Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino with Rod Reis
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
Secret Empire #2 continues the grinding of the Jackboot heal on what was once the United States of America, but can now simply be seen as the United States of Hydra. Our story picks up after the destruction of Las Vegas at the hands of the Hydra High Command. We witnessed the Hydra Dreadnaughts in route at the end of Secret Empire #1 but we see the devastation in this issue, as well as the Underground Avengers doing their best to save anyone that is still savable. Unfortunately there are very few souls to be saved.
From there Secret Empire #2 does what many early issues of events do, it begins setting up for the first half storyline. We’re caught up with the heroes caught in the Darkforce Bubble, and it is not going well for them. They are scavenging for food, medications, and other necessary supplies to keep not only themselves alive but also the civilians trapped with them. Power Man, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones have a fun moment and it was nice to see the three of them together again. Night Nurse is valiantly trying to keep the trapped people alive and Dagger…. Poor Dagger. The Underground Avengers are finally filled in on what happened to Captain America and how he became Hydra Cap, which creates a division in their ranks and two factions that both want to save the world but their but by using different avenues. Our final focus of the issue, and still the weakest, is Hydra Cap as he seems to be lamenting his role and struggling with who he has become, yet he is committed and in need of something to accomplish Hydra’s grand plan. It also happens to be the same thing that one half of the Underground Avengers are searching for, the remnants of the Cosmic Cube.
I’m still not sold on this Event. It still offends me on many levels, which I have already chronicled in previous reviews and columns. That being said I did not hate this issue. I love when heroes are thrown into desperate situations, and Nick Spencer has created a very desperate situation. Overall the pacing is nice when you’re using a cast this size and I don’t feel like I need to read all of the ancillary mini-series to understand what is going on. There’s also a nice mixture of old and new, we have a lot of the classic heroes, contemporaries to Captain America but also a lot of young heroes who look up to Captain America but also aren’t completely mesmerized by his past that they don’t understand what they must do. Spencer also left me wanting more as there is an interesting cliffhanger that could go in many different directions.
The creative highlight of this issue, for me, was the artwork of Andrea Sorrentino. His artwork is absolutely breathtaking. It has a wonderful quality about it. It’s realistic but surreal, especially some of the splash pages that are so wonderfully done that I find myself staying on the page even after I’ve read it just to take in the art and mastery of the craft. I first noticed his work with Jeff Lemire on the New 52 Green Arrow and he has evolved over the past few years. Nothing against McNiven and Yu but I do wish that Sorrentino was doing the entirety of this Event.
Verdict: If you’re into it then this issue is a Buy. Anyone who has enjoyed what Spencer has been doing with the two Captain America titles will no doubt enjoy this issue. If you’re on the fence wait for the collection. If you’re hate reading it save your money and buy something else and let those who are enjoying it enjoy it.