Hydra has fallen, but the world is not secure! As the heroes of the Marvel Universe stir from the wreckage of the battlefield, the inevitable rebuilding must begin. One big question hangs in the air over the proceedings: What redemption can there be for Captain America?
This is it (hopefully), the final nail in the coffin that is writer Nick Spencer‘s uneven, poorly thought out, millimeter deep Marvel event, Secret Empire. Secret Empire: Omega picks up after the finale that saw Steve Rogers “return” to defeat Hydra Steve Rogers. And while this epilogue is at times self aware, it also at times falls short of reality playing with grand generaliztions and of course setting up a future that feels like a repeat of the past.
The story, as shouldn’t be a surprise, sees “good” Steve Rogers confront is incarcerated “bad” Steve Rogers where the two spar verbally back and forth and lay out their vision of the world. This seems familiar as Spencer has done this exact same thing before when he wrote Civil War II: The Oath. It’s clearly on purpose, but can’t help solidify that Spencer has a habit of just reworking what’s come before instead of paving his own new path and narrative (similarities between Secret Empire and Secret Invasion are many for instance).
There’s some good here in that it does a decent job of establishing the status quo that faces many of these characters, especially Captain America, as it is questioned if and how they can recover from this mistrust. Some characters who were declared “dead” are indeed not (at least we’re lead to believe that), shocker, and we’re taken through some of the rebuilding and fallout.
The bad is how easily Spencer and Marvel feel like they’re brushing off the fact the majority of the country fell in line with Nazis (and in one image from Andrea Sorrentino it is impossible for Marvel to claim Hydra is anything but). A double page spread mixes the Nazi Luftwaffe with Hydra. We also get some simplistic worldviews of “I’m good and you’re bad” from each of the main characters. Finally Spencer again doesn’t explore his concepts enough, an issue that has plagued the event. The concept of “fake news” and worldviews is explored in discussion but what that means and its reflection on the real world is barely explored. It just comes down to “some believe the Nazi/Hydra world is the real one and will now fight harder.” It’s not explained why, how this will be perpetuated, or how it touches upon the misinformation that permeates our every day lives. It’s wide in ideas and thin in the exploration and common issue with a lot of Spencer’s work.
Sorrentino’s art is amazing though and that’s the draw here. What is a “talky” issue that features a debate, the flow of the page and layouts are absolutely amazing. Sorrentino is easily one of Marvel’s top art talents and one of the best out there for comics as a whole. While I found myself bored and unchallenged by the writing, the art is enthralling and memorizing. It’s unknown who came up with the artistic choices but Sorrentino’s art is the draw here, no pun intended.
Hopefully this is the end of Spencer’s guiding hand and we can see other writers pick up the themes and concept he’s laid out and run with them in a way that does them justice. The damage has been done and Secret Empire: Omega shifts things towards the healing but in the end gives us a story that’s “sound and fury signifying nothing.”
Story: Nick Spencer Art: Andrea Sorrentino Cover Art: Mark Brooks, Michael Cho
Story: 5.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review