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Secret Empire #1: Review

May 2017
Nick Spencer, Steve McNiven

Story Name:

(No title given)

Review & Comments

5 stars

Secret Empire #1 Review by (May 7, 2017)
Characters: Exiled: Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), Dr Strange. Resistance: Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk (Amadeus Cho), Wasp Nadia Pym, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Viv Vision, Ironheart, Thing, Giant-Man (Raz Malhotra), Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Tony Stark AI. Villains: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Madame Hydra, Baron Zemo, Viper, Kraken, Arnim Zola, Hive, Gorgon, Dr Faustus. Bad Avengers: Thor Odinson, Deadpool, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Taskmaster, Black Ant, Superior Octopus.

Comments: Rayshawn Lucas was introduced in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #19 and 21.

Review: The epic has its real beginning, showing what a USA controlled by Hydra and the evil Captain America looks like. The villains hold the power, the Resistance is demoralized, many of the most powerful heroes are trapped in space or in the Dark Dimension. And we see no relief in sight ('cause it's only issue #1). I am enjoying this tale so far and it's not because I am a Nazi sympathizer (one of the silliest reactions to this series I've heard of). No, it's because for once Marvel is doing something completely new and it's bringing out the best in their creative teams. This is a dark thrill ride heading toward a grim ending...what's that? You don't know how this is going to end? Then I suggest you go back and reread CIVIL WAR 2. And remember, its only a comic book....


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Empire #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Hydra now controls the United States of America. Young Jason McAllister goes to school and learns the “new” history of the world, where Hydra won WW2 but the allies used a Cosmic Cube to create the “Great Illusion” that they had won and now Captain America has put history right again. Meanwhile, his brother Brian is arrested for being an unregistered Inhuman (he vomits up a Captain America lunchbox for his brother—the weirdest moment in the book)....

Captain Marvel, trapped in space with her allies by the Planetary Defense Shield and vulnerable to the Chitauri invaders, issues a desperate call to Earth for aid....

In Las Vegas, Rayshaun Lucas is pursued by the authorities as he tries to link up with the Resistance; once the heroes are sure he is for real, Hulk (A. Cho) and Spider-Man (M. Morales) help him flee the Hydra Dreadnoughts and escape via a borrowed Fantasti-car....

In Denver, a giant monster threatens the city. Captain America faces it alone and he tells the beast to leave or face his wrath. The monster laughs so Cap assembles the Avengers, led by Thor (Odinson) and the Scarlet Witch and they make short work of the creature. This victory is celebrated over the airwaves along with accounts of how Hydra is suppressing crime, boosting the economy, and negotiating lucrative trade deals with foreign nations. Meanwhile, the Hydra Council is discussing the real issues, mind control, keeping the Inhumans at bay in their own little republic, expanding detention facilities—and the viral video of the Resistance heroes' flight from the Dreadnoughts. Cap is pressured to make a show of strength to counter rebellion and disloyalty but Cap doesn't want to be the head of a prison state...

Rayshaun is brought to the Resistance HQ hidden in the Nevada desert. The leaders, Hawkeye and Black Widow, are suspicious of their new visitor until he mentions that he is bringing a flash drive full of vital information given to him by Rick Jones....

Cap goes to dinner with the bitter Sharon Carter and while he tries to convince her that Hydra has only the nation's best interests at heart she cannot forgive his betrayal of her and their friends. She appeals to him to spare Rick Jones. Cap visits Rick in prison where he appeals to his old friend to come over to Hydra so he can be rehabilitated instead of executed. Rick refuses, sardonically reminding Cap that he has always been Rick's hero....

In Nevada, Rayshaun is brought to the Tony Stark AI who is so discouraged and distracted by the weight of all of the Resistance's tech needs and the impossibility of their mission that he tosses the flash drive into a bin and gets back to trying to fix the building's air conditioning. Nearby Hawkeye is equally discouraged and Black Widow builds him up with reassurance and kisses....

Cap visits Madame Hydra who is working on keeping Dr. Strange locked in the Dark Dimension with the rest of New York. Steve himself is a bit discouraged with Arnim Zola and Dr Faustus plotting against him. She advises him to make a great show of strength....

Cap goes on the air and addresses the nation about the challenges facing Hydra—meanwhile, Rick Jones is executed by firing squad and Nevada sees the arrival of the tentacled Hydra Helicarriers....

RobFJ - These are tie-ins that belong with this issue:-

Occupy Avengers #8
Hawkeye has left his team to join the Underground, but they continue without him rallying people to oppose Hydra.

Occupy Avengers #9
It's the last issue but the team, without Hawkeye, go down fighting against the overwhelming odds of Hydra.

Ultimates2 #7
The team are trapped outside Earth's defence shield along with many other heroes. The Chitauri can't get through the shield but the heroes have to defend Alpha Flight space station. Captain Marvel fails to find a way to negate the shield. America Chavez finds Galactus but he's too weak to help.

Secret Warriors #1
Quake recruits Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur and Ms Marvel to rescue Inferno and Karnak from a concentration camp for Inhumans. A flashback shows how Hydra-Cap arranged the death of her previous team, composed of some survivors from the 1st Secret Warriors series.

Secret Warriors #2
Karnak wants the team to find someone important who he believes is with the X-Men. But along the way Hydra sends the monster Howling Commandos after them.

SE: Brave New World #2 (Patriot story)
Rayshaun Lucas becomes the new Patriot with help from AI Tony Stark and a Black Widow AI. (Before his role in Champions #11.)

Deadpool #32
DP is working for Hydra because he trusts Steve Rogers and his daughter gets a good life. He hunts down resistors, in this issue specially Speedball. But when he finds the Resistance base in the Mount he lies to Hydra about it. (The app of Quicksilver suggests this is before Pietro leaves on the Cosmic Cube hunt at the end of SE#2 or after he returns in SE#5 - but Hydra knows about the Mount in that issue.)

Deadpool #33
DP can't decide to quit Hydra.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Steve McNiven
Jay Leisten
Matthew Wilson
Mark Brooks (Cover Penciler)
Mark Brooks (Cover Inker)
Mark Brooks (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

> Secret Empire: Book info and issue index

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