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Saturday, February 11, 2017 

Secret Empire looks to be one of Marvel's worst crossovers

ABC News sugarcoats Marvel's upcoming political crossover, Secret Empire, allegedly their last lurch into ultra-leftist territory for the meantime, but it'd be ill-advised to think they'll cut out their act forever. For now, who's the assigned writer? None other than Nick Spencer:
After the events of "Civil War 2," the Marvel Universe's biggest and brightest superheroes are reeling at best. Things are about to get a lot worse.
Pardon me, ABC, but they already did, over 2 decades ago, and there's no telling if the situation will improve. Mainly because the press won't call Marvel out on any of their grave mistakes.
Bruce Banner (Incredible Hulk) and James Rhodes (War Machine) are lost and the incomparable Tony Stark is in some kind of coma, passing off the mantle of Iron Man to Riri Williams. All while superheroes like Captain Marvel will have to deal with the repercussions of their actions in the series, which rolled out late last year.
And we're supposed to appreciate that why? Yes, why are we supposed to be excited about a story drawing from another one where stars we liked were killed, villified or put in pointless limbo?
It's kind of a mess and that's where Captain America steps in. Everything changed last May for the formerly squeaky clean icon when it was revealed he was actually a Hydra agent, the nefarious underworld organization he had been fighting against for the last 70 years.
And why are we supposed to admire a news network that makes it sound like Cap's a real life person? They sure don't seem to raise any objections or distaste for Spencer's revolting story, that, even if its premise establishes that Steve was brainwashed, has still proven extremely repellent and unreadable, much like the Marvel Knights series from the early 2000s. But they're right about one thing: it's a mess, and not just kind of. It's totally so.
With this Earth-shattering news still fresh in the beleaguered minds of die-hard Cap fans, the question is where do they go from here? Enter Marvel's new series "Secret Empire," where everything is about to change, not just for Captain America, but for absolutely every hero in the Marvel Universe.
Excuse me, but it already changed, in many of the worst ways possible, and whether or not it changes back here, I've got a feeling we still won't want to bother reading to find out. They proceed to interview Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso, who tell the following:
After Steve Rogers had his super soldier serum neutralized a few years back, he could no longer be Captain America. Sam Wilson, the Falcon and Steve's best friend, stepped in until a character named Kobik, a living cosmic cube, used its powers to bring him back, with one unknown caveat.

"Unbeknownst to anybody but the readers, when Kobik did this thing to Cap, she had been influenced by the Red Skull [his archenemy dating back to WWII]," Brevoort explained to ABC News. "She didn't just restore Steve, but changed his history, so that he had been a Hydra operative and true believer going back to his earliest days as a young man in the 1920's and 1930's."
And we're supposed to be impressed? Sorry, no sale. Not clear from this is that Sam continued in the Cap role even as a new - and truly awful - series was launched for Steve simultaneously. And readers didn't know about these changes all at once, until the second issue, which was apparently set up to troll the audience.
When that was revealed in "Captain America: Steve Rogers #1," everyone lost their minds. Even the actor Chris Evans, who plays Cap in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, tweeted his confusion and frustration. "Hydra?!?!? #sayitaintso," he wrote.

"It's a pretty juicy turn of events," Brevoort said. "This character, who is the most respected, the moral compass of the Marvel Universe ... is secretly a viper in the nest?!"
I fail to see what he thinks is so great about their creepy little venture. Judging from sales receipts, it's clear plenty of other people didn't either.
Fast forward to a post "Civil War 2" universe and, while the readers know, those in the Marvel Universe are blissfully unaware of Cap's true motives and ties. But, that's all about to change.

"Every time there's a scene with Steve Rogers, it takes on two levels of meaning," Brevoort added. "There's the surface of whatever's going on, whatever bad guy Cap and Spider-Man are punching and there's this secondary level, like what's he really doing? 'OMG, Spidey, be careful, that guy's actually a bad guy!'"
He makes it sound like Cap and Spidey will clash with each other. Which is pretty unappealing when they stuff the tale with heavy-handed leftist politics.
This highly-anticipated series -- written by Nick Spencer, with cover art by Mark Brooks and rotating interior art by Steve McNiven, Andrea Sorrentino, Daniel Acuña, and Leinil Francis Yu -- will be the culmination and unresolved turn of events from that shocking story, Brevoort explains. But like all Marvel books, there's no guarantee it will be wrapped up in any "neat, tidy bow" for the readers after its 9-issue run.
I think the only people anticipating this latest embarrassment are the publishers themselves. With such pretentious staffers helming the mess, of course it won't be wrapped up neatly.
"Steve has been kind of lining his dominoes up around the Marvel Universe to be able to make his move and bring about a Hydra revolution, a takeover," Brevoort said. "At the point of 'Secret Empire,' they are ready to go. That's the moment we hit as we go in."

Cap will be unmasked as a Hydra agent pretty early on.

"His plans and Hydra's plans will have begun to unfurl," Brevoort continued. "We are done with the covert portion, the buildup portion of the program, 'Secret Empire' is the pyrotechnics, the big Michael Bay blockbuster, huge colossal struggles and battles across the Marvel Universe, with all of our key characters and players taking on a big role."

In issue #0 (April), it's effectively, as Brevoort puts it, "the worst day of the Marvel Universe."
As it's been for a long time, no thanks to such phonies. And once more, they're making the mistake of making the comic look more like a movie instead of its own medium.
"Where not one, not two, but three separate events break out all at once. Cap, as head of S.H.I.E.L.D., is able to mobilize forces to all three of those situations. And those three situations represent Hydra's first move. It comes off the blocks explosively right from the get-go," he added.
By issue #1 (May), the Marvel world knows who Rogers really is.

"If you are going into this story not knowing how it's going to go, yeah you should have some misgiving about [a happy ending], because it's a really ridiculously awful situation he is in," Brevoort said. "It might not all be fine."

All the characters close to Cap will be touched by this, but the Marvel masterminds stress that "everyone" will be affected by this.
See, this is another problem: as with many of these crossovers, they design the story as one that affects everybody across the board, rather than something organic that affects only a handful at a time. Because division and upset feelings is all that matters, all the time. Towards the end, they say:
What the team at Marvel wants out of this conflict is a newly united universe once again, something fans haven't seen in quite some time.

"We've just come off of 'Civil War 2' and 'Inhumans vs. X-Men,' two big, dark events that had heroes fighting against heroes, over somewhat defensible positions. This is very much more an old school story. You will know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. This is not heroes fighting heroes, this is heroes fighting a bad guy," Alonso said.

He continued, "We saw this moment as our chance to rally the entire Marvel Universe, which has been fragmented of late."
But it's not necessarily their chance to regain the audience they drove away. What if that bad guy happens to be Steve Rogers? For now, it's clear he begins as a baddie, in a manner of speaking, and that could continue at least halfway through the contrived premise. If Brevoort and Alonso are still going to be running the store, why should anybody trust them? Left-wing politics could still continue, and the Spider-marriage could still remain unrestored, so why are we supposed to believe anything they say? Any sane company executive at Marvel would've let these charlatans go from their positions long ago, and it's clear they're still remaining for a long time, which'll make it additionally difficult to ever forgive them.

The lesson in the end is that, no matter what their intentions with this miniseries, that still doesn't mean any sane audience should buy the book, because doing so only sends a message that the audience is willing to excuse the bad company staff who've caused all this damage for many years now. Brevoort, Alonso and Joe Quesada alone are reason enough to avoid their modern output.

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