Secret Empire #8
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Daniel Acuna, Rod Reis, Sean Izaakse, Java Tartaglia
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
In their darkest hour, the utterly defeated heroes of the Marvel Universe find the inspiration to continue fighting against abysmal odds in Sam Wilson, as he once more raises that iconic shield and reclaims the title of Captain America.
What you need to know:
The Tony Stark A.I. comes up with a plan to use the Resistance’s one remaining shard of the Cosmic Cube to free New York City from its captivity under the dome of Darkforce created by the super villain, Blackout. Currently, the Defenders, Dr. Strange, the X-Men Gold Team, Spider-Woman, Cloak and Dagger, and, in an attempt to secure his own rise to power following the inevitable “dark days” of New York, former Kingpin of Crime, Wilson Fisk, have been desperately fighting against the evil forces trapped with the innocent citizens of Manhattan under the dome.
Meanwhile, most of the other shards of the Cosmic Cube have been reclaimed by the other Captain America (Steve Rogers) and the forces of Hydra. Apparently, the Sovereign Mutant Nation of New Tian has surrendered their fragment of the cube and Black Panther has been captured and his fragment claimed.
Trapped beyond a protective force field surrounding Earth, Star Lord, Groot and Rocket of the Guardians of the Galaxy have given up on planet hopping in search of allies against wave after wave of attempted Chitauri Invasions of Earth. Hydra has hidden a cluster of Chitauri eggs on Earth’s surface, beneath the force field, to manipulate them into attacking the Alpha Flight Space Station commanded by Captain Marvel.
And in trapped within an alternate reality dreamscape, a bearded and amnesiac Steve Rogers finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into despair.
What you’ll find out:
We open with a small plot point that could amount to something big at the end of the series: Giant Man and Rayshaun Lucas are planting a time machine that will, once the force field and darkforce globe have dissipated, travel back in time and warn against Steve Roger’s betrayal in become Supreme Ruler of Hydra.
Captain America (Sam Wilson) broadcasts a message of hope to the United States, revealing his plan to use the last remaining shard of the Cosmic Cube in the possession of the Resistance to work in conjunction with the heroes to free New York City and the Earth before gathering any remaining fragments in a last ditch effort to reshape reality. (Side Note: I honestly feel that if this had been the first time that Sam Wilson ever raised the shield and became Captain America? This issue would be an instant classic.)
United under Wilson’s leadership, the heroes plan to fight back. Doctor Strange presents his strategy to free New York City from the Darkforce Dome, as the Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star Lord, Groot and Rocket present their plan to destroy the force field: a Nullifier Bomb that would “make Galactus piss himself.”
Oh! And the jokes return! A couple of Ghostbusters references, one I totally get about the Cosmic Cube and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and another involving two gross monsters and… no way Nick Spencer just ripped on Leslie Jones??? I didn’t get it. Maybe they meant the two dogs at the end of the OG Ghostbusters? IDK. But, there is a light heartedness that returns to our heroes in this issue as they finally feel hopeful. The dad jokes have been sorely missed.
And, as fast as hope seemed to finally rise amongst the heroes, it is dashed away even more quickly. Captain America is shot down by Hydra soldiers, plunging him deep into the ocean to die, similarly to the predicament that amnesiac Steve Rogers is experiencing in the dream like reality in which he is trapped. Doctor Strange’s spell fails to free New York. The Guardians’ bomb fails to break the Force Field surrounding Earth.
Captain America is sinking further into the ocean towards his demise.
I don’t want to give away too much here, because spoilers would really ruin the experience. There is so much payoff in this issue. Nick Spencer really plays tug of war with your heart. Just when you think everything might turn out okay, all hope is seemingly torn away once more, only to restore it again. If Disney and Marvel are truly planning on steering away from their alleged “Marvel SJW” agenda going forward from Secret Empire? Like the politics or not, this is a hell of a sendoff to that era.