Secret Empire recap: Hydra’s new America


After the opening salvo, Steve Rogers and Hydra run the United States, and Earth’s heroes are powerless to stop them – or are they?

Free Comic Book Day

Cover by Mark Brooks

What happened? The collected heroes try to save Washington, D.C. from Hydra’s invasion. But when Captain America outs himself as Hydra’s Supreme Leader, they can’t believe it. A master strategist with inside info on each of the Avengers, Steve quickly steps over fallen teammates. And in the image all of Twitter is fighting about, this corrupted American Dream picks up Thor’s hammer.

Is it good? Bam Smack Pow’s Alex Widen hated it, and I don’t feel as strongly, but it’s still a tough book to like. Sorrentino’s art always pleases, particularly with an amazing play through the use of grids. But this doesn’t add much to the “Captain America betrays us and wins” story we got in the zero and first issues. The plot feels rushed, the “strategy” is unclear, and the Mjolnir beat feels un-earned at this point.

Recommendation: Hard to say no to free, but don’t go out of your way for this one.

Secret Empire #1

Cover by Mark Brooks

What happened? Captain America’s Hydra has taken over the United States. Teachers are pushing Hydra’s version of history while armed goons detain unregistered Inhumans. Dr. Strange can’t escape the Darkforce bubble around Manhattan. Captain Marvel can’t get back to Earth. Villains like Black Ant and Taskmaster join the Avengers, and heroes like the Vision and Scarlet Witch serve alongside them.

And to maintain his position, Steve Rogers hosts the televised execution of Rick Jones.

But all hope isn’t lost yet. The Champions lead an underground resistance in Nevada. Hawkeye, Black Widow, The Thing, and the electronic ghost of Tony Stark offer what adult supervision they can. And they’ll need all the help they can get as Hydra’s helicarriers burn Las Vegas down for the glory of the Empire.

Is it good? Yes, it’s scary and sad. Nick Spencer has worked for years to show how painful this turn of events is to the people in Cap’s life. Readers feel this way, too. And the book has plenty of action to keep us locked in for the next chapter.

Recommendation: Pick it up, especially if you’re going to be reading any tie-in books.

Next: Recap Secret Empire's opening salvo!

Apart from a stumble this weekend, Secret Empire pays off months of groundwork and tells the political thriller I need this summer. I’m keeping my eyes open to how this works as a crossover with tie-ins, but the main title works.