ABC hosted its final Secret Empire livestream Thursday to talk about the events of Secret Empire Omega and the aftermath of the series. Being gluttons for punishment, we watched it to hastily transcribe the comments of Marvel guests Tom Brevoort, Alanna Smith, and Nick Spencer.
Here are the highlights:
Brevoort, on how Secret Empire ended:
It turns out the reason cap was this way had to do with some shenanigans by the cosmic cube. […] Two guys punched and hit one another until good cap came out on top of bad cap.
Smith on the meeting of the two Steves in Secret Empire Omega:
At this point, Hydra Cap's still alive and around. This issue is basically our Steve breaking into the prison where he's being held to get some closure and some understanding. Metaphorically punching each other instead of literally punching each other. […] This is really the issue where they get to have the conversation that they didn't have time to have.
Spencer on that same topic:
When they faced off, they didn't get a real chance to have any kind of conversation. As soon as they saw each other the fight started. The whole world was watching that. This is our chance to have their value centers face off in this way instead of throwing punches, seeing the ways they are in fact very similar and the ways they're really different.
Spencer on how the ending wasn't just undoing everything with the cosmic cube:
Whenever you do a story that involves the cosmic cube, people have a tendency to say, 'well they're just manipulating reality.' The thing is here, the only thing Kobik did was manipulate Steve. Everything everyone else did, they did on their own. Delegating so much power to Steve, that was something they did of their own free will. Being willing to give someone like Steve an enormous amount of power. […] What you see Stevil here pointing out is 'I didn't force anyone to do those things. I may not have been honest about who I was, but these were things people did of their own volition.
Smith, on how Steve will try to see the bright side of being a Nazi:
I think to some extent there will be some of Steve grappling with the damage that was done. Ultimately, it was a good thing because people know not to blindly trust authority figures anymore.
Smith on Tales of Suspense, the new series first revealed on Bleeding Cool that will see Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier team up to figure out why enemies of the Black Widow are suddenly ending up dead:
She died on national TV, so who's out killing the people she wanted killed? […] Bucky doesn't think that it's here. Hawkeye definitely believes its her. […] A really great, slick espionage book.
Brevoort on the new (old) status quo for the X-Men following Secret Empire:
They had a moment where, at least some version, not exactly the perfect version of the dream they've always had, was there and has been snatched away again. Each of the X-Men and X-Men groups is gonna have to grapple: what does this mean for the future? […] Another iteration of The Man sticking it to the mutants again. […] The X-Men and mutantkind in general are kind of back to that eternal place that they're in of being the unwanted outsiders and having to deal with a world that hates and fears them.
Smith's favorite part of Secret Empire:
Secret Empire 10, when Bucky shrinks down and gets inside the cube and pulls our steve and kobik out.
Brevoort's favorite part (pissing off fans, natch):
Issue 1, that sort of comedic horror moment of Barf throwing up a Captain America lunchbox. It's a moment that seems like a bit of nonsense, but it turns out ultimately to be the key to the heroes turning things around a bunch of issues later. The fact that the character came back and was so important so made the right people unhappy and upset.
I think my favorite part was the Punisher reveal. That was our genuine biggest surprise. That was the thing nobody saw coming. I really enjoyed the fandom argument about whether or not Frank would do this and why he would do it. We had a stunning visual of that reveal of Frank by Andrea Sorrentino, that's my favorite reveal of the book. I'll give an honorable mention to the Hank Pym dinner party. That was a lot of fun to write.
Spencer on what to take away from the story (but it's not about modern politics, nope, says the guy who almost certainly bought ten copies of Hillary's book):
What Stevil really points out in the omega is that from now on everybody's gonna know that a huge part of the population was happy to go along with this. They were actually really comfortable with. They had Captain America as the proponent as the cover, but as far as what he asked them to do, they went along with it pretty easily. That's gonna be a really troubling legacy in the marvel universe.
Brevoort, on actually believing that fans are interested in super-mega-crossover events changing the Marvel Universe forever and nothing ever being the same again:
When we do most of the events, one of the things everybody wants to hear about is what changed? What's different in the Marvel universe? This is a little more subtle than what we've done in the past, but there's a sentiment among some of the people in the Marvel universe who would like to do things a different way. Good Steve has to grapple with this.
Spencer, on what he thinks his story says about fascism:
It's been a really interesting experience. When we had the previous issue come out and we ended on that big rousing happy ending with all the heroes standing there cheering, we heard from a lot of folks, that's it, it's all done. But these problems are all still there in front of them. Hydra Steve is still there and Hydra is in some ways stronger than ever. I felt it was very important when we're doing a story about fascism to not end it saying, 'well that's it, we've beaten it and it's gone forever.' I wanted to emphasize that this is the kind of fight that you have to keep fighting forever.
Brevoort, on future plans for Hydra Steve:
If we ended an issue with Steve Rogers trapped in a prison, your expectation would be next issue he's gonna find a way to get himself out. This guy is no different. He's no less skilled or capable or confident or able than our Steve is. The notions that he's gonna sit on the sidelines for any longer than he wants to is laughable. He's Captain America.
Spencer on ending his Captain America run:
It's tough. I'm really excited and very happy that we'e ending on a story that's very much focused on Sam and is all about a big moment of discovery and change for him. Sam has been the heart and soul of our story from the start. It's bittersweet. This has been a fantastic experience for me and huge honor to write these characters. I'm excited to be out there and put the punctuation mark on it.
Being excited for Nick Spencer's Captain America run to end (with Generations) is something we can probably all agree on.