Friday, April 21, 2017

Secret Empire #0

   I've been critical of the Hydra storyline that's been running through the pages of the Steve Rogers Captain America series for a year-and-a-half, but that story finally is delivering as we arrive at the Secret Empire event.

   Let's take a stab at sorting this out: the Red Skull used the Cosmic Cube to change Cap's origin, making him instead a member of Hydra since he was a child. For decades he's worked in secret, pretending to be a hero while laying plans for Hydra's ultimate takeover of the world.

   That plan includes attacks on several fronts, including a space invasion by the Chitauri, a Hydra takeover of a foreign nation, and a huge attack by an army of villains in New York City.

   It's good to see that Nick Spencer's story is a big one - it's certainly had a long enough (and often agonizing) buildup - and the art Daniel Acuna (with a prologue by Rod Reis) is excellent.

   But it's hard to see how this is all going to pay off. The only options seem to be redemption for Cap (which would still leave his origin and history changed and stained) or a miracle reboot ("Thanks, Cosmic Cube!").

   Hopefully there's a better choice that I haven't spotted.

   Whatever happens, this is a powerful story with shocks and surprises aplenty. So far, I'm sticking around.

   (So there are three "secret science organizations" in the Marvel Universe - Hydra, AIM and the Secret Empire - so why is this mini-series about Hydra named after... oh, never mind.)

Grade: A-


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