Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Leinil Francis Yu, Joe Bennett, Gerry Alanguilan, Joe Pimentel, Rod Reis
Colors: Sunny Gho, Dono Sanchez-Almara
Content (May/May Not Contain Spoilers)
Secret Empire is nearing its conclusion, and soon we’ll all find out where this story has been heading. Our concept in this issue? We’re gearing up for the end of this war. Steve Rogers, Hydra Supreme, almost has every last Cosmic Cube piece he needs to weaponize the device and take the U.S. in Hydra’s name once and for all. Hydra is moving their people in place as Sam Wilson and the underground, along with Carol Danvers and her crew fight to free the people Hydra has trapped. We jump in with a very confident Hydra seeing domination in their hands, and with Black Panther being captured, not many people are left to resist Steve’s goals. The resistance has one ace up its sleeves, though: Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier. Until now, Bucky had appeared to be dead at the hands of Zemo, but he’s back, and he’s coming for his former best friend.
That’s the real gist of this issue. Both sides are making their final push to victory, and neither side is going to back out now, but the Underground forces aren’t alone in taking the fight to Hydra. Emma Frost and the X-Men, who had remained silent until now, have emerged and taken a stand against Rogers and his regime, and some of Steve’s forces aren’t in the greatest of positions. The Odinson has had enough of seeing his friends hurt, Black Ant and Task Master made a deal they just couldn’t handle, and Sharon Carter, who had been taken to see Dr. Faustus, finally eliminates a Hydra agent herself. The tide seems to be turning. Against all odds, the Underground is showing Hydra they mean business this time. There’s intense fighting all over this issue, but even at the end, Steve Rogers still stands. The Underground will still have to deal with the Hydra Sentinel of Liberty to succeed in their goal.
Conclusion (Definitely Contains Spoilers)
This has probably been by far the best issue of the Secret Empire event that I have read so far. Captain America’s character is still being slogged through the mud, but now there’s some hope. Throughout parts of this event, we’ve seen a bearded Steve Rogers seemingly in another world, and he lost his Sam Wilson and Bucky to The Red Skull. He took care of Red Skull last time, and now all of that makes sense since he’s come across Kobik. Kobik was the one who made Steve Hydra in the real world. This Steve is her dream version of a man she changed, as is the world he finds himself in. This dream Steve seems to have found a way to fix things, but he needs Kobik for it to work.
In the real Marvel world front, The Underground has routed the forces of Hydra thanks to the timely assistance of New Tian and a guilt ridden Odinson. The only threat left to deal with is Hydra Supreme himself, and he won’t go down so easily. That will be the true struggle for the Underground – Can they defeat a man who knows them and all their weaknesses? The biggest question we’re left with is: What will it take to win this war? We’ll have to see next issue when this all ends.
The writing in this issue is actually pretty good. Aside from the Steve being evil stuff, this actually flows well and has things make a bit more sense than they have been recently. Character dialogue is good, with most characters feeling like themselves, and Sharon gets particularly awesome in this issue. The art is done well, but it isn’t really anything special. This is a book that does what its mission statement was well. We geared up for the end of the war and this event in a big way, and now all that stands between the Underground and victory is Steve Rogers. Can the end of the event here justify its worth? We can only wait and see.
Publisher: Marvel Comics