In the 8th issue of Secret Empire Nick Spencer teams up with Daniel Acuna to prepare readers for the penultimate issue. Can they bring the house down (and get us pumped for more!)?
So what’s it about?
It’s a little late to jump on now, but know that Steve Rogers is the leader of Hydra, most of the heroes are trapped under a shadow dome in NYC, Captain Marvel is on her last leg attempting to stay alive outside an impenetrable force field around Earth, and Sam Wilson and company have one last chance to make things right.
Why does this matter?
I’ve said this in previous reviews, but this story has “House of M” vibes. It changes the playing field, but does so in a fun and interesting way. Sure everything will go back to normal eventually, but it’s the sort of event that’ll stick with you.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Hardy, har har.
Daniel Acuna has always been a favorite of mine and he doesn’t disappoint with this issue by any means. There’s a lot of quick jumps between scenes from the shadow realm of NYC to outer space and it’s always clean and clear. Acuna’s quite good at capturing the superhero form and giving the reader a good flow in the story. Part of that is how he has characters in one-panel overlap into another drawing your eye across the page. When it comes to energy blasts or magic the color is perfect too (Acuna should be drawing Doctor Strange already!) as it’s bright and particularly striking against everything else. The colors also add grit to the costumes in one scene, and perfect lighting in another, with an epic nature that’s hard to mistake. There are quite a few big heroic moments in this issue and they’re all nailed.
As far as story is concerned, Spencer sets up the issue with the stakes very clearly laid out. One might expect everything to go right for the heroes, but this series is not about that. Spencer breaks from what you’d expect to happen and parlays that into some surprises which hold your attention and make for great dramatic beats. That isn’t to say the heroes fail for the umpteenth time in this issue–they actually push forward–and the feeling of hope and positivity is quite strong here. If you’ve been down in the dumps with each issue of this series fear not as this issue just might make you fist pump in victory!
I can’t believe this myself, but the strange and dreamlike Steve Rogers scenes end up paying off in this issue! I won’t spoil a thing, but the cliffhanger seems to suggest where Rogers is and what might come next. Those who stuck with Spencer’s books–and read Thunderbolts–will want to read this just to see how the story of Captain America being turned Hydra goes next.
This is a story about finding a new hope.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The action and heroics from Sam Wilson are somewhat confusing–maybe that’s on purpose–as it’s unclear what exactly he does to help save the day in this issue. Spencer has used him as a beacon of hope and he certainly offers that in this issue, but it’s vague as to how his actions amounted to much when other heroes appear to have done the heavy lifting. Maybe it’s a question of faith? It’s a talking point for sure, which is always good, but unless we get more details later it’s a head scratcher.
I mean, it’s not that big a deal, but this issue has two Ghostbuster jokes. Two!
Is It Good?
Secret Empire is turning the corner as it prepares for the home stretch sprint and this issue couldn’t be more empowering and filled with hope. Secret Empire has been a big time event with a lot of depressing scenes and surprises, but now it appears it’s in the hero’s hands! Get some!