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‘Secret Empire: Brave New World’ review: A grab bag of stories

A collection of stories focused on the lesser known characters during ‘Secret Empire’

Paul Allor, Ethan Sacks, Jeremy Whitley
Price: $10.99
Was: $15.99

Sometimes it’s in the tie-ins of a comic book event that you get the finer detail and strife felt by the supporting characters. If you’re digging an event it’s hard to get that finer character detail, which is why Secret Empire: Brave New World can be as rewarding as the event itself.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

The Marvel Universe is shaken by the discovery that the liberty’s most dedicated defender, Steve Rogers, Captain America, is actually the leader of Hydra! As Steve seeks to bring peace to the planet – by any means necessary – the world’s heroes are faced with two choices: stand and fight or fall in line.

Why does this matter?

This collection is written and drawn by a treasure trove of creators who are (or will be) making big names for themselves in comics. It also has plenty of character stories from Namor (and Namorita!) to Blade, Giant Man, J.J. Jameson, and Misty Knight, to name a few, getting representation.

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

Namor needs some anger management.

This volume is kicked off with Namor’s story which may be the most significant since he had one of the Cosmic Cube shards. He’s clearly in a sticky situation since he needs to protect his people, but chooses to do so by ignoring what Hydra has done to the surface world. Paul Allor and Brian Level do a great job shifting Namor’s guilt, rage, and devotion around as he manages to backstab old friends and face the truth that his people feel like cowards. It ends with Namor a stronger character, which is always a plus with comic storytelling.

The rest of the volume contains ten stories all with snapshot like plots giving readers a taste of what is going on behind the scenes and by the wayside. Nick Kocher and Tana Ford’s “Propagandamonium” story is a fun television news focused story with Gwenpool offering a funny angle on a relatively serious event. Will Robson and Fabian Nicieza’s “Bob, Agent of Hydra” highlights what Deadpool’s Hydra sidekick Bob has been up to with another comedy slanted story.

“The Birth of a Patriot” by Rodney Barnes and Juan M. Figeri shines a light on the refugees who are hidden away by Iron Man and the other heroes and shows even heroes are needed for those amongst the heroes. “Superhot” by Leah Williams and Victor Ibanez narrows in on New Tian, a part of the “Secret Empire” storyline that didn’t get much play. The art is great in this short story and shows even where it’s supposed to be all roses there is conflict.

Blade has a new look, eh?

It can’t be perfect can it?

Aside from the excellent opening story many of these stories have 10 or less pages to tell their tales and that can be limiting. A point is made, a character highlighted, but not a lot can be accomplished, at least in a satisfying way. It makes this book a grab bag of potential, but it will leave you wanting more.

Is It Good?

A good series that is kicked off with great melodrama of Atlantis and Namor’s complicated nature. The collection offers a few laughs and a nice look at the lesser known characters who aren’t in the main conflict, but it’s rather thin due to the short time each story has on the page.

Secret Empire: Brave New World
Is it good?
The opening story may be the strongest, but the 10 others offer laughs and slices of life storytelling.
Solid opening story focused on Namor
A few highlight stories throughout that offer laughs and strong messages
The stories are shortened to fit two per issue, which hurts the flow and overall enjoyment

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