As you might have read my previous article, Secret Empire #0 review you might have noticed that I was quite happy with how things turned out. Unfortunately, Secret Empire #1 did not follow on that great momentum and there are quite a few points to that.
Captain America has succeeded in bringing the world to its knees with his amazingly elaborate plan and everything seems to be working fine for him, if you exclude the demons he is fighting inside. It’s been a few months already since Captain’s betrayal and everything seems to be… working fine. Which is the point number one of my disappointment. A country is suffering from a hostile takeover but it’s quite weird that within a couple of months schools already are singing anthems and everyone is staying quiet like the world’s most kind and great hero didn’t just turn all Nazi.
From the previous volume of the series, we can see that Steve Rogers is explaining how people turned from loving the heroes to hating them. A big reason for that is the fact that they fight between them quite often these past few years. There is destruction, loss, deaths and usually, it’s not the heroes who pay the price, it’s the people. Having said that the start of Secret Empire #1 reveals how HYDRA with the lead of Captain America handles situations from now on. At the very start, we see a dinosaur looking, intelligent monster roaming the city of New York where Captain America where he asks it to stop and return back from where it came from. Of course, the ending is something that we expected from this turned bad Captain America. There is no forgiveness, there is no remorse. He calls the Avengers and they murder the creature with a flick of his fingers. No mess, no innocent deaths, no money from the pockets of simple people. We also see the crime rates drop, the Stocks are going up, Jobs are plentiful.
But my question is this. Is that enough of a reason for people to be contempt? Is having more money a good enough reason for a country to accept it’s fate on their hands of Hitler Captain America?
On the other hand, we are seeing the struggles of Captain America handling “business” as the Head of Hydra which for most of the part it seems to be decision making while having meetings with people that want to destroy everyone and everything but Captain America is not a simple Hydra agent. Steve is seeing a vision of a Hydra of the purest form something that is highly different from what his new team members have in mind and that they think of as a weakness. He might look bored at those discussions but that’s not true. He hates them. He hates the fascist way the “new” modern HYDRA thinks and operates.
Here, even within the cesspit Captain America has fallen, we see a glimpse of hope. A hope that the Captain America we know and love is somewhere deep inside this creature that has taken over. His discussions with Sharon gives us a slight hope that things is not that bad and that they could change. There is still room for forgiveness for what he did and Rick Jones proves that theory too. He knows that Steve Rogers is not a bad person and that he will fight this and come back as he always does. Everything is forgivable until this point.
Under the pressure, he receives from the board and the manipulation of Madam Hydra, Captain America orders the execution of the closest friend of the Avengers and so many more superheroes. Rick Jones a true believer till the end, is executed by order of Cap. I couldn’t help but gasp for air when the firing squad pressed the trigger. Seeing how things were evolving one thing I was certain for. There is no forgiveness anymore. There is nothing left inside this man than what Kubik built. Cap is gone.
On the other side, we are seeing the Resistance which is Spencer chose correctly to be lead by our guy Hawkey who was out of every battle we saw in our previous volume, as well as Black Widow and The Champions that I found as a clever addition. With them there is Ant-Man, Giant-Man and the Drunk AI Iron Man which gives a greater gloom on the whole situation.
As previously said no one believed that Captain America is truly a Hydra agent, obviously. Thus the numerous attempts of rescuing him from the brainwash they thought he was under. After all he is… was their best friend. What we currently now, of course, is that Captain America was not brainwashed, in all regards Kubik erased his entire past and created a new one. He is not brainwashed but truly the Steve Rogers we all knew, never existed.
One of the things I always thought whenever I was seeing or reading something that contained a resistance force is that the resistance is based on Hope but seeing the resistance Spencer added I don’t exactly see it. They have no hope for something better. Their hope was pretty much destroyed along the attempts they did to save Captain America.
Also, it’s quite clear that even though they believe they are in hiding and that their hideout is secret from the almighty, all-seeing Hydra, we get the feeling that Steve Rogers knew exactly where they are all along.
Not to mention the hit of Las Vegas that is on the heads of the “Resistance”.
Overall the art of Secret Empire #1 seems quite dull and we do not see the same face expressions that we would expect and certainly lacks the overwhelming power that #0 had. The story has quite a few gaps but if you are willing to overlook those it’s still an above average comic book. Hopefully, the second volume of the series will follow where #0 left off and not exactly where first volume left us.