A full preview copy of Secret Empire #0 by Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuna and Rod Reis was made available by Marvel to comic book retailers earlier today. The FOC date for Secret Empire #0 has been pushed to March 27th. The comic comes out on April 19th. The release is to encourage retailers to increase their orders based on what they read.
There will no doubt be spoilers. The four weeks separation will ensure that.
After flicking through a copy, I have to say that, yes, I rather enjoyed it. I've been enjoying the current Captain America runs, with Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson books telling different complimentary tales, one of the insidious attraction of fascism, the other the inevitable drive to anarchy.
And in Secret Empire, we see, through the death of a thousand cuts, how a democratic republic falls from within to a fascist interloper within. How human weakness, expressed through recent issues, leads to this conclusion. And how it all neatly fits together drawn and assembled with a deft hand.
So here's a spoiler. One spoiler. That I hope will tease rather than spoil. Intrigue, be something to think about and chew over. and maybe even increase interest. I know my interest was piqued after encountering it.
We know that Kobik, the Cosmic Cube made human, changed Steve Rogers to make him happier, but her experience with the Red Skull convinced her that making him an agent of Hydra was the way to do that. And rather than just change his brain, she changed reality. Things happened in a different fashion. Captain America, Steve Rogers, was always a sleeper agent of Hydra since a young boy. And in Secret Empire #0, we understand how that was literally.
As it is revealed that the Marvel Universe naturally has Hydra at its head. That it was only the Allies using the Cosmic Cube that saw them change reality so that the Allies won and not Hitler.
It's a rather wonderful take on the classic "what if" trope, "What if Hitler won the war?". Secret Empire has it that he did win. And Hydra ran his coattails. That the Marvel Universe is just "what if Hitler didn't win the war"?
And so the Captain America of then is hidden in a spiritual fashion, sleeping, ready to emerge when Kobik woill one day remake Captain America and make what happens in the past possible, and then restoring him with all his memories of both versions of himself, but now, and forever, the Hydra version of Captain America. The snake eats its own tail. Cause and effect and reversed. And a perfect loop is drawn.
What happens now is yours to discover. But damn, I thought that was good.