SECRET EMPIRE #7
The last lingering future revelations from Civil War II comes to fruition in SECRET EMPIRE #7 from Marvel Comics. Writer Nick Spencer is pulling out all the stops as his epic event draws towards its final issue. The situation is dire. Captain Marvel is still stuck outside the planetary shield and her Alpha Flight space station is crumbing under the relentless Chitauri onslaught. Meanwhile Black Widow and the Champions are making their push to end the conflict in one fell stroke by killing Steve Rogers. All of these events are bringing Miles Morales closer and closer to the vision from Ulysses which saw him standing over Captain America’s body on the steps of the capitol.
This issue is dense with story and pay offs for clues that have been building for years. The first thing that must be said is that Nick Spencer restored honor and integrity to Carol Danvers in only three short pages. Her character took a huge hit in Civil War II, not due to poor plotting but rather horrid characterization and execution. In one quite moment she get to essentially speak directly to Marvel fans and explain her actions. It was well handled and beautifully drawn, this moment alone makes SECRET EMPIRE #7 a must read. Spencer also brings the last vision from Ulysses full circle with Miles confronting Cap on the Senate steps. After doing everything he could to avoid it the inevitable comes true in a powerful moment that sees the death of a major Marvel character. Again and again Spencer gives all of these characters true gravity with the ramification of their actions. Nothing feels forced or done just for the sake of spectacle and double page spreads. Every page of this issue is dense with plot and character and it is absolutely fantastic from cover to cover.
This issue would be flawless if not for a slight hiccup in the continuity of the art. The stunning art from Andrea Sorrentino is interrupted by fill in pages that really cause a break in the story. It would not be a big deal if the styles were similar but Sorrentino has such a unique presentation that the reversion to simpler pencils and formatting is incredibly jarring. However there is one splash page in particular depicting the fight between Black Widow and The Punisher that might just be the single greatest image from a Marvel book all year. SECRET EMPIRE continues to be the standard by which event books will be measured for years to come and Nick Spencer deserves so much credit for finally creating a story with real consequences and emotions. This is a must read!