As we all know by now, Marvel’s Secret Empire has officially hit stores. I’m not a big Marvel fan — I grew up a DC fan — but there was no way I couldn’t read this book.
The internet has been flooded with opinions, both positive and negative. I know the basic premise is that this story would explore Captain America’s new status as a Hydra agent, and what that means for the Marvel Universe. Our own Joe Glass reviewed the same comic, and frankly, he didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.
The first issue is jarring. We’re shown a post-Hydra Cap world, where children are being re-taught world history — one where they chant “Hail Hydra!” before class. If you question the current regime, you’re taken hostage. If you have a super power (or are a mutant) and you don’t register, you’re taken hostage.
Nick Spencer builds on this new world order with grace and ease, along with a healthy dose of looming danger and dark humor. In a lot of ways, this issue reminds me of The Man In The High Castle in terms of not everything is as it seems, and it truly feels like something bigger is going to hit us. I don’t know what it is myself. The first issue was engrossing, and honestly to Spencer’s credit, he is a good writer. I’m intrigued to see how the rest of this event plays out.
Steve McNiven is an excellent pick for this series. His attention to detail is great, and his fight scenes are fluid and easy to follow, while still being epic. His picturesque post-Hydra America is beautifully creepy, and really adds to the tone of the comic.
Overall, I’d say this is worth your while to pick up. I understand why so many people are against the book and the parallels it draws to what’s currently going on in the world, so it certainly isn’t for everyone. As someone who grew up endlessly learning about WWII-era history (thanks, Hebrew school!), I know that Hydra Cap makes people feel physically uncomfortable. But I am intrigued to see how it plays out for Marvel.
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