Following up on his declaration that Twitter, a social media platform where he has contributed more than 31,000 posts as of this writing, is "very ****ing bad" because of its backlash against his magnum opus, Secret Empire…
been seeing & hearing from a lot of shop owners that the twitter rage does NOT reflect what they're seeing in their stores.
— Marco Lazic (@mlazic) May 3, 2017
…superstar writer Nick Spencer made a bold claim:
Established fact? Spencer is out to prove the internet wrong? A lofty goal! How will he do it?!
We don't have sales numbers for Secret Empire #1, or even last month's #0, but we do know that, in March, Captain America: Steve Rogers, the book which has been setting up the Secret Empire story, was ranked at #48 in unit sales according to Comichron, selling less copies than books such as Man-Thing, Nightwing, and Super Sons. Though April's sales charts are not available from Diamond yet, Bleeding Cool's Best Seller list ranked Secret Empire #0 at number 4, behind Batman, All-Star Batman, and Superman. Civil War 2 #0, for comparison, ranked number 2 in Diamond's charts last year, and was widely viewed as having anemic sales as far as Marvel super-mega-crossover events go, leading into a sales slump for Marvel in the fall. Even Civil War 2 #1 took the top spot on the charts for Marvel when it debuted last year, so we have to assume anything less than that for Secret Empire #1 will be highly disappointing.
For Secret Empire to prove the internet wrong with sales numbers, it will not only have to snag the top spot with the first issue of its main series, but it will need to have staying power and show strong sales of its tie-in books too. But we won't know about that until May's numbers are released in June, so we can be fairly certain that it won't be sales that turn Spencer's theory on Twitter being disproportionately negative toward Secret Empire compared to the real world into "established fact" anytime soon.
So what else could Spencer hope will offer proof that he's right?
Perhaps the answer is in the reviews Spencer has been tweeting today. With the first from a very special reviewer, esteemed comics luminary Sir Robert Liefeld:
High praise! But what do critics have to say? Spencer was sure to retweet some longer form reviews as well.
We Got This Covered, who gave the comic a 10 out of 10, which ranks it as a Watchmen level classic, said, "In an age where there are far too many comic book events, Secret Empire #1 stands as the masterclass in how to do it right."
"To return to that Star Wars analogy, is this how the world would have reacted had the prequels come first, and had we actually cared about Anakin Skywalker's fall? Would the world have burned with rage and fury against George Lucas just as it has done against Nick Spencer?"
Comicsverse, who gave Secret Empire #1 a 98 out of 100, said, "Steve McNiven's artwork is gorgeous. The story has nuance, dark humor, brilliant commentary, and it is as timely as ever," adding later, "The political commentary was dead on."
Adventures in Poor Taste was far more critical of Spencer's masterpiece, giving it just a 9 out of 10. "This series is starting to give me House of M vibes in the best possible way," the site proclaims, which we assume is meant to be a compliment. Their one complaint: "Where we go from here is a big question. A character dies, an intro of Hydra America is revealed, but it ends nearly where it begins."
Over at Comics The Gathering, who also panned the event with an insultingly low 9 our of 10, they wrote, "Captain America's hydra has taken over the Marvel line and you should not miss out. Marvel and Nick Spencer may actually deliver a fantastic event from beginning to end. What a breath of fresh air."
ComicsBeat was perhaps the most critical of Secret Empire, giving the book a borderline slanderous 8 out of 10, though Spencer still retweeted it. "Nobody is reading this…right?" The Beat's review read. "Great because I have a huge confession to make; I loved the idea of Steve Rogers being secretly Hydra right from page one."
"There are so many aspects of Secret Empire #1 worth celebrating that I can't possibly bring them all to your attention in the short time I have to write about this here," the review continues.
Sure, Spencer may have left one or two reviews out of his retweeting. There was Graphic Policy's 5 out of 10 review, which says, "The first issue of Secret Empire makes the case that we should accept our fascist overlords, they'll make the trains run on time with job programs and efficiency, just overlook the whole extermination and death camps aspect. Just the story comics needs today…."
And there was this one review, two words only…
You can't print that!
In any case, there are always going to be some exceptions that prove the rule, but if we throw those out and just quote the reviews Spencer tweeted, that's an average review of 9.16 out of 10 (9.3 if you count Liefeld's review as 10 out of 10, and 9.4 if you count it twice, which you should because he's Rob Liefeld). That is certainly high praise. Twenty years from now, when Nick Spencer is this generation's Alan Moore, Twitter will be sorry it was so mean to him back in the day.