Well, we are finally off on the road to the Secret Empire, the big Marvel summer event that fans will “enjoy.” And since a journey of 38 issues (including crossovers and tie-ins) has to start with a single step, let’s count this issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers #15 as the first one. Steve confronts the weakened Red Skull one last time (again…) to determine who is going to be the head of Hydra.
Told in flashbacks and Rogers’ narration, Rogers must solidify his position and take over Hydra now that the X-Men have recovered Charles Xavier’s brain from the Red Skull’s… skull (Comics!). The present day story is presented in contrast to the flashbacks when Rogers was forced to acknowledge Red Skull as the leader of Hydra after the fall of the Nazis.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who wins the fight in the present day since the events of this issue feed directly into Secret Empire #1 (or maybe #0).
Meanwhile, Sharon Carter, tired of waiting to hear from Steve, has launched S.H.I.E.L.D. forces to invade Sokovia, which is now being run openly by Hydra. The hope is they can gain control before hydra can launch nukes and takes out a bunch or European capitals.
I’m really struggling to find something I like about this issue. The flashbacks feel like filler, Nick Spencer’s (Bedlam, Ant Man) story line has taken ridiculous detours to get all the ducks lined up for Secret Empire, a cross over event I haven’t heard anybody excited about.
While I liked Javier Pina’s (Suicide Squad, Swamp Thing) work especially in the flashback scenes, Andres Guinaldo’s (Gotham City Sirens, Ninjak) lines for the S.H.I.E.L.D. scenes seems overworked and confused.
Well I guess we are all set for the Secret Empire. Hail Hydra?!?
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Javier Pina and Andres Guinaldo
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Cover: Gabriele Dell’Otto