Monday, August 28, 2017

Secret Empire #9 Review - Marvel Monday

Secret Empire #9 Review

Writer: Nick Spencer
Art Team: Leinil Francis Yu, Joe Bennett, Gerry Alanguilan, Joe Pimentel
Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 23, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

Countdown To Reset 3, 2, 1 ... 

Penultimate issue people ... well unless you count the Omega issue that drops after #10, so then this would be the penultimate issue, to the eventual real penultimate issue, of Secret Empire ... it all depends how you look at it.  I have finally just about made it to the end of this event with my sanity and I for one can’t wait for it to end. So, how does Hydra start to fall, and what is their dirty little back up plan in place, in case shit goes wrong? Let's discuss lots of people punching each other in Secret Empire #9 shall we.

Things start out with Kobik, the sentient cosmic cube in little girl mode, revealing to the sexy shirtless, bearded Steve Rogers (aka his ‘real’ personality) she done fucked up. So for all the people who guessed ‘mind control or Cosmic Cube shenanigans for $300 Alex’, they were correct, despite Marvel and Nick Spencer’s own repeated nonsense stating the opposite.

Anyway back in the ‘real world’, Washington DC to be exact - Baron Zemo brings T’challa to Steve Rogers along with his cube fragment. This all occurs about the same time Emma Frost, and her mutant representatives of New Tian, also arrive bringing along their cube fragment as well. You get a cube, you get a cube, everyone gets a cube!

From there we check in on the giant superhero battle going on between the heroes and Hydra. With all heroes now free from their various Secret Empire prisons Hydra deploys their ‘Avengers’ to take on the swelling Resistance group on the ground.

Back to Steve and Emma Frost, Emma attempts to make a last minute deal with Steve, to retain rights to New Tian but is turned down quicker than the ugly geek guy asking out the cheerleading captain. As a result Emma Frost, prepared for such an answer, unleashes her boy toy’s on the Hydra faithful, including Magneto who starts dropping Hydra war ships from the sky.  In the haste of battle Zola & Cap sneak away, allowing Cap to slip into something a little more comfortable, which we’ll come back to later.

The battle outside continues, where things are about to turn a bit in the favor of the good guys for once … at least momentarily.  For one reason or another, after blindly following Hyrda through a ton of worse crap going on this event, Thor decides this is the moment he has had enough of this Hydra bullshit, and with a Simple ‘NO MORE’ and a slam of the ax, starts really affecting things.

From there we transition to a strange moment of levity with Black Ant and Taskmaster. The two mercenaries hear the sound of thunder outside, which in their language of interpretation is the “We’re gonna lose Boom”.  The two Merc’s change sides, after a quick discussion involving the imprisoned Champions, freeing the young heroes and betraying Hydra. In exchange their good deed Miles webs them to the wall.

The last act of the book jumps around to get everyone in place for the final plot thread. Outside the good guys continue turning the tide of battle, Viv turns off enough of Vision's Hydra Virus for him to be effective for the Resistance side of things, while Dr Strange is trying to perform an exorcism on Scarlet Witch. Inside Hydra headquarters Black Panther, via some Bucky Barnes aid, take care of Zola, while Sharon Carter turns the tide against Dr. Faustus.

The events begin concluding with Sharon attempting to take down all Hydra airships, as Cap assembles the pieces of the Cosmic Cube Hydra has collected, inserting them into a new Special Stark armor he has his hands on, with some Zola upgrades.

Back in Kubik’s mind we start finally getting some clarification on the events that have taken place, which we keep revisiting, before Kubik runs away most likely from events occurring in the real world.  The final cliffhanger sees all our heroes success this issue turn in a moment of time as Hydra Steve uses a little Cosmic Cube magic to blow a hole in the middle of the battle, knocking our heroes all over, revealing the All New All Different Hydra Cap NOW! as the issue concludes.

Overall Secret Empire continues to be a mess both in tone and story telling.  Throughout this entire series the Resistances victories have never lasted more than a few panels, before Hydra pulls out a new Dues Ex Machina, to progress to the next issue. No Face or Heel turn ever feels earned by either side, and when a story uses a Cosmic Cube as a driving focus, it’s hard to ever be invested in the outcome in the first place, knowing everyone is chasing a giant reset button.

My thoughts for this series have never revolved around me being politicaclly against it, I just find it has been a predictable slog to get through every other week, despite it being advertised and pushed as not what you think it is.  It is what we thought it was just another predicable event story trending towards again changing nothing of importance where questions raised are quickly forgetten among a sea of heroes hitting each other.

The art this issue may be the most ‘event’ worthy of the main series so far, so if you love pretty pictures, at least you have that working in your favor.

Bits and Pieces

Was anybody was in the mood for Civil War 3? No? Me either! This is again your standard Marvel Cosmic Cube nonsense, combined with uneven tone and storytelling, accompanied with a corny narration the entire way through that just doesn't raise the provoking thoughts Nick Spencer feels it should. With everyone after a giant reset button to begin with, at least the end is on the horizon, and we can all forget this ever happened soon enough … kind of like the events of Civil War 2 and Axis. At least your eyes will enjoy themselves.


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