Marvel’s big summer event continues this week and Captain America is thumping at the door of the heroes wanting some justice. Well, justice by his definition, and since he’s Hydra his definition is very bad.
So what’s it about?
Why does this book matter?
Leinil Yu takes over on art this week, which means you’re going to get a darker tone and detailed art. Nick Spencer has been writing quite an epic so far, with some interesting twists on characters due to the world falling to Hydra. I for one am greatly anticipating how a certain mysterious alternate Steve Rogers plays into all of this.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Doctor Strange looks like a total badass here.
This issue opens with Steve Rogers still in the mysterious location yet to be named and drawn with the dreamlike work of Rod Reis. It’s a brief interchange, but it continues to spell out there is something yet to be explained that could absolve Cap of everything. These scenes continue to be strange and obtuse in their nature, but give the series a sense of mystery that keeps the reader on their toes.
Much of the rest of the issue is about Black Widow and her Red Room heroes contemplating what comes next and Cap hovering over the heroes’ secret base attempting to break through. The Black Widow scenes end up giving the issue a bookended feel which makes things come around and wrap up well. The story is far from over, but Black Widow takes a turn which should be exciting to see moving forward.
Captain America and his crew of misfit heroes (Scarlet Witch is possessed but fighting for him, Thor is doing it reluctantly since Cap held the hammer, Vision is reprogrammed etc. etc.) spend much of this issue attempting to break through the “good guy” fortifications. Spencer, ever the dialogue lover, gives Cap a ton to say to a certain character I’ll not name here. There’s postulating, grandstanding, and absolutes thrown about that give the series the importance it has had since the start. It also makes you hate Cap for thinking he’s so right. There’s some interesting ideas thrown about, particularly why Cap thinks the heroes inside the bunker are losing, and it builds towards a rousing surprise.
Fear not action fans, as this issue contains some major fighting in its end. Fighting that calls back to “Civil War” and effectively makes the battle personal for many. Yu draws some killer scenes here, with a lot of smaller panels to make so much fit, and some touching moments between heroes who have so much guilt. You’ll feel that anguish on Hawkeye’s face let me tell you. Yu draws Iron Man and his A.I. head probably the best of this series so far. It has a translucent look that’s slightly bizarre, but you don’t lose his emotions with clear facial expressions.
You’ll be shocked as to who he is talking to.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Black Widow and Spider-Man (the Miles version) talk. Like, a lot. It’s so heavy and dense in dialogue the word balloons are taking up much of the panels. It’s a slow moving scene because of it made worse that they’re chatting on a porch. It’s only two pages though.
The heavy dialogue comes back to haunt readers later with Cap and his speech. This scene drags as well and probably could have been cut back. The postulating is fine to an extent, but at this point don’t we already know Cap is 100% all in with the Hydra point of view?
Speaking of Hydra, Spencer ends this issue with a big question mark that could mean anything. Seeing as the event that transpires probably isn’t what it looks like you’ll be left twiddling your thumbs in anticipation for what happened rather than on the edge of your seat. There’s just not enough shown or explained to have the scene matter or mean anything. I’m sure there’s some fine explanation and reveals coming our way.
There are some strong moments for the heroes stuck in the dark side of Manhattan, though these scenes are more of a check in than anything else. Doctor Strange gets a moment, but really this is all just reminding us where they’re at and not progressing things. Based on how long this series is dragging out this portion of the story I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the Deus Ex Machina needed to wrap it all up.
Is It Good?
Secret Empire #6 throws down with a lot of action, a few new surprises, and some question marks to keep you guessing. Though not perfect, it’s throwing out a lot of the punches events need to do to entertain.