Story by Nick Spencer
Art by Daniel Acuña and Rod Reis
Cover by Mark Brooks
According to Marvel the “Secret Empire” #0, is the last big event in comics for them for a while. It has all the action and surprises of a Marvel-wide event. Individual heroes and teams are challenged to the limit of their abilities and overcome by a masterminds plan to take over all they hold dear and control the governments of the world and defeat all opposition to their domination of the world. Every hero is demoralized by the fact the Supreme Leader behind the breach of trust is Captain America.
Nick Spencer surprised readers last May with the highly publicized “Hail Hydra” reveal at the end of “Captain America: Steve Rogers” #1 “He had always been a master strategist,” readers are told. “But freed from compassion and mercy, this was his masterpiece of deception and undercover betrayal.” But does Rogers lack compassion and mercy? Or is Spencer presenting us with a change in the basic nature of Steve Rogers a kid that grew up in New York knowing right from wrong who was a good man according to the Doctor that gave him the abilities of Captain America, perhaps!
Or is Spencer presenting us with an unreliable narration of changed history of Cap? When Rogers has been a Hydra double-agent since his early youth according to the account given us by flash backs of Cap’s past. It was all changed when Kobik gave Steve Rogers back his super-body and changed reality so that Rogers would be the greatest man he could be: believing Hydra to be good, Kobik permanently altered reality so that Rogers had always been a member of Hydra.
So in “Secret Empire” Captain America is the Villain, Not a Misunderstood Hero. He kills and manipulates incidents for the good of Hydra. He orchestrates events to make him the one in charge of Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. As much as it leaves a bad taste in some readers perception of how Captain America should be in the Marvel Comics, it is well written. Even if it is a controversial stance for the hero, Spencer’s done well in his story arc of the “Captain America: Steve Rogers” run. Can “Secret Empire” win over fans skeptical of the entire premise of the series remains to be seen.
The two-artist approach to the issue enhances the story. Rod Reis handles the five-page prelude, while Daniel Acuña handles 30 pages worth of main story-line. Reis’ painted approach matches the tone of the opening flashback, which takes takes place after the end of World War II, Acuña’s traditional art is well suited to the present-day story, with its illustrations of military hardware, conflict on multiple fronts, and dozens of heroes stepping into the battle.
If you can look past the preconceived opinions of how Captain America should be seen then I recommend you read “Secret Empire”. The qualities that make Cap a great hero also makes him a magnificent villain. He is convenced he is doing the right thing for humanity. What he does he will do with all his heart and put his best into it. He is a formidable foe of the heroes of earth and this story must be resolved for the sake of the Marvel universe. Stay tuned comic readers for more. “Secret Empire” #0 is out on Wednesday, April 19, from Marvel. 🙂 Walt