REVIEW: Secret Empire: Omega #1 – “So What Am I Doing Here?”

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SECRET EMPIRE: OMEGA #1
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino 
Additional Art: Joe Bennett with Joe Pimentel, Scott Hannah & Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 9/13/17
Price: $4.99

It’s Cap versus Cap again, but this time with a lot more talking. Hydra may be defeated, but the world is still left reeling in Secret Empire: Omega #1.

Secret Empire: Omega #1

Plot: Steve Rogers (good) confronts Steve Rogers (Hydra) about the acts of terror he has committed. We also get a look into the fates of others characters, including The Punisher, Black Widow, and Bucky – as well as what will happen to New Tian.

Story: My feelings on this book are mixed. There are some fantastic, powerful moments of dialogue in this book that serve as allegories for our current political climate. Emma Frost laments that though the resistance has won, mutants will continue to be oppressed. Hydra Cap points out, to our dismay, most of what he did wasn’t illegal since he was given the power. You would have to be intentionally avoiding all current affairs in the U.S. to see where he’s going with this and the commentary he’s making (whether you agree with it or not).

Secret Empire: Omega #1

But while I think the writing had strong moments, I thought the overall conversation between Captains felt heavy handed and dragged on. Even with b-plots breaking up the conversation, the intrigue of the match-up begins to fizzle out. And in the end, where did it get us? It seems unlikely Marvel will try to use Hydra Cap again, yet they didn’t make Spencer kill him off. As a result, this issue feels less like a conclusion and more like Spencer dragging out the last of his story before Marvel files it away among all the other events of Marvel past.

There are some b-plots in the book that clearly set up future plot lines (like Bucky’s search for Natasha), but overall I’m left uncertain how (or if) Secret Empire will really matter in the long run. Given the time invested in this book, by both the creative team and readers, that’s a bitter pill to swallow.

Art: Like they’ve done in previous Secret Empire books, Secret Empire: Omega #1 has a large art team switching primarily between Andrea Sorrentino and Joe Bennett. While Sorrentino’s style, which is very gritty and almost water color-like has worked in the past, it can be a little overwhelming this issue coupled with the heavy dialogue/narration. Even bright blue text boxes look strange against the shadowy art. Secret Empire: Omega #1

In high-emotion scenes, there could be stronger, defined expressions there to supplement dialogue. I do like how they distinguish between the Steves by using distinct color palettes (reds for bad, greens for good) and by often staging them oppositely in the layout.

In the other art, there is a little more emotion and intense features in characters. You can see the sadness in Emma Frost’s eyes as she talks about the mutants being the real losers in all of this. There is a similarly sad scene drawn at Natasha’s funeral, with Hawkeye’s dramatic gestures of grief.

Secret Empire: Omega #1

Verdict: In many ways, this issue is more of the same in both writing and art. This is a bad thing if you never got on board for Secret Empire since this book will do little to change how you feel about the event. But, if you are the type of reader who has to see an entire event through, then picking up Secret Empire: Omega is a no-brainer. Steve Rogers (the good version) has been a frustrating character for me in this event but everything really comes together for him in this book thanks to Spencer’s psychological exploration.  

Rating: 3/5 stars

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