So, we’re at the other end of this now. My opinions on Secret Empire have been made abundantly clear. There’s no reason to revisit it, let alone review Secret Empire: Omega.
So, we’re going to review Secret Empire: Omega. Because I am not only a masochist but a curious masochist as well.
That, and I really do think Nick Spencer is a talented writer. Secret Empire just happened to turn out to be his self-combusting magnum opus that will be attached to his name for many unfortunate years to come.
I loved his Sam Wilson: Captain America until it began tying into Secret Empire, and his Astonishing Ant-Man and Superior Foes of Spider-Man were brilliant series through-and-through.
As such, I was willing to give him one more chance to show how great a Captain America writer he can be.
Maybe it’s just something about Steve Rogers—maybe that is his problem.
With the United States and the world at large recovering from the shocking events of Secret Empire, the now-freed Steve Rogers pays a visit to the S.H.I.E.L.D compound that holds his Hydra-hailing counterpart what staged the overthrow of the U.S government. They have a lengthy discussion to reflect on the actions of one another.
Meanwhile, Hawkeye has been decimated by the loss of the Black Widow, the Winter Soldier is on a case, Beast and Emma Frost ponder the future of mutantkind, and the Punisher is wreaking havoc on what remains of Hydra.
This book is perfect for you if you thought the ending to Secret Empire as too upbeat and left you not in need of a drink. Any optimism that could have resulted from its relatively happy ending is flushed down the drain by the oppressive tones of this epilogue.
In its defense, it does bring up some decent questions that one could have after reading Secret Empire, and good Steve does get some one-ups on evil Steve.
For example, good Steve does bring up that people still don’t trust him because of Hydra Cap, which makes sense given all the atrocities he committed with Steve Rogers’ face. Good Cap manages to undermine this by pointing out that he’s always been against the people having too much faith in any authority.
I’m still mad that they killed off Jack Flag.
Speaking of undermining things, the heartbroken sobs of Clint Barton are pretty hollow when we immediately follow it up with Bucky tracking down Black Widow. It’s not emotional levity; it’s just shallow and weak storytelling, especially given the fact that she just dramatically “died.”
It is nice to see Frank Castle gunning down Hydra schleps instead of working with them. It was still a baffling plot point that he would ever have worked for Hydra in the first place, even with Steve Rogers helming it.
As depressing as the tone of this comic is, I do feel bad for Mr. Spencer, because I’m not expecting a lot of this to be followed up on. Bucky will probably find Natasha real soon, sure, and Frank Castle, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D would explain the Punisher/War Machine hybrid we’ve seen in Marvel previews. However, I’m expecting Marvel to get as far away from Secret Empire as they can as soon as possible. Hydra Cap will probably be soon forgotten despite the setting up he gets here, and much of the themes of distrust of superheroes as well as Good Steve’s self-doubt will probably dissolve soon.
If Hydra Cap does stick around, it will be as the Red Skull, and they will rarely, if ever, refer to him as a form of Steve Rogers. That’s my prediction.
As much as I groove on Andrea Sorrentino’s artwork, this issue does spotlight some of the issues with his art style. As dazzling as some of the pages are, Steve Rogers looks like Clint Barton did in previous issues, and Clint Barton looked like Oliver Queen from Sorrentino’s time on the Green Arrow comic during Jeff Lemire’s stint on the title. Make of that what you will.
Also, Joe Bennett is an artist who deserves more than the interludes between Sorrentino sections. Both artists deserve better than that, Marvel.
So, that’s how we leave Secret Empire. It ends basically like it ran: a comic with good ideas buried under mountains upon mountains of baffling storytelling and really bad ideas. Give this one a pass; Legacy will probably make the same level of sense without Omega.
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