‘Marvel Two-In-One’ as a possible contender for my new ongoing series. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the Thing as a Guardian of the Galaxy and the Human Torches appearances in the Amazing Spider-man have been fun. I think a return for the Fantastic Four is long overdue and you can’t get more historic than Marvel’s most beloved family. My decisions are getting harder the closer we draw to October.

      The only feeling of fatigue I have from Secret Empire is one of emotions. This entire event has really challenged my view of characters and the sheer nature of its twists and turns have left me feeling rather on edge. I am excited for the conclusion to arrive only because it looks set to gave some serious effects moving forward.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’m with you on the difficulty of decisions for what comics will fill my file once fall rolls around. Weirdly, I hadn’t thought of adding ‘Marvel Two-in-One’ which I totally should! If this is the story that leads us back to the Fantastic Four I’d like to read about it from the beginning. Simply seeing Ben and Johnny together again would be worth it. So I’ll have to spend some time mulling this one over too :).

        I’ve also appreciated the redemption feelings of Captain Marvel’s role in this too. I’ve always liked her as a character and it was a bit rough to see her become such a difficult character in Civil War II.

        Liked by 1 person

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