Given these comics are free it’s a sure fire bet they’re worth a look no matter what. That said, it’s worth noting how good the darn things are, especially if you didn’t luck out and couldn’t get one. After reports that came out from C2E2 saying the Secret Empire Free Comic Book Day comic blew someone’s mind, we just had to be sure that wasn’t all talk.
Writer: (Secret Empire by Nick Spencer) (Spectacular Spider-Man by: Chip Zdarsky)
Artist: (Secret Empire by Andrea Sorrentino) (Spectacular Spider-Man by: Paulo Siqueira)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So what’s it about? For those of you avoiding spoilers, the Secret Empire portion takes place before issue #1, but definitely in the later half of issue #0. It focuses on the heroes of New York before Captain America takes them out of the fight.
The Spider-Man story meanwhile, appears to be taking place pre Secret Empire, but post Iron Man disappearing. It’s a fun set-up to a future story as well.
Why does this book matter?
People have been angry that Cap is Hydra for what feels like ages now and this story ties quite nicely into that narrative. Told from the perspective of the heroes we get a grave look at what it’s like to see Hydra take over. It might just give you chills!
The Spider-Man portion meanwhile, gives you a taste of what Chip Zdarsky’s take on the character will be like. Plus it has him fighting Vulture, the biggest villain of the summer due to his appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
In the Secret Empire story, readers are in for a huge twist that I did not see coming and you might not either. This twist ties incredibly well with how Secret Empire #0 opened, which revealed Hydra’s take over is the real reality and ultimately they’re the good guys. Boy does Spencer knock your notion of who the heroes are right in the gut! This story is also excellent at capturing the chaos and confusion the heroes in New York are facing as Hydra is about to clamp down on total control.
The art in the Secret Empire story is also excellent. The layouts are dynamic, go to a lot of work at capturing the tragic fall of the heroes we love, and look incredibly dark and moody doing it. The art reminded me of Alex Maleev’s style and it’s just gorgeous.
The Spider-Man story meanwhile, is all about capturing the voice of Peter Parker. Zdarsky does a good job throwing in bad jokes, good jokes, and the sense of humor Spider-Man is known for. Even the captions do a good job reminding longtime readers of the older days when Spider-Man was flat out fun first. This story also sets up a future tale as the Vulture appears to be a major player moving forward.
Siqueira draws a sharp issue that thrusts Spidey right in your face. The webs have a goopy look and the suit is spot on. There’s a more human look to the character which makes him more classic looking too.
Is It Good?
Overall this is a fantastic Free Comic Book Day book with each story giving a different flavor for readers. One has a major revelation that could play a part in the Secret Empire storyline quite well, while the other is fun and fresh. The stories are quite the opposites, but that means more entertainment for readers!