As Bleeding Cool's resident "Secret Empire is actually pretty good" guy and as someone who was looking forward to the debut of the new Patriot, Rayshaun Lucas, I felt that it was necessary to review this comic.
Yes, it's over a week old now, but that doesn't mean that the material has automatically become stale and not worth talking about.
Going back to the Patriot thing: I was pretty excited to see Rayshaun take up the mantle of the Patriot, though I do miss the Patriot of the Young Avengers, Eli Bradley. I wish that character would make a return to some capacity, but I'm willing to give the new kid a chance.
I have been following Sam Wilson: Captain America, and I saw the first appearance of Rayshaun Lucas in this comic. He seemed like an interesting character — a young man with a lot of anger who still wants to see the world made a better place. The fact that his first appearance was him painting the mask of Rage on his face and throwing a Molotov cocktail at a bank was pretty shocking. However, he seems to have calmed down considerably since then.
Brave New World has been sort of the "tales from the Secret Empire" anthology type tie-in to Marvel's giant summer event. Admittedly, I haven't read the first issue, but given that it's an anthology series, I didn't think that it would be necessary. As it turns out, it really wasn't.
The first story of Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 is all about Rayshaun finally becoming the new Patriot. He sees a group of guys trying to strong-arm their way to the top of the civilian totem pole at Underground HQ, and Tony Stark offers to help his vision of the Patriot come to life. Rayshaun takes up the offer and, the new Patriot is born.
And then the second story is a random tale about Hydra Bob and a few other lackeys trying to arrest an Inhuman woman.
The final story is a continuation of the "Sanctuary" story, where the Torch and Toro attempted to find a place to hide out in Atlantis under their old pal Namor. The Sub-Mariner, for their troubles, locked them away in a dungeon. Well, a rebellion is taking place in the undersea kingdom, and Torch and Toro are able to escape. The two end up meeting the leader of this rebellion and are offered membership to it.
The first story, written by Rodney Barnes with art by Juan M. Frigeri and Erick Arciniega, is by far the best part. It has the young and strong-headed optimist Rayshaun taking up arms against oppression, even if it is on a small scale in this instance. It's a short but uplifting story that shows off the new hero, and it checks all the boxes of what it needed to do.
The second tale, written by Fabian Nicieza (yes, that Fabian Nicieza) and put to life by Will Robson and Tamra Bonvillain, is a desperate attempt at slapstick comedy that fails on almost every level. Hydra Bob is a pretty uninteresting comedy character to begin with. Of course, what can you expect when you're a spinoff character from the vile and unfunny Deadpool?
It doesn't help that this story attempts to make humor out of a bunch of Hydra agents attempting to arrest an Inhuman woman for being an Inhuman. You know, that whole racism thing the Secret Empire has going on? They succeed at catching her, by the way, so it doesn't really parody the idea so much as just try to make it seem funny. If it fell any flatter, it would be a member of the Great Lakes Avengers.
The last story is written by Paul Allor, drawn by Brian Level¸ and colored by Jordan Boyd. It's alright. I like seeing the ongoing mental breakdown Namor the Sub-Mariner is going through in regards to seeing one of his oldest friends turn out to be part of everything they ever fought against. It's actually pretty interesting.
Unfortunately, this whole affair is more like a snapshot of a story than an episode or chapter. Torch and Toro escape their cell, and that's really all that happens. There's nothing more to really talk about here. They meet the head of the rebellion (spoiler), Namora, but that's not even too big a shock reveal given the context.
Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 is half a good comic. The Patriot story was good, parts of the "Sanctuary" tale has good elements, but the rest is very disposable. I can't recommend the comic.
Even the Patriot tale may not be worthwhile if Marvel decides to do nothing with the character, and they haven't announced anything for him yet, so it's very possible they won't. Even if they do, there is a real chance his short story may be in a trade paperback later down the line. If they do that, buy that trade instead. Give Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 a pass.