Secret Empire recap: We’re almost there, let’s finish strong


Secret Empire is weeks away from its close, but Nick Spencer keeps tension and surprise in this week’s issue, and the tie-ins share a fun jailbreak!

Secret Empire #8

Cover by Mark Brooks

What happened? Giant Man helps Sam Wilson send an inspiring mission to the heroes trapped in outer space and in Manhattan. It’s time to work together to save the world. It’s time to assemble.

Sam’s going to fly the last piece of Cosmic Cube to weaken the barriers separating the good guys. In space, Captain Marvel launches an Ultimate Nullifier bomb the Guardians stole. In Manhattan, Doctor Strange swaps his townhouse for a spell that might help.

But Captain America is shot down. And the bomb fails. And the spell fails.

Until he gets back up. Until Quasar rises from her coma to finally pierce the planetary barrier. And until Maria Hill tracks down Blackout, killing him and dropping his Darkforce bubble around New York.

We got knocked down. We got up again. And now Namor and the (surprise! He’s alive!) Winter Soldier want to lead the final fight against Steve Rogers’s Hydra forces.

And in the mysterious dreamworld, Steve Rogers finds himself face to face with Kobik, the sentient Cosmic Cube that started all of this.

Was it good? Yes! Events usually save the losses we saw today for the cliffhanger penultimate issue, but Spencer’s pacing lets readers sink with the defeats and rise again in the same issue. I’m closing the book feeling excited and hopeful for the home team, and that’s what should be happening right now.

Recommendation: Get it. Great series, and the hits keep coming.

Captain America #25

Cover by Jesus Saiz

What happened? Steve Rogers declares war on Wakanda and the mutants of New Tian to get their fragments of the Cosmic Cube. Hydra wins, but in Nevada, Sam Wilson inspires his team to liberate an Inhuman prison camp. And they find their own Cube fragment via wacky Inhuman Barf. Meanwhile, Namor reveals that he pulled the Winter Soldier out of his watery grave, and they’re all ready to join the Resistance.

Was it good? Yes, Nick Spencer knows his way around a great speech, and he gets two this time.

Recommendation: I enjoyed the main book without this backstory on how the last Cube fragments got where they needed to be, but having this story gives a lot of weight and caps off (no pun intended) Nick Spencer’s fantastic run on both Captain America books.

Amazing Spider-Man #31

Cover by Alex Ross

What happened? The Superior Octopus has Spider-Man on the ropes, ready to steal his corporate empire. But Peter leans in to his Parker luck and burns it all to the ground. No more multinational conglomerate. No more glowing suit or fancy cars. Just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. And the Octopus just barely gets away.

Was it good? Yes. I loved the Parker Industries era of this book, but it’s time to come home, and it might as well be in this emotional victory.

Recommendation: I don’t think it’s adding to the Secret Empire story, so you can leave it on the shelf, but Spider-fans should be getting this part of Peter’s history.

Secret Warriors #5

Cover by Tradd Moore & Tamra Bonvillain

What happened? The Warriors rescue Moon Girl from prison, then lead a bigger prison break. As luck would have it, it’s the same facility the Resistance is busting into, the one where Sam Wilson finds the final Cube fragment. And they win, but Mister Hyde kidnaps his daughter, Quake, and tells her someone killed Agent Coulson. The team saves her, but when they learn that Karnak sold his own son to Mr. Sinister to help the Inhuman cause, they’re too icked out to stay together.

Was it good? Not the best issue from this new little title, but plenty of action and teamwork make for a good read.

Recommendation: This glimpse of the Avengers’ prison break is fun, but it’s not doing a ton for the overall event.

Next: What happened last week?

As the Secret Empire event winds toward its close, it’s good to see three tie-in books finding clean jumping-off points, and all in support of a terrific issue of the main book.