Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Additional Art: Rod Reis, Joshua Cassara, & Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
After the disjointed and disheartening last issue Secret Empire #7 rights the ship and puts this event back on track. Just like the previous issue there is quite a bit going on within this issue but the pacing was excellent and the story flowed in a logical manner. Nick Spencer is an excellent writer and it really shows in Secret Empire #7 and really the event as a whole since the series as a whole has been a lot of fun as it is filled with gravitas, mystery, action, and humor. Secret Empire #7 also does a hell of a job in redeeming the train-wreck that was Civil War II.
There are three areas of focus in Secret Empire #7. First Spencer focuses on Space and specifically on Captain Marvel and her unwillingness to abandon ship (satellite) even as their situation is critical. The space situation and the waves of Chitauri attacks have not only wrecked havoc on the Alpha Flight Space Station but has also demoralized the heroes and scientists stationed and/or trapped in space. While some are looking for escape plans Carol has decided to hold her ground since she feels responsible for the situation, and in a single pace Spencer does more to explain Carol’s motivations for Civil War II and her uncharacteristic behaviors she exhibited within that series. The space montage is touching and I wish we could get more of it but the exiled heroes really haven’t been the focus on the main series of the Secret Empire event. Spencer also spends some time in the Alternate Steve Rogers reality, where the Red Skull is still torturing Steve while claiming they are in Hell. It is still unclear on where this reality is and how it is linked to the Hydra controlled reality but it hasn’t gotten old yet, I still find myself intrigued with the alternate reality and trust Spencer to link it when the story calls for it.
The majority of Secret Empire #7 is Black Widow and her Red Room (aka the Champions) carrying out their hit on Hydra Cap. Again Spencer links the present situation Civil War II and the shocking image of Spider-Man (Miles) standing over the dead body of Captain America on the steps of the US Capitol. I loved this sequence as the question of morality and how far is to far to save the world or rather is murder the answer? There is an awesome fight sequence between the Black Widow and the Punisher and my heart was in my mouth as I read the conclusion of not just this fight but also the end of the issue itself. So much happens in the last ten pages that I had to read it three times just to grasp it all but there was no doubt that the last page of this issue left me excited for what happens next as Secret Empire enters its final arc.
I know I have said it with every issue I review but Nick Spencer is one of Marvel’s best writers right now and I think in any other hands Secret Empire might have been a disaster but Spencer has carefully constructed a worthy summer event. Andrea Sorrentino returns for this issue and per usual it elevates the issue. Sorrentino is on his way to comic super stardom as every bit of his artwork and page design heightens the writers he works with stories. I wish he was doing every issue of this event but I will take what we are given. My one gripe of Secret Empire #7 and the event as a whole is that Marvel has extended it, which means they are inserting pages into the story and the artwork, although not bad, doesn’t fit with the rest of the book and it feels like padding to get the page count up rather then actual story. But it is a small issue against an otherwise excellent comic.
Verdict: I’m as surprised as surprised can be but I am enjoying Secret Empire and Secret Empire #7 is an excellent comic book and Secret Empire is a BUY. If you have been reading the event then I hope you agree, if you avoided it then I recommend you get caught up or check out the collection when released.