We’re less than a month away from the next Marvel event and frankly I can’t wait for “Secret Empire.” This is a series that’s been building for years and a Captain America who is secretly Hydra is a fascinating thing. We check out the latest issue of Cap to answer the question is it good?
Captain America: Steve Rogers #14 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Read our preview.
Why does this book matter?
Writer Nick Spencer has kept Captain America honest even though he’s changed the game by making him Hydra. It’s obvious the goodness of the person is still in there, it’s just that his point of view is all wrong. That’s intriguing.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Cap needs to work on his hugs.
This issue could easily serve as a one-shot called “The Rise of New Hydra” because it follows Madame Hydra as she builds up her high council. This council is made up of some of Captain America’s most reviled villains, though Spencer throws a curveball on it all at the end. In a lot of ways this issue begins Captain America’s battle with Red Skull which has been building for a while, even though Cap technically works for Red Skull. Before that though, Madame Hydra is the main focus of this issue and overall Spencer does a good job capturing her voice.
There’s also a clever storytelling montage of sorts here, with Madame Hydra introducing each member of the council via a page each. Its repetition is where the genius lies, as Spencer has her petition each villain via different offerings. It’s a neat way to show the bartering she’s doing, but also the needs of each member of the Hydra council.
Jesus Saiz draws this issue and it’s his art that keeps the montage sequence feeling measured and visually interesting. In a flashback scene (once again these flashbacks look great in this series) Saiz draws Madame Hydra’s tentacles in a very cool almost virtual reality look. It gives her a magical presence and sells her ability to subdue Cap easily.
It can’t be perfect can it?
A character attempts to convince Cap of a truth that isn’t that believable. It’s not so much what is said, but I just don’t buy Cap believing this character, especially after the show of force she inflicts on him. The general idea makes sense and serves the plot well, and maybe it’s because we aren’t told how Red Skull betrays Hydra, but it makes the conclusion one where you’ll shrug and go, “Okay, whatever.”
It’s hard to shake the feeling Cap is a supporting character in his own book.
Is It Good?
“Secret Empire” can’t come fast enough and it’s exciting to read how Spencer plans on setting up the stakes and major players for his event. Bring it on!