Secret Empire recap: Why did you do it, Steve Rogers?


Steve Rogers pulls back the curtains on his evil plans this week as Captain Marvel leaves her keys to Earth on the counter. Ouch.

Captain America: Steve Rogers #17

Cover by Elizabeth Torque

What happened? Frontline’s Sally Floyd interviews Steve Rogers. He defends the Inhuman camps as necessary and humane responses to dangerous individuals. He publicly denies the legitimacy of the mutant nation of New Tian, despite secretly meeting with Magneto before the takeover to strategize this nation as a mutual benefit.

But when Sally asks about bombing Las Vegas to try to kill the resistance fighters, Hydra goons throw her in a cell. Hydra World, everybody. It sucks here.

Oh, and to get in good with Magneto, Steve Rogers gave him the severed head of the Red Skull. Like a freaking monster. I assume the Mont Blanc store was closed.

Was it good? It lacked the rapid action of last issue, but the depth to which Nick Spencer has thought out the ways Steve Rogers can justify this disgusting plan to himself? Chilling. Scary and believable, a powerful next piece in the work Spencer has built. And it’s great to see Sally Floyd again.

Recommendation: Pick it up. The main series will scare you, but this exploration of the rationale gives it a whole new dimension.

Mighty Captain Marvel #5

Cover by Elizabeth Torque

What happened? Captain Marvel introduces her first three cadets to Alpha Flight training. But orientation gets derailed when the Chitauri waves hit. Alpha Flight, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Ultimates fight the invaders but get locked out of the home world when Steve Rogers turns the defense shield back on.

Was it good? Not really. Margaret Stohl’s Captain Marvel has been tough to connect to, and playing her as an overcompensating drill sergeant feels too far, even after Civil War II. The vast supporting cast feels underdeveloped. Doesn’t help that these scenes were kind of filler when we saw them in Secret Empire and Ultimates 2.

Recommendation: Leave this one on the shelf. I’m not convinced this part of Steve’s plan will be all that interesting, and even if so, the main book tells you plenty.

Secret Warriors #2

Cover by Tradd Moore and Matthew Wilson

What happened? In flashbacks, Hydra capture Inhumans like Naja and Iso. Quake’s dad, Mister Hyde, runs the New Jersey Inhuman camp. In the present day, Quake’s team has to escape the Howling Commandos to make it to New Tian, where some X-Men look unhappy to see them.

Was it good? It’s much better than the first issue, a team with more character development in a story with more engaging action pieces.

Recommendation: It’s still not a requirement for this event, I don’t think, but I like it. Don’t break the bank for it, but it’s a fun read now.

Next: Catch up with last week's recaps!

As Secret Empire develops, it looks like the tie-ins deal more with action and explosions. I love those, but I’m grateful for more central books like Steve Rogers that take a look at the real risk of people choosing order and safety at any cost. Thus far, most of the tie-ins haven’t seemed like great uses of money, but the event has three more months, so stay tuned!