Writer: Nick Spencer
Pencils: Steve McNiven
Inks: Jay Leisten
Additional Art: Rod Reis, David Marquez, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Jesus Aburtov, & Ron Lim
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
I wanted to write a spoiler free review for Secret Empire #10 but I found it impossible and since Marvel decided to spoil the ending of their event a day before it’s release the odds of people not knowing the ending of Secret Empire are pretty slim. I avoided comic sites on Tuesday and Wednesday since I wanted to read Secret Empire #10 without knowledge of the end. The sad thing is I predicted the end all the way back with Secret Empire #0. The safety net was there the entire time and even as the Marvel Universe fell apart and Captain America became the worlds biggest fascist readers knew the ending, they knew how the status quo would return and by the end of Secret Empire #10 the Cosmic Cube rights all the wrongs of the entire event.
Even with the outcome known Secret Empire #10 is still an enjoyable comic book, or at least I found myself enjoying it. The treatment Nick Spencer has received for his development of this entire ‘Hydra Cap’ concept has been brutal and hopefully he has redeemed himself in the eyes of many of these fans (at least the ones still reading) as he returns the original Cap to the world and just in time to save the day. Secret Empire #10 picks up where issue #9 left off, Hydra Cap has donned an Iron Man type of armor powered by the Cosmic Cube. The Avengers, now Assembled, do their best but never stand a chance as it is nearly impossible to stand against a Cosmic Cube. Luckily Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes have a plan and with the help of Ant-Man they are able to pull the alternate reality Cap, which we now know is the real Cap’s psyche that Kobik (the sentient Cosmic Cube) held onto after she rejuvenated Captain America during Standoff but rejuvenated him as Hydra, from the Cosmic Cube in Hydra Cap’s chest. ‘Classic Captain America’ arrives in the nick of time and over the course of an epic fight, with classic homages inserted, rights the horrible wrong that is Hydra Cap. Spencer also writes some excellent, a socially relevant, dialogue about fascism and hate and how it is the responsibility of good people to always take a stand against this type of evil and why Hate can never win. I found myself feeling inspired by the Original Caps words and I was happy that he has returned, chain mail and all.
Steve McNiven returns for the majority of the art on this issue, joined by Rod Reis for the Alternate Cap and a plethora of assists, but this isn’t the Steve McNiven of the original Civil War. It’s not as detailed as it used to be and it felt rushed. On a whole the artwork for Secret Empire was ridiculously varied and was one of the major flaws of the Event. Another flaw is that Marvel has rolled out its Generations one-shots as a tie in to Secret Empire, but other then a mild reference in a closing panel there is no real connection. There isn’t a hint of Legacy here and really at the end of the event, other then the death of the Black Widow, the Marvel Universe is status quo to how it was prior to Secret Empire #0. Original Captain America is back. Sam Wilson is returning to his identity as the Falcon. More importantly there is no question of Captain America and his actions during the entirety of the Hydra Cap story, unless Mark Waid is going to play with this when he and Chris Samnee take over Captain America this fall. But at the end of the day it is nice that Secret Empire is over. Marvel really needs to hold to their no new Event initiative for at least a year and a half as they have burned out readers with the past few and need to focus on their regular books.
Verdict: Thankfully it’s over. If you read it I’m sure you hold your own opinions, if you didn’t then you really missed nothing of note to enjoy the Marvel Universe. Parts were enjoyable, parts were frustrating, and then there were parts that were just bad. Marvel needs to hold true on their promise of no new Events since we need a break.