A look through this week's Secret Empire tie-ins to see which are essential to your Hydra experience and which are mere frippery that you can knock along well without. The more Imperial importance they contain, the more Hydra Heads we give them.
So how do they stack up?
Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 may be the most of the lot, with the Birth Of Patriot by Rodney Barnes, Juan M Frigeri and Erik Arciniega, as it takes the character Rayshauni as seen in Captain America and Secret Empire #1, takes that notebook of his…
…and turns him into a new superhero with an old name, The Patriot. With Tony Stark AI putting together a new suit and new tech (you know, like Spider-Man: Homecoming)….
With the prominence of the character at the beginning, there has to be some payoff at the end, and here you get to see him in action for the first time.
The other stories, The Invaders by Paul Allor, Brian Level and Jordan Boyd, just keeps Namor bubbling under (and seemingly contradicts his appearance at the end of the most recent Secret Empire)
While Hydra Bob by Fabian Nicieza, Will Robson and Tamra Bonvillain does a storming job of bringing back the comedy Hydra everyday henchman character and reminds you that Hydra works for laughs as well as being a stand-in for imminent fascist takeover.
Even if the implications of the story are basically that he's sending innocent people off to their possible deaths. The plot may be irrelevant to the ongoing story but the themes and concepts are bang on. Combined with Patriot, this gets a high Hydra head mark…
Doctor Strange #22 by Dennis Hopeless and Niko Henrichon is, basically, an Inferno crossover set amongst people who seem to have forgotten the Inferno crossover ever happened. Maybe after Secret Wars, it didn't. But we get more hijinks in the Darkforce dimension pocket currently keeping Manhattan tightly locked away and playing havoc with the wi-fi.
But we do get this nugget which, if nothing else, confirms that Captain America is, at the very least, a nice Nazi.
That probably adds another head…
USAvengers #7 sees what's happening in France and finds plenty of Hydra embedding down there as well. All of whom might as well be Agent Bobs. And who a) speak French and b) seemingly have taken over part of Paris – though that isn't explained at all. Though as well as learning what Squirrel Girl is in French…
We also get the return of a dead guy, and a bunch of European characters who you'd forgotten about. Which means, yes, with artists Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Jesus Abertov, Al Ewing gets to write Captain Britain again. With the Technet appearing in Rocket, his plan is oh so clear…
Al Ewing's other title out today, Ultimates2 #8 is also a Secret Empire tie-in judging by the cover.
But that's all. There is no reference whatsoever, though it does manage to crossover with Fantastic Four comics of old. Remember the origin of Galactus?
Well, Al Ewing, Aud Koch and Dan Brown get to tell their own version, pulling bits and pieces of established lore and making Galactus their own…
But no Hydra Heads! Just Galactus heads! Of which there are many!
While Secret Empire: Underground #1 by Jeremy Whitely, Eric Koda and Antonio Fabela just plays the quest aspect of the story, with very little actual relevance to the whole affair aside from a Cosmic Cube crystal chase through the Savage Land.
With some excellent Hercules attitude to the whole thing. A lot of fun, a little Secret Empire… which may be just how you like it!
What's your empirical take then?