Secret Empire is Off to a Great Start

Never have I ever been so upset with the state of Marvel Comics. It was their brand that truly integrated my interest of heroes, villains and most importantly comic books in general. I have been very vocal of the writing they have provided us with recently. Most of my recent complaints stem from over saturation in events/relaunches that hold little to no stakes or impact, and the integration of their social justice elements. If you agree or disagree I think it’s safe to say, it’s sad, yet personally reassuring to see many seeming to agree with me. Many speculate when this disappointment truly had its big bang (All-New All-Different Marvel is my bet), but that doesn’t matter. Today, I wanna focus on the present. Let’s talk about Secret Empire!

Right off the get go we had a writer who I had very “50/50” thoughts about. Recently, Nick Spencer fell victim to poor storylines focusing more on the message he wanted to give than properly execute in Captain America: Sam Wilson and sometimes even Steve Rogers. I even dedicated an entire blog about it HERE (if you wanna read). If you’re not interested I’ll save you the time and summarize it. According to the evidence I provided, I believed Spencer’s bias writing reached a point where I could no longer enjoy nor tolerate it mostly, not because of the views presented, but again in the poor execution which oftentimes leads to nowhere. Where does the other 50% come in?

Well, if you read Astonishing Ant-Man or the event Avengers Stand-Off you know Nick Spencer is able to write a story that focuses less on the politics side of things and more on the story (sometimes with clever political addition). You see, I was always a believer Nick could write a good story, but not when his message gets in the way of things. This is where my hope came with Secret Empire. Since this was an event, and more people would pick it up, I thought Nick Spencer would begin to second guess his creative ideas since more eyes were on him this time around and thank the Asgardians as the fortune came true!

We have our #0 issue which basically served as a prologue to the series. It was a very decent start, nothing overwhelmingly impressive. It did spark another flame of hope that Spencer would keep his recklessness to himself this time around. The entire issue was a very nice slow pay-off for the set-up the writer has been building up to since our boy scout lost his serum. Yes, even the ones that didn’t work. I mean, who else was grinning when Carol Danvers got what she deserved? Overall this #0 issue did what it was supposed to do and that is to be a proper prelude which set things in motion, although it did have an unnecessary death thrown in there. It was a very good start. Now, if you notice the title of this blog has the word “great” and not “good” so, what gives?

Issue #1 is what really got me going! First off that school opening is hella scary, and it’s actually very possible. Joseph Stalin, anyone? I mean that guy was able to kill more people than Hitler and get away with it. He was able to depict himself as something greater than God! He promised the people he would give them what they wanted kind of like Steve Rogers here. The only thing that ended his rule was a heart attack! My point, this is a reality that has existed, will exist, and to this day does exist.

And since that opening I knew I was in for a safe ride. If Spencer would have written that opening any different it would have came off preachy. Whenever people commented at me about finding problems about comics tackling political ideals, I actually never had any! As you can see there has to be a certain way to approach things, a natural way and if Spencer can do it, more writers can. With the help of the artist they we were able to make every scene truly cinematic. Each scene felt like it was taken from a movie I yet haven’t seen. Even the writer’s signature move that I like to call “word spam” did not appear. For those who don’t know a “word spam” was Nick’s inability to deal with exposition which would result in a poorly given out amount of information spoken by a character. Surprisingly enough Nick doesn’t only manage to redeem himself.

Spencer’s “word spam”

When I was going into this, I expected some reformation, but not to this extent. Spencer somehow managed to make one of today’s most cringiest superhero teams gain some quality purpose. I am of course talking about the Cringeons {damn you auto correct! :wink:}. When I heard word that the team would play a great role in the event I was very hesitant. I was gladly proven wrong, it turns out the team can speak in a manner that doesn’t involve coming off like they were written by a “cool dad” trying to get hip with the millennial readers. Their role was pretty big given what happens by the end of the issue. They even used a vehicle that I recognized the moment I saw it. Fanboyed over that one.

If I had to think of a negative it would be Hawkeye. Unpopular opinion: He is my favorite Marvel superhero. Part of that I give credit to Matt Fraction, for his ingenious run on the character so, it’s only natural when I start to unappreciate things when I see him out of character (although, he had that one funny scene with Black Widow and the new character). Also A.I. Tony? I would love to have one question answered. How is it that Tony’s standalone comics are executed almost always poorly, but within event storylines he steals the show even as a computer program?!

Speaking of stealing the show my favorite characters of this issue was by far Rick Jones. His scenes with Steve Rogers were unpoetically beautiful. There was something in that character that simply draws your attention to him, and whenever a human being with no powers or fighting crime capabilities manages to steal the spotlight from all the characters that do have those things, you start making a reader like me very happy. The cell scene, just perfect.

Now for the new character named Rayshaun. I don’t know who he is or what he will bring to the table, but he seems important. In fact so important that he is clearly the one who will kill Steve Rogers by the end of Secret Empire, he’s going to be the one inside of that Spider-Man suit and not Miles Morales. After he kills Captain America he will take on the mantle of Patriot. There. What? Did I just spoil the ending of Secret Empire for you? Look, my prediction about the words which made Thor unworthy LITERALLY came true. Yes, I am bragging, but I’m also letting you know that maybe I’m not the worst source to have around. At least I hope they go with that route because if that vision back from Civil War II was just there for the effect that will be very disappointing. Speaking of the ending I hope they won’t go with the stereotypical “Steve beats his inner demons and with the power of his will he remembers who he truly is”. We’re above that writing.

So yeah, it seems like I dare to say Marvel finally seems to know what they’re doing with their universe as a whole for at least the end of Secret Empire. Of course there is still this possibility, that like with almost every Marvel event in what feels like a century, we get a great beginning, but the event trails off into incoherencey by the end. Something tells me this is going to break that curse, which is something I honestly thought I would never say. I mean who knew it wouldn’t be Aaron or Bendis, but freakin’ Nick Spencer. The Secret Empire optimism may have been too much of a surprise for me that now I am willing to really be truly positive about what is happening. But then there are so many things I left out! Like I said if Nick Spencer can put away his oblivious views from entertainment so, can many more writers working at Marvel and I think if someone like me can enjoy his work so, can you.

Hail Hydra!


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