Hydra’s fascist Captain America has the heroes on the ropes, but with a little inspiration, they’re going to stop him. And now it’s our turn.
Secret Empire #10 (of 10)
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Steve McNiven with Rod Reis, David Marquez, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Jesus Aburtov, and Ron Lim
Published by Marvel Comics
Cover by Mark Brooks
Captain America has long meant Inspiration. For me, there was no better panel than the one in Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos has murdered everyone. Captain America has no shield, but he’s the last one alive. And he stands up. Tall. Brave. Against an angry god. He’s going to die, but he’s not going to bow. Not going to hide. It’s my favorite single panel in Captain America’s history.
And when Nick Spencer brings his epic to a close today, he takes us all back to that panel. Hydra Cap is in control. He’s got most of a Cosmic Cube in his command. He’s conquered the country and is working on rewriting the whole planet. But it’s Sam Wilson’s turn to draw inspiration. To stand tall. Brave. Against an angry god.
I will freely admit to starting to get chills right there. And I freely admit to crying as the heroes pull off their final strategy, pitting Steve Rogers against the one man who might beat him. The last few years, I’ve seen my neighbors hating each other. I’ve seen racism and violence seethe throughout this country I still call home. I have felt powerless and scared.
And Nick Spencer knows that. He narrates the final battle with Steve Rogers as an instruction to all of us. “You do not run. You do not hide. You stand. And you fight. You stand. And you fight. Stand. And fight.”
What comes next?
I won’t spoil the ending (well, not until my recap column tomorrow). It’s good. It keeps the tone Spencer has worked on for years of this story, and it leaves us in a safer place but with obvious scars. But most importantly, Spencer knows that this was never about superheroes punching each other.
It’s about us. About how we treat our neighbors. So in the final scene, the last images to summarize this event, the team chooses to focus on neighbors saying they were wrong to hate each other. To work to rebuild what they broke. To look to the inspiration of the heroes around them and live up to that.
And now it’s our turn. What do we do next?
We stand. And fight.
We become heroes.