If you’re like me, you’ve been wondering where certain characters have been since the start of Secret Empire. Is Spider-Man dead? What’s the deal with the X-Men over in northern California? And who the hell does Cap think he is taking over ‘Merica?! Well, at least we find out what is going on with the mutants in this new tie-in issue.
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Ario Anindito
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So what’s it about?
Why does this book matter?
The clever thing about the title of this issue is that the “united” part is a secret. But wait, the event is called Secret Empire, gasp! Over in Captain America: Steve Rogers #17, Nick Spencer revealed a secret deal Cap had with the mutants. If you didn’t read that fear not, this issue is still enjoyable, though it does add to understanding Cap’s point of view in this issue.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens on the streets of New Tian, the location of the mutants’ home city. The streets aren’t as peaceful as one might think, at least if you’re a human. Writer Jim Zub quickly escalates a seemingly minor situation to give us a taste of what it’s like to walk the streets. It’s a good way to give the reader a bearing on how the world works in these parts so that when a full fledged attack drops we can understand the relations between Hydra and New Tian are anything but calm.
All hail Xorn!
This issue delves into the political side of things, particularly how Cap handles New Tian given the deal he’s made with them. It’s a secret he keeps even from his own board of Hydra villains, which makes the interactions interesting. How he’ll react (or not react) comes into question and there’s definitely some drama when it comes to pushing Cap to do something. It’s clear by this point the writers are showing Hydra’s board aren’t to be trusted and this issue pushes that element forward in a major way. I wouldn’t be surprised if the events of this issue play into some big choice Cap makes later. This issue also fleshes out what the mutants have been up to, particularly the leaders of the New Tian location. It adds a layer to the politics within American borders and should play into the main event later in the main series.
Ario Anindito’s art is strong, with clear backgrounds to help spatially make sense of a scene. The characters themselves, particularly the mutants, look sharp and have a bit of weight to them. The fight sequence is exciting, with some halfway decent Deadpool sight gags that should please most. I kept getting a manga feel from certain panels–maybe it’s the eyes–and the story is easy to follow visually.
Seems like a real nice place…
It can’t be perfect can it?
I was never blown away by the art, as backgrounds are mostly blank or rather simple. One double page spread early on helps convey the big catalyst of the entire issue, but there was never a splash of any sort worth noting for the rest of the issue. That isn’t to say the art was bad, just not remarkable.
The story feels small in a way too. It certainly plays into a major character possibly getting it in the end, but as far as showing us a deep understanding of the mutant area or fleshing out any of the mutants in particular, that’s not its aim. You’ll leave the issue knowing there are some political issues going on, but not much more.
Is It Good?
This is a good tie-in that serves as a check in when it comes to the mutants. It also may be a major hint at a big development when it comes to choices Cap will have to make down the road.