See all reviews of Secret Empire (9)

We’re nearly halfway through Secret Empire (if you count #0 it’s a 10 part series!) and boy does it seem like just yesterday it all started. The main thrust of the story has become a race to find the shards of the Cosmic Cube to fix Captain America (and Cap wants them to stop that from ever happening). They’re after the first shard and it just so happens to be in Alaska guarded by a certain villain whose name rhymes with “Boltron.”

Secret Empire #4
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu (with Rod Reis, Joshua Cassara, Rachelle Rosenberg)
Publisher: Marvel Comics


So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

Read the full preview to find out!

Why does this book matter?

It’s Marvel’s big summer event with tie-ins and major ramifications dropping every single issue. It’s the epitome of big time storytelling in a Captain America: Winter Soldier kind of way. It may not be all fun and games, but it’s the kind of exciting, great drama only Marvel knows how to tell.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

This issue is far easier to follow with less jumping around and most of the main event taking place with a specific set of characters in a single location. That makes this issue easier to digest than most that came before it. That isn’t to say it doesn’t cut away to other events–it actually opens with two short scenes–but overall this issue feels the strongest when it comes to memorable moments.


Time to kick some butt.

The main story contains a scene that is without a doubt memorable and will be one held up with the best of scenes from previous Marvel events. Captain America, along with his own team of misfits, are rushing to grab a shard in the possession of Ultron. The thing is, he’s also Hank Pym. Enter the heroes of this story, Tony Stark among them, and the sequence of events goes from exciting action to messed up family dinner. Nick Spencer cleverly harkens back to the old days of the Avengers when they’d eat dinner and get rowdy around the table. Problem is, this time it’s a different type of rowdy. Pym simply steals these scenes though, as he is one part psycho from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and two parts intelligent yet frail hero. This scene includes banter from characters, some surprising speeches, and pays off well when it closes out.


Wait…huh?

Leinil Francis Yu was a perfect choice for this issue as he’s a master at drawing sci-fi tech. Pym has a truly frightening appearance that’s half man half machine and Yu imbues him with a frailty that’s just so Pym. The fight sequence leading to the dinner is excellent too, with a fantastic floor busting sequence with Ant-Man that shows the scope of the battle. While there’s a lot of talking going on in this scene you’ll hardly notice because of Yu’s exceptional facial expressions and the acting he can spin into these characters.

Outside of this main event Spencer touches on Black Widow’s exploits with her “Red Room” team fleshed out over in Secret Empire: Uprising #1 and the current events of a certain Frank Castle. There’s also more of the mysterious and innocent Steve Rogers, which at least shows we’re not abandoning this story element anytime soon.

It can’t be perfect can it?

This mysterious Steve Rogers subplot continues to annoy mostly because it doesn’t seem to say or do anything for the story. Clearly it’s a waiting game to see how it fits into the bigger picture, but seeing as we don’t even know if this guy is real–especially after the reveal in this issue–it’s hard to care.

Is It Good?

This is a great chapter–nay, the best chapter of the series so far. Secret Empire is turning out to be a red letter event. This chapter is the first indication it’s not just a good event, but one that’ll be compared to Marvel’s best.

Secret Empire #4
Is it good?
An excellent chapter that could be its strongest yet. This event is starting to pull out some memorable moments you won't want to miss.
Yu does a great job with his portion capturing Hank Pym in all his horrific glory
A masterclass sequence takes place that does everything right when it comes to the Avengers
Progresses Punisher's story well and ends with a cliffhanger that'll have you guessing
The mysterious Steve Rogers character continues to be more head scratching than entertaining
9.5
Great