Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Additional Art: Rod Reis, Joshua Cassara, & Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
Desperation. Futility. Betrayal. These are the words that came to me after finishing Secret Empire #5. No one is doing well in the new status quo. Hydra is divided as some of the members of the Hydra High Command cannot change their feathers even though they won. Black Widow and the Champions AKA the Red Room seem to have a plan but the odds of success are low and not everyone of the youth movement have bought into what has to be done. Hydra’s Avengers are either under the corruption of an elder god, an AI virus, or trying to save their loved ones and working for Hydra seems to be the only way.
Then there is Hydra Cap. I had a misconception when I first began this event, and it has everything to do with the fact I dropped off of Nick Spencer’s Steve Rogers: Captain America title, and it’s quite an important fact. Yes, Hydra is a fascist organization and Steve Rogers is the leader of Hydra. But Steve Rogers is still a good man, simply a man who has been made to thinks that through Hydra he can make a better world and he is willing to fight for that world even if he is completely wrong since a man with unwavering beliefs can be a very dangerous man. It’s with the same conviction he fought for America and America beliefs for so many years and the same conviction that allowed him to stand up to the powers that be when they were wrong for he is not a puppet of the American Government but the embodiment of the American ideal. Now that conviction is corrupted but the man underneath has the same motivation and the same belief to fight for what he thinks is a finer world. To achieve that world it means his former friends must be stopped, even if it breaks his heart but as a soldier and an idealist Steve knows what must be done and that is the saddest aspect of this event, since I have no doubt that Steve is going to have a revelation, and when that happens I don’t know how my Captain America can live with himself and what he has done.
Then there is the Underground. They are Desperate to find the Cosmic Cube but they are either too late or undermanned to obtain what they need. They are beginning to see the Futility in the course of action. And when they are already on the brink of despair they are Betrayed and their future is less then certain.
Nick Spencer has sucked me in. I had no desire to read this event, especially after the debacle that was Civil War II. I was evened out. But I’m in. Secret Empire is a compelling event and I’m giving the credit to Nick Spencer as he has made a concept I hated a concept I really want to see play out. We get a hint at how Generations will be possible and MAYBE the Deus Ex Machina device that can right the wrong that has been done, but it could be bait as well. The traitor makes sense if you think of the characters past. The final page brought a smile to my face. I knew it would happen someday, I was expecting a longer wait, but the final page reveal resets a very big wrong done by Marvel. Andrea Sorrentino is back on art with this issue and just like his previous issues it is a step above of the other artists on this title. His layouts are incredible and his artwork is beautiful. The emotion is prevalent and the atmosphere fits perfectly with the content. His Thor Odinson scene alone made me choke up with the frustration apparent on the longtime ally of Captain America and former worthy wielder of Mjolnir who cannot doubt his long-standing belief of the worthiness of the person who wields the hammer of Thor.
Verdict: Somewhat shockingly Secret Empire #5 is a Buy. If you have a love for big concepts, lots of action, and heroes with their backs against the wall then Secret Empire is an event for you.