Secret Empire #10 : A Review
“Our long, national nightmare is over.” – Gerald Ford, 8/9/1974
Of course, by using that quote, I could be referring to the story of Hydra taking over America using a leader that was once the paragon of American values. I could also be referring to a comics event that has been, from its inception, criticized for it’s lack of taste in corrupting an iconic hero. As I begin typing these words, I still have no idea of where I am going with this review. Nevertheless, let’s get started, and be warned, SPOILERS AHEAD.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colors: Matthew Wilson
Additional Art: Rod Reis, David Marquez, Paco Medina, Juan Velasco & Jesus Aburtov, Ron Lim
Cover Art: Mark Brooks
Can there be any redemption for Captain America as the SECRET EMPIRE starts to crumble?
I almost feel the need to review this cold and passionless, taking it on its own merits. However, it must be viewed in its context. This was a story about Captain America being corrupted by a sentient object that can rewrite reality. Then it became a race to gather the pieces of that object, which could be used to rewrite reality and fix everything including the corrupted Captain America. Like most bad comic books, it read almost like a video game, with a main quest broken up into smaller missions before fighting the big boss at the very end.
I don’t think on its own merits that this had to be a bad story, just because of Nazi Captain America. It could have been better if this had remained contained in the pages of Captain America and remained smaller in scale. Ultimately it comes down to Captain America fighting himself, but instead we get our resolution in Kobik repairing everything Nazi Cap rewrites with the Cosmic Cube. Unfortunately, one aspect still remains.
All of this happened.
I don’t mean in the meta sense, but within the story, everyone saw Hydra take over the country, set up camps, and heroes died. No explanation is given for who this Nazi Captain America was and why anyone should trust the man who now wears the familiar costume. Besides that man beating the crap out of the cruel dictator. Of course, the story throws a line that Kobik rewrote the history, but left the scars, which just seems confusing on the face of it. Apparently in between panels, the Generations event happens, making for more confusion.
We should not walk out of the conclusion of a story more confused than I started going in. This story is confusing. If history is rewritten, does anyone wonder why the Capitol was damaged? We see a funeral for a redheaded woman, which I assumed was Black Widow, since Hawkeye makes a vague mention of it earlier, but she’s seen among the damaged Las Vegas. Apparently people did die, does anyone wonder what Does anyone question why there were camps? I can only assume that there are memories, but without saying that they exist and are vague, we can only go by what is written on the page, and in trying to write poignant prose, Nick Spencer writes badly. He goes vague in his conclusion, focusing more on a battle that has elements borrowed from other creators.
The Civil War moment is echoed. Steve Rogers wields Thor’s hammer, Cap takes the shield from another Captain America that doesn’t deserve it. All this has been done before.
That’s the problem with these massive events, and the lesson of the 90’s that we’ve forgotten. By going big so often, you have to go bigger, but at some point you can’t go any bigger. and the big moments that you need lose their impact. All of this time, I thought that DC was the home where the worst aspects of the 90s came to recover, but that thinks of the 90s as a beast that exists on its own.. Its clear that it’s an infection that we never finished treating in order to kill it off. It’s infected Marvel very badly and I fear for the future of Marvel Comics the publisher and Marvel comics, the actual stories.
Rating: 3.0 (out of 10)