Monday, June 19, 2017

Secret Empire #4 Review - Marvel Monday

Secret Empire #4 Review

Writer: Nick Spencer
Art Team: Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, 
Sunny Gho, Rod Reis Joshua Cassara, & Rachelle Rosenberg
Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 14, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99 

The Slowest Burn

Well here we go again with another new issue of Secret Empire back on comic shelves fighting for your consumer dollars.  Full disclosure, this series is losing me faster than I imagined it would, primarily because the creative team rarely provides readers a glimpse of things going on in a Hydra run America in the actual event title itself.  Instead this book has instead choose to focus on the various fractions and groups vying for different goals, arguing politics, stuck doing the same things since the series has begun and clarified each groups positions. So does issue four finally show us the progress I’ve been longing for, let’s find out.

The issue starts with a familiar scene we’ve seen several times already with the alternative Steve Rodgers continuing his casual stroll through the woods before he finds himself attacked by a different group of villains than her strolling through the woods in previous issues.  As Steve finds himself out numbered he is rescued by some ‘good Samaritans’ who look to be an alternative Bucky and Sam Wilson. What the hell all these villains and heroes continue to hang in the woods, or even where the hell they really are, continues to be a mystery … yet again providing no context to this ongoing situation.

From there our main story threads pick-up as we see a holographic Steve Rodgers contact new revealed Hydra recruit the Punisher where we discover he’s tasked with hunting down Black Widow and the Champions. Speaking of the Champions, we see as they look on while Black Widow tortures a Hydra agent, as she still attempts to show them the way of the spy and ‘how to kill’, which they aren’t quite picking up.

Next we address another cliffhanger from last issue concerning Ultron.  New information is provided here as we learn he has been assigned control of Alaska and two groups, Iron-Man’s and Captain America, are both enroute to recover a Cosmic Cube shard located there. As the two teams land in their destination they inevitably run into each other causing a brief dust up, very brief, before Ultron puts a stop to it all and when they all wake up they are sitting at a dinner table in a mock Avengers Mansion.

‘At dinner’ Ultron, now controlled by the consciousness of Hank Pym, rambles on to the two groups about how he’s disappointed in the decisions all of them have been making.  Most of Marvel’s events the last several years are brought to light where it’s mentioned how they’ve all played a part in destroying each other, without Ultron’s help at all.  Iron-Man attempts to set the record straight to Pym-Ultron, hitting a few key cords that upset the humanoid by mentioning Janet, springing the current Ant-Man into action.  The talking continues as Ant-Man preaches to Ultron about how he used to look up to him knowing mistakes can be made and you can still move on. The speech inspires Pym-Ultron to gift the shard to Tony and his team as he sends the two groups on their way.

Our issue concludes as we discover in an effort to make peace on behalf of Atlantis Namor gifts the shard Hydra came for in the previous issue in order to stop the attacks on his homeland.  Everything concludes with a rather ho-hum cliffhanger of Captain America revealing there is a traitor amongst Tony’s team, which is why Cap isn’t too stressed out about their appearance of success previously in the issue.

Overall this issue continues the series trend of previous issues where Nick Spencer accomplishes little in the overall narrative of the story even after 40 plus pages of content. This issue is just a talky over bloated chore I ended up slogging through. Captain America never comes off as a threat at all instead comes of looking like a complete fool, as mission after mission Hydra runs fails.  They never actually succeed at whatever they attempt to do which results in no tension building in this story. It’s been just empty scenes, that have led to more talking, that lead to more empty scenes of nothing. The writing and dialogue is far from bad but it’s also doing nothing for me or to move the story forward to the point I find it difficult to recommend any of this to anybody. If you started stop, if you’re interested don’t be, you haven’t missed a thing in five issues (varying in price from $3.99 to $4.99) that can’t be summed up in Marvel’s summary pages when you jump back in for either Generations or Legacy.  

The art is a little better this issue providing a break from Sorrentino’s heavy inks and washed out colors but still isn’t event worthy.  You can tell the release schedule is having an effect on the overall product artistically but this maybe the best the series has looked since it started at the same time.

Bits and Pieces
Secret Empire continues to be the worst kind of event comic, a dull one, much like its predecessor Civil War 2. The art is a step up this issue from the last couple in the series but the overall story is in love with hearing itself speak and preach to the reader showing little in terms of progress after five issues.



  1. I call foul. I haven't read issue #4 yet, but NO WAY The Punisher becomes a Hydra agent. He tried to snipe Harry Osborne during Dark Reign for basically the exact same crap HydraCap is pulling in Secret Empire. He joined up with Cap in Civil War against an overbearing government and their super-powered enforcers. The Punisher is against everything Hydra stands for. No way.

    1. Im with you Atom ... the only reason I can see him being with Hydra is he LOVES LOVES LOVES Captain America. So maybe thats why but I still dont see him doing anything anyone says but Cap himself.

    2. Dude already goes against any kind of due process. It's completely understable that he would join up with Cap. Frank loves Steve, he become a soldier because of Cap. America under Hydra is ,,safe" and Steve could say ,,under normal, timeline with Hydra dominance, yours family would be safe".