SECRET EMPIRE #10
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Steve McNiven
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Additional Art: Rod Reis; David Marquez; Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco & Jesus Aburtov; Ron Lim
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Recap Page Art: Andrea Sorrentino
Cover: Mark Brooks
Variant Covers: Dan Mora & Edgar Delgado; Andrea Sorrentino; John Tyler Christopher; Alex Ross; Gabrielle Sell’Otto; Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers & Paul Mounts With Joe Frontirre; Carlos Lao
Release Date: 08/30/17
Rating: Rated T+
After a battle left Steve Rogers drained of the Infinity Formula, and the Super Soldier Serum he began to age to his rightful age. Maria Hill using a sentient Cosmic Cube named Kobik created a fictional city named Pleasant Hill, where the villains lived a simple quiet life unaware of the lives they lived before in this wholesome little town. When the villains begin to awaken they stage a coup and take over the town and capturing Kobik.
The Red Skull having controlled the Cosmic Cube for years developed a bond with the little girl the Cube is disguised as and convinces her to return Steve Rogers to his prime, but add into his memories that he was an agent of Hydra. For months Steve Rogers worked his way around climbing to the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D. so he can implement his plan for Hydra to take over America.
Now Captain America’s plan is in play. With some of the heroes blocked out of the planet fighting the Chitauri and others under an impenetrable Darkforce dome over New York City. But there is hope as a few heroes remain free and fight back against Hydra and their new Supreme Leader, Captain America. But there is a resistance and hope now that the heroes are free of the Darkforce dome and the planetary defense shield and are taking the fight to Hydra.
Plot: The final battle is here: Cosmic Cube-Powered Hydra Supreme Leader Captain America VS Every Hero On Earth! Plus Bucky’s Plan is implemented!
Story: Captain Hydra emerges with the newly created Cosmic Cube-Powered Stark armor and takes on every hero with ease while re-writing the history of the world with what he has of the Cosmic Cube. The world is now molded into what Kobik made Steve Rogers believe to be the true reality with Hydra winning the war. Being defeated Sam Wilson the current Captain America implements Bucky’s plan by offering Steve the last piece of the Cosmic Cube. Steve accepts it and places it into his chest making it whole just as he is powered down. Steve Rogers doesn’t know but the classic Trojan Horse is maneuver is played where Scott Lang Shrunk Bucky down hide on the cube fragment and once inside retrieved whole whole cube and left Steve powerless.
I find that Steve Rogers the best tactical technician in the Marvel Universe wouldn’t have seen that from a mile away, I mean this is something that he himself would have done in this situation. He may not have foreseen Bucky, but would have foreseen the Trojan Horse. This is a problem with the very premise of this story. Nick Spencer set up Steve Rogers as this masterful tactician, where he was 20 moves ahead of everyone, then powered him with the Cosmic Cube, and the bonus experience of knowing every hero. Given these factors there is no way that any of them should have been able to beat him other than having him make a dumb move like this, which ruins the whole masterful tactician he was supposed to be.
Meanwhile, the bearded Steve Rogers, Captain America is in the mindscape of Kobik trying to bring assurance to the young girl by letting her know that running and hiding will never protect you from these people, only standing up and fighting back can. So like on queue Bucky calls for Kobik and Steve and returns them back to our plane of existence where Kobil reforms reality and brings back Steve in his classic Cap uniform, and even has him freshly shaved. This was expected, no one could have been shocked by this moment. Now it is Cap Vs. Cap! Let’s be honest this is what we all wanted to see anyway, we all knew it was coming and now we have it.
The Caps are evenly matched, I mean they are the same person, so from the corner of his eye, Captain Hydra sees Mjölnir, the one that I guess was changed by the Cosmic Cube because the new inscription reads:
“Whosoever Holds This Hammer, If He Be Strongest, Shall Possess The Power Of HYDRA.”
Captain Hydra can not lift this hammer, but Captain America grabs it and now the classic inscription is back:
“Whosoever Holds This Hammer, If He Be Worthy, Shall Possess The Power Of THOR.”
Again, not a big shocker. But again, this brings to light the blatant plot holes in this story and event. Captain Hydra was deemed worthy by Mjölnir already when he lifted the hammer in the beginning, but now, is deemed unworthy? Not to mention he the Hydra inscription should never have been there since Kobik had already returned reality back to how it was, but I digress. Captain America hands Captain Hydra his ass and then tossed Sam back the Captain America classic shield and a already Thorized Jane Foster her hammer, while Kobik finishes returning everything back to how it should be but leaving the “scars” of everything behind to remind them all. I don’t know this again all felt shallow to me. It was so rushed that it never had those emotional beats that this was primed to serve us.
Well the battle is won, and Kobik “rewards” the Legacy characters with a trip to the Vanishing Point to set up the Generations event one-shots. The world also tries to heal by releasing the internment camp of Inhumans, which makes NO SENSE since the heroes already freed them as they were breaking out, especially with Barf, I mean he was the one who gave the heroes their Cosmic Cube fragment! So the touching ending here was kind of empty because of how it was done. Not to mention the waste of handing Sam back the shield since we know Steve is getting it back in Legacy.
Art: The art here was a step up, but not on the level I hold Steve McNiven to. Steve McNiven is one of my favorite current artists in comics, his attention to details and his ability to bring a panel to life is remarkable, but sadly that can not be said here. I do not hold it on him alone, I think this issue shows that the old adage “too many cooks in the kitchen” is true. With all of the other contributing artist here, his mastery of his craft was hidden and buried to the point where it was hard to find.
The colors and the inks are much improved here too. They really make it easier on the eyes to see the details, where the past issues they all seemed to blur, or be a little washed out.
Verdict: Overall this issue was a little better than previous issues, given we finally have that payoff of the two Caps facing off, but it fell flat thanks to rushing that big scene and the knock you over the head with Mjölnir obvious plotholes.
Rating: 2 ½ stars.
- Tags: Alex Ross, Andrea Sorrentino, Ant-Man, avengers, Barf, Buck Barnes, Captain America, Captain Hydra, Carlos Lao, Cosmic Cube, Dan Mora, david marquez, Dick Ayers, Edgar Delgado, Gabrielle Sell'Otto, hydra, Hydra Supreme Leader, Inhumans, Jack Kirby, Jay Leisten, Jesus Aburtov, Joe Frontirre, John Tyler Christopher, Juan Vlasco, Kobik, Mark Brooks, Marvel Generations, Marvel Legacy, Marvel Now, Matthew Wilson, Nick Spencer, Paco Medina, Paul Mounts, Rod Reis, Ron Lim, Sam Wilson, Scott Lang, Secret Empire, Secret Empire #10, Secret Empire #10 Review, Steve McNiven, Steve Rogers, Vanishing Point, VC’s Travis Lanham, Winter Soldier