Secret Empire #1
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Steve McNiven
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel

A review by Greg Brothers and David Hildebrand 

Just to fill you in, Greg and I will be alternating back and forth writing the reviews for the Secret Empire event. Each of us will have our own thoughts contained within, but you will get a different beginning on each. So I feel like as I begin to write this review, I have to devise some sort of defense plan for liking the book. But I am not one to succumb to pressure, so if you are hoping I dislike Secret Empire #1, I am going to disappoint you because I have liked what I have read so far. If you listen to The Comics Agenda, you know I have repeatedly defended Nick Spencer saying that he deserves a chance to tell his story. I believe that every writer deserves to tell his/her story. Once the story is out there and you have digested it, then a proper opinion can be formed. Not before. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with Nick Spencer’s tale of the fan favorite Captain America. Psssst…..Marvel said everything is going to be ok! You can put down the pitchforks now! Also this might get kinda spoilery, however we will try our best not to say too much.

Secret Empire #1 begins a few months after the events in Secret Empire #0. Hydra has settled in as America’s ruling power. Stocks are up, Crime and unemployment is down, but of course not everything is going as well as it sounds. Captain Marvel is still stranded in space. There is a small group of heroes that have to focus on not stopping Hydra but completely destroying the regime that Captain America has built. We get to see quite a few sides of Captain America throughout this issue. We seem him struggle between what is right and what is wrong, but ultimately, he is the Supreme Leader and what he says, goes!

David: One aspect that stands out in Secret Empire #1 is that the story is very character driven. A lot of the issue focuses on a young boy named Rayshaun, who sees Hydra for who they are. He also possesses vital information that can possibly put an end to all the chaos. We also see Cap fighting his own inner struggles. One minute he is pure evil as we witness the execution of a former ally, but the next we see the conflict on his face as he is reminded of who he once was.

It is no secret that I like what Spencer has done so far. I have been on board since Captain America #1. I like that he extracts these emotions from the readers, this is what a good storyteller does! You don’t have to like it, but he’s doing his job. Although the art doesn’t stand out as well as it did in Secret Empire #0, it compliments Spencer’s narrative well. We clearly see the struggle within Rogers along with the dismay and fear of the heroes. Elisa makes her return and feeds Cap the normal BS she has been shoveling him from the start. I long to see him snap out of it and deal with her once for all.

Greg: The jump in time really allows for Spencer to delve deeper into what is going on in several areas and gives it a more realistic feel. Because to the jump a secret group of heroes has already been put together in the mountains of Nevada, the general public is starting to be indoctrinated, and there is already some cracks and dissension within HYDRA. The sheer brutality that is Captain America as the Hydra Supreme leader is shown here, while we also see cracks as he deals with the weight of what he is doing to some of his former friends.

The art does not have as epic of feel to it as the issue 0 does but it does not take away from the story either. The design of several of the new tools such as the Deadnauts is striking and terrifying at the same time.

Buy it! x2!

David: This is what a Marvel event should be. Unlike Civil War II and Secret Wars from a couple of years ago, you feel the tension and the danger in this story. Spencer isn’t afraid of killing off a hero. Spencer isn’t here to make friends. He is here to tell his story and leave a big stamp on it. If you are one of the ones that are hating on this book because of the headlines you are reading, I implore you to pick this up and form your opinion instead of reading everyone else’s on the net. Hydra isn’t real, you have the freedom to do this!

Greg: Issue 1 does a good job of letting us see just how much power that Captain America has been able to collect in a small amount of time. It also lets us know that there is hope out there, and a plan to bring Captain America and Hydra down. Spencer really sets off the series on the right foot with issue #1

Dave Hildebrand
My name is Dave. I'm in love with all types of film. I enjoy comics, video games, and writing. I also love soccer. I love watching all competitions and I play goalkeeper as well. Hit me up on Twitter @sycotic

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