Comic books and politics have, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your outlook, been intertwined for quite some time. In March of 1941, Captain America was pictured knocking the spit out of Adolf Hitler on the cover of Captain America #1, and while the political influence isn’t nearly as straightforward or obvious as it was then, comic books reflect the times, and often, the socioeconomic climate from which they were created. Marvel’s Secret Empire event is a prime example of this type of socioeconomic reflection, and thus by default, so is Captain America: Secret Empire. This being the case, it is important for readers to keep in mind that–as if it weren’t obvious–the country is in a state of unrest, and has been for some time now. With that out of the way…on with the review.
What’s Captain America: Secret Empire about? From the publisher:
In Cap we trust! But as Steve Rogers ushers in the Secret Empire, what will this new order mean for Sam Wilson? Find out, as a crucial mission brings Sam back out from the shadows – and into the skies once more!
Captain America: Secret Empire collects Captain America: Steve Rogers #17-19 and Captain America: Sam Wilson #22-24.
Throughout this collection, readers are bounced in and out of the hands of two Captain Americas: Steve Rogers, and Sam Wilson. While this experience makes for an interesting reading experience, I found myself feeling frustrated as I wanted to get through one story before moving onto the next. The six issues collected in this graphic novel are–as I am sure you already know–only a small part of the much larger Secret Empire arc/event, so even though the issues collected here are well written and well illustrated, there is a certain feeling of incompleteness that looms over the book. The Captain America: Steve Rogers issues collected in Captain America: Secret Empire are frustrating to read in the sense that it is painful to see Cap heading up Hydra; it is painful to see my Captain acting like a tyrannical asshole…but I digress. The Captain America: Sam Wilson issues found in this collection aren’t nearly as frustrating to read, but the sense of incompleteness is far more apparent. Adding additional issues to this collection would combat this incompleteness, perhaps.
And one last point: Comic books should reflect the times not exploit them. The fact that “Not my Captain” is a thing (that I briefly referenced earlier) showcases Marvel’s attempt to exploit the politically charged climate, and I for one am far from pleased. But again, I digress.
Overall, the issues that are collected in Captain America: Secret Empire are well written and well illustrated. This collection leaves readers wanting more in both positive and negative ways. I’m unsure if there is going to be some sort of Secret Empire Master Collection (that’ll collect all, or at least a good majority of the issues making up this event), but if there is, I would save up and spring for that beast of a book before buying these smaller collections.