13th Jun2017

‘Secret Empire #3’ Review

by Dan Clark

Written by Nick Spencer | Art by Andrea Sorrentino, Rod Reis | Published by Marvel Comics


When Secret Empire #0 debuted I was amazed by how much was packed into the first issue. Typically zero issues are nothing more than recaps, but Secret Empire did not follow that trend and moved at a break neck spread with a tremendous amount of standout moments. Nick Spencer built a foundation to tell a great story, and when time jumped even further in issue one it appeared this series would not get as bogged down as other event titles. Since that time jump however the majority of narrative has been spent playing catchup. Once gain we have another event where there is a lot going on but nothing really is happening.

Part of the problem is how rapidly the scope has expanded in these last two issues. Now we have Black Widow and The Champions training to take down Steve Rogers, Hawkeye and his crew and their McGuffin journey to capture the pieces of the Cosmic Cube, New York stuck in a hell like dimension, Captain Marvel and her team fighting an endless space battle, and everything going on with Steve Rogers and Hydra. That’s not counting the continuation of last issues shocking ending. When you have so many juggling pieces like this you have less of a story and more of a grouping of highlights that move each piece forward ever so slightly.

Isolated each piece has something intriguing and Secret Empire is by no means without its merits. Black Widow debating with The Champions over the morality of killing is captivating sequence. Spencer injects a lot of his trademark humor and as fan of his past Ant-Man series I was excited to see him write Scott Lang again. Once again we also get a number of shocking reveals including the return of a character I thought Marvel simply forgot about, and another classic Marvel hero showing loyalty to Hydra that will surely ruffle some feathers.

We also get a break from the rotating artists as Andrea Sorrentino returns. He is as solid as always but we do not get any standout two page spreads like he has last issue. When you have one of today’s best artists put on Marvel’s biggest book of the year you expect to see some remarkable artwork. So when you get something that is only good it is hard not to be disappointed.

Looking at  last issue many are speculating that Spencer is finding a cheap way to explain the current mindset of Steve Rogers. Personally I do not feel this additional Steve Rogers is at all what he seems, nor do I see this series ending with Hydra Cap turning out to be a clone, Skrull, or the Ultimate version of Steve Rogers. I think it is very clear this bearded Rogers we are seeing is not even a physical person but rather a manifestation of morality that still exists inside Rogers. Perhaps I am wrong, but for those who were ready to write off this book I say there are many possible answers that may not end up being awful.

Secret Empire so far has had its problems but not to the level the internet would lead you to believe. Spencer has taken the freedom of an else world story and added some actual stakes. More attention needs to be placed on moving this story forward and less on shocking revels, but overall Secret Empire is a big event worth your time.

*** 3/5


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