This whole event is going to be controversial. This issue in particular will be controversial, and certainly there are aspects and plot elements that will be up for a great deal of discussion – but for the purposes of this article, this will just present a review of the comic itself.
I won't discuss spoilers for the issue, nor the wisdom of writing a character created by Jewish men to fight Nazis as a secret Hydra agent, nor if any of the things in this issue are ethically good or bad. I'm just going to say if this issue is good or bad.
And actually, it's very good.
The set up scene in the beginning sets up a huge idea (which we've mentioned before and I daresay will be discussed in great detail elsewhere) which is a great way to start an event series. Start with a huge revelation or inciting incident that really cracks the whole universe asunder.
The story by Nick Spencer then gradually builds as the heroes of the Marvel Universe find themselves split in many directions through the secret machinations of Steve Rogers himself, the man they trust the most. There's something to be said for how Spencer writes the issue. It's clear he revels in the final reveal of many of the plans set in motion throughout the Steve Rogers: Captain America series. It's fun to see in a perverse way, as we finally get resolution on these various threads.
The action is there. The emotion is there. The pacing is perfect. Ignoring the controversy surrounding the series, this issue is actually a damn good comic.
The art by Daniel Acuña and Rod Reis is fantastic, for the most part. There are a couple of panels where Steve's face is steeped in shadow, but the shadowing is so blocky it looks a little out of place with the rest of the artwork. And it happens several times. However, this is a minor nit-picky thing, because the art is generally so great that is the level of fine-tooth combing needed to find any fault.
As a whole, this is an incredible first issue to an event. It just remains to be seen if it will be enough to change the minds of those angered by the content in the story leading up to this.
Secret Empire #0 is released April 19, 2017.