Secret Empire #0
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Daniel Acuna, Rod Reis
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
A review by Greg Brothers and Dave Hildebrand
Over a year ago Nick Spencer made waves and set the internet ablaze as Captain America uttered two simple words “Hail Hydra”. Since then readers of Captain America and several other Marvel comics have watched as Steve Rodgers put all the pieces in place for his master plan of becoming the supreme leader of Hydra, while positioning the organization to become the rulers of the world. Secret Empire #0 sees the culmination of that plan as all the moving parts come together and reveal the Master plan to all the unsuspecting heroes.
Since Nick Spencer has been telling this story of Hydra Cap for the past year, Secret Empire #0 does not read like a true #0. Instead from page one we are thrust into the action as the heroes of the Marvel Universe deal with three different threats at once.
Dave: I like how Nick Spencer has developed the story over all the issues of Steve Rodgers: Captain America. It would have been a mess if Spencer would have instead tried to tell the last years’ worth of stories within the event and specifically Secret Empire #0. Instead we have seen what a badass Hydra Agent Steve Rodgers has become, and now we will get to see what he can do when he has the power of S.H.I.E.L.D. at his disposal. He can isolate and eliminate any of the heroes that he feels will be a threat with relative ease, as he tries to make Hydra Great again. The only question I have that I hope gets answered soon is how Tony Stark has been brought back from the coma that he was left in at the end of Civil War II.
Greg: I totally agree with what Dave has said here. I have told people from the beginning who were complaining about Spencer and the Hydra story that they just needed to let the story run its course. Spencer doesn’t waste anytime moving the action forward as the planning that has been done over the last year come to a head and Rodgers reveals his true self to those that have been his most loyal compatriots. I really appreciate the way the art has been done throughout Secret Empire #0. The use of shadows and the unshaven look give Rodgers a completely distinctive look that fits this new personality. In several panels the use of looks of surprise help to truly tell the story of how outmatched and helpless the heroes feel, while the action and movement really gives a sense of how big this even is. To me it doesn’t feel like typical Marvel house art. Instead the art feel larger and more important than a typical Marvel book.
Dave: The art has a cinematic feel to it. The art makes it feel like the event is important and makes it stand above other stories.
Buy it! After the fiasco that was the end of Civil War II I told people that I was done with Marvel events. However Secret Empire #0 makes this feel like the event is different than any of the other recent events. Over the last year, Spencer has taken the time to build the story and lay the groundwork for everything that happens here. It is rare that an event has so much thought that has been put into it. Trivial things that may have seemed inconsequential at the time all had a purpose and I am looking forward to seeing how Spencer brings this story to an end.