This is it, the concluding issues of Secret Empire. I won’t deny being a little saddened by the end of this event which I have invested a fair bit, both emotionally and financially. At least we end on a three-issue extravaganza.
Secret Empire #8
- Sam Wilson is reaching out to everyone, those beyond the Shield and imprisoned in the Dark Force. Armed with a cosmic cube shard, the counter-offensive begins.
- Despite his rousing words of hopes, the initial assault falls flat. However, the return of one cosmic heavy-hitter and the actions of an (arguably) unsung hero of the MCU turn the tide, bringing the Shield and Dark Force dome down.
- Heroes from across the MCU come together, ready to attack Captain America and his Hydra Empire. The war has begun…
- Meanwhile, Hope meets some familiar faces who are set to tip the balance.
If I’m honest, I hadn’t really expected Spencer to take this direction but I’m definitely glad he did. With all the awful stuff our heroes have endured the past few months, this monumental win put a great big smile on my face. Seeing heroes I know and love finally unite against a common threat makes for such a wonderful change from the in-fighting that has been somewhat common the past few years.
The game changers seen this issue were welcome sights for sure. Having seen her rise to power, I appreciated the return of the cosmic heavy-hitter this issue and I look forward to seeing more of her in future. The other game changer was unexpected but highlighted that despite the bad rap she gets, she does what is necessary, even if it isn’t always on the right side of the moral compass.
The change in tone was tied together very well with the artists pencilling this issue. Acuña, Reis, Izaakse and Tartagila use such fantastic colour and detail that it’s hard to not simply admire the splendour of it (Not that it is ever really a challenge). Noted, I’m not 100% sure where each artist’s work was included but it was stellar across the issue so I don’t really mind.
- Story – 8/10
- Art – 9/10
- Overall – 8.5/10
Secret Empire #9
- Captain America’s side of things perk up with the imprisonment of Black Panther. However, the celebrations are cut short by the arrival of Emma Frost and cohort of angry mutants who instigate a fight aboard the lead Helicarrier.
- Meanwhile, the heroes of the MU have engaged in a full on battle against the Hydra forces. Things don’t quite go there way until Odinson switches side and the Champions are released from prison.
- Baron Zemo is tasked with transferring Black Panther to his cell, showing him the sleeping army who will help shift the balance in favour of Hydra. However, the Winter Soldier manages to free Black Panther.
- However, they are too late to stop Cap donning a cosmic-cube powered suit. Things look worrying for our heroes. However, Hope is coming…
#8 brought our heroes together, #9 tied it all together in a ribbon. This issue saw heroes once divided coming together against Hydra. As a unit, they seem unstoppable, beating back wave after wave of Hydra forces. The breakdown of the Hydra Avengers was surprising in some cases, some members changing sides in rather unexpected ways. It was a delight to see the heroes freed of the shackles placed on them, joining the fight. Spencer has managed to keep the momentum going, one only hopes he delivers with a strong finale…
Yu does the lion share of the art this issue which is always great to see. As much as I like Sorrentino’s style, I do feel he has done his fair share of issues. Yu delivers art on par with the fantastic stuff seen in #5, further extending the feel of change that has overcome this event.
- Story – 8/10
- Art – 8/10
- Overall – 8/10
Secret Empire #10
- Captain America pleads with the heroes of the MU once more before re-writing history in Hydra’s image. Sam Wilson “surrenders” the last fragment to Steve, bestowing upon him great power. That is until the Winter Soldier gets involved.
- Bucky manages to pull Hope and Kobik into reality. Steve Rogers, Sentinel of Liberty and a Beacon of Hope, is back! They engage in a rough and bloody duel, equally matched. However, one Mighty swing from Mjolnir sends Hydra Cap flying.
- Steve Rogers returns what was taken to the heroes around him. Kobik restored history but kept the scars of the past issues. From out of the Vanishing Point, order is restored. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are back.
- The Epilogue sees the actions taken against the Inhumans recognised. Brian and Jason McAllister are united once more. Their vandalised home is cleaned up by Jason’s classmate, a thank you for all his brother has done.
Was the ending somewhat predictable? Sure. What is cliché? Undoubtedly. Am I disappointed? Only a tiny bit (I won’t dismiss the idea that it is ever so slightly unoriginal completely). Though it may not be a popular opinion, I feel that ending is exactly what the MU needed. For such a long time our beloved heroes have been at each other’s throats. Fans have been complaining about this for ages and we’ve been given what we wanted: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes united against whatever threat maybe on the horizon and beyond. Sometimes a cliché is needed and in this case it was.
Thank you, Nick Spencer, for restoring an ideal that has been lost for some time now. Marvel Legacy has become all the more exciting because of it.
McNiven, Reis, Marquez and Medina ended the art side of things on a tremendous high. I’ll just comment on the double page spreads because they summed up exactly what has come out of my favourite event of all time: An end to division and the rise of Earth’s Mightiest once more.
- Story – 9/10
- Art – 9/10
- Overall – 9/10
On a related note, the last 3 covers again demonstrate just how fantastic Mark Brooks’ cover art. He is definitely one of my favourite cover artists thank to his superb work for this event.
What a rollercoaster of emotions. I will most likely do a concluding post summing up how I feel about Secret Empire as a whole but for now, I’m sad to see it end. Sure it was incredibly dire for the most part but it has brought about a great foundation for the Marvel Universe going forward, something I look forward to seeing unfold. If you have any thoughts or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. Thank you.