By Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuna, Rod Reis and Sean Izaakse
Things are looking very grim for our favorite Marvel heroes lately. With Hydra Steve killing off former friends and gathering more pieces of the cosmic cube, there may not be a worse time to be a good guy. If there is one thing we’ve learned though, it’s that we should never count out Tony Stark, and this issue brings us a slight glimmer of hope as the resistance forms a last ditch effort to disrupt what Hydra Steve has planned for the world.
Make no mistake, Nick Spencer has been getting plenty of heat for Secret Empire. Fans have sent death threats, sworn off of Marvel books and called him the nastiest names. Having said that, the event as a whole has been pretty enjoyable. Issue 8 is probably the biggest set up for the actual battle to come. Spencer breaks up the action between several different storylines, including street level heroes, the group in space with Carol Danvers and Tony and Sam’s crew. The most interesting of these stories is the one involving Sam and his team as they begin to act out their plan to attack Hydra Steve. Spencer shines in this section by giving us what we’ve been waiting to see: the good guys finally strike back. Spencer allows this issue to serve as the beginning of the end for Hydra Steve. We start to see the pieces fall into place, like the return of a hero thought dead, or an unlikely alliance. Spencer has kept Secret Empire tight and an up and down ride.
The pencils this issue are handled by Daniel Acuna, Rod Reis, Sean Izaakse and Java Tartaglia. The majority of the issue is drawn by Acuna, who has a very distinct style. The problem with this is that his style is very different from the other artists on the book. Reis, Izaakse and Tartaglia provide their talents to the beginning and end of the issue. These panels are very well drawn and colored, Reis’ work especially looks realistic. Acuna’s art is well drawn for the most part, there are some goofy face panels on some pages, but the problem lies with his colors. Acuna’s colors are very dark and vibrant, which is just different from the other artists on the title. Acuna’s best panels are ones that feature characters in action, like Namor emerging from the water or Quasar attacking. As a whole, the art is very good, but the gripe comes with the drastically different styles the artists have.
Secret Empire continues to entertain, and be one of the must read books from Marvel. Nick Spencer has a story that he’s been putting together for quite a while, and it shows. Nothing feels forced and things are progressing naturally this issue. The art is well done for the most part and has been top notch on this series all together. There may only be a couple of issue left of this series, but Secret Empire #8 is the issue that takes off the gloves and heads towards the finish line.