SECRET EMPIRE #8
The heroes rise to finally strike back at Hydra in SECRET EMPIRE #8 from Marvel Comics. Nick Spencer brings everyone down to their lowest point before the turn of the tide as the planet shield and the dark shield over New York both finally fall. All three groups have their backs pressed against the wall. Captain Marvel attempts to crash the Alpha Flight station to collapse the shield and fails, Sam Wilson attempts to fly a cosmic cube shard close enough to the shield to make it fall and gets show down, and Dr. Strange gives up everything he holds dear in one last attempt to free New York. When everything seems lost hope wins out as those who were lost come back to save the day. With New York free and the planet shield down its time to mount a united front and strike back and the heart of Hydra.
SECRET EMPIRE has been rolling along without a stumble since the very first issue so I guess it was inevitable that it would eventually stumble. SECRET EMPIRE #8 is not bad by any stretch of the imagination but it is definitely the low point of the series so far. All three driving plot threads end in failure which works well to bring moral down to its lowest but then the surprise victories that reverse the trend seem to come out of nowhere. I am not reading the tie in comics so if these threads started in auxiliary titles that could explain it but I feel that is sort of cheating when it comes to story telling. In the end this issue felt like a giant build up to nothing followed by a win out of nowhere which makes me feel the only forward movement in the narrative happens over the last few pages. The return of a Marvel mainstay is a welcome one only to be countered by the return of Kobik as well and I don’t anyone was missing her too much.
The interior art from Daniel Acuna feels rushed and a rather large step down in quality from the high bar set by Andrea Sorrentino. Again, it is not bad but the dip in quality is rather evident. Look, I am being a bit harsh on this one particular installment in the series but only because it has been so fantastic up until now. Obviously this is not an issue to skip as anyone who has stuck around this long is in it until the end but I am hoping for a strong finish. SECRET EMPIRE #8 is another must read but maybe it can sit a little lower in your pile this week.