Each Thursday night I get the opportunity to sit down with a few friends and geek out over some of the fun, interesting, and noteworthy news stories related to pretty much anything geeky, nerdy, or the like. As I looked at my pull list for the comic book shop this week I was reminded about the culmination of the annual Marvel comic-universe altering event. This year focused on Captain America and his foray to the dark side, Hydra. As much as this turn has been a topic of conversation for more than a year I felt it necessary to catch up and finish the last issue before we went on air tonight. Over the last 2 days I caught up and completed Secret Empire.
(There will be spoilers regarding the ending of the event past this point! Read at your own risk.)
I am going to stay away from the hot button topic of Cap’s turn and other political-type issues because I want to focus on the fact that as far as Marvel’s comic events have gone over the last couple of years I felt like this one actually had a fairly satisfactory ending. I don’t feel as if Nick Spencer (the writer of the event) got to the last 2 or 3 issues and suddenly realized he’d built this too big and had to hurry to tie it all up into a neat little package. In a lot of ways, I agree with a review I read earlier today stating that the final issue was a better ending than the series deserved. The Hydra empire fell, Hydra Cap was destroyed, the timeline restored, and Steve Rogers is back (wait, what?).
The crux of the story was that Kobik (a cosmic cube) had rewritten Steve Rogers history so that he’d always been a secret Hydra agent waiting for the right time to take over the country. When Kobik saw what she had created, after having been misled by Red Skull, she ran and hid. Only when the memory of the proper Steve Rogers/Captain America find her hidden in a strange dream-like reality is she enticed to return and fix what she had led astray. The final battle of Hydra Cap versus the idealistic recreation of Captain America is odd, yet satisfying.
Is the real Steve Rogers dead? And how can this memory reincarnation of Captain America be real? I guess that’s the fun of writing and creating a story around a cosmic cube whose sole purpose is to fiddle with the universe, history, and reality.
Probably my favorite part of this event was that Secret Empire made mention of previous events. Secret Wars, Civil War, and Civil War II. Those events played a role in the characters actions and reactions throughout Secret Empire. It even gave a hint as to the current Marvel Generations comics with past and present versions of particular superheroes.
Was Secret Empire perfect? No. But at least it wasn’t the convoluted mess that was Secret Wars or the limp unsatisfying Civil War II.