By Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuña, and Rod Reis
If you’re a Marvel fanboy, then you know the pain of event fatigue. It seems like as soon as one event ends, another begins. It was recently announced that the pumping out of events was going to stop, but not before the finale of Secret Empire. This has been an event in the making for a while, similar to Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars. Nick Spencer has been building toward this ever since his first shocking issue of Captain America Steve Rogers. As we look at issue #0, things start to fall into place and the Captain America we know, is no longer the Captain America we love.
For any regular reader of Spencer’s Cap series, this won’t have much of a different feel, but it does give off higher stakes. The first few pages are a flashback to 1945 and shows what Steve believes happened to his memories. Spencer leaves us with an interesting question of what is real and what isn’t. Who should the readers believe? Steve Rogers or everyone else? From there we move into the present day story. Spencer again reminds us what a brilliant tactician Steve is as he unleashes a three phased plan to cripple many of earth’s heroes. There are some potential fatalities in the Chitari attack and some gut wrenching moments when longtime friends realize what is happening. Everything in this issue flows wonderfully as Spencer is clearly comfortable writing all the major players in the event. For a setup issue, this was pretty amazing.
The pencils for the prologue were handled by Rod Reis and Daniel Acuña takes over pencils and color duties in the story. First and foremost, it needs to be said that Rod Reis’ art in the first couple of pages looks amazing. His work looks about as good as Alex Ross’ stuff, which is blasphemous to say, but he does an outstanding job here. Reis’ work looks about as realistic as any comic you’ll read in a long time. Daniel Acuña pust out some pretty good work this issue as well. One thing that has dogged Acuña in his work has been that sometimes his colors are a bit too vibrant and neon; that is not the case here. His colors are toned down and very earthy as shown, oddly enough, in the outer space fight. The action sequences look nice, seeing Jessica Jones grab Nitro by the throat is a highlight. Overall, Acuña turns in a very good performance on the art duties. Although there was only a brief cameo this issue from Rod Reis, his work was memorable and will leave a wonderful lasting impression.
Usually zero issues are very uneventful, but that’s not the case with Secret Empire. Nick Spencer builds off of his Captain America run with ease and the story progression feels legitimate and not forced. The art couldn’t have been better by Acuña and Reis. Secret Empire will wipe away your event fatigue with its intriguing story and excellent art!