Superhero event comics are a funny thing. Even the best writers often struggle to wrangle these unwieldy beasts and deliver a compelling, artfully crafted story. Only a handful of writers at Marvel really seem to have the trick down. Luckily, Nick Spencer is among them. Spencer already defied the odds once with last year’s Avengers Standoff crossover, and he seems poised to recreate that magic with Secret Empire.
With Captain America: Steve Rogers and Secret Empire #0 getting most of the setup for this event out of the way, Spencer and artist Steve McNiven are free to hit the ground running as the story officially begins here. In fact, the creators make the unexpected choice to jump ahead several months after the events of Secret Empire #0, to a time when Hydra has already settled into its new role as America’s ruling power. So the question is no longer whether the Avengers can beat back Hydra’s takeover, but how they can hope to topple this new world order. And with only a scattered few heroes remaining in the wake of Hydra’s multi-pronged strike, the odds certainly aren’t looking good.