Secret Empires: Opening Salvo Prepares Readers For The Next Big Marvel Comics Storyline


Marvel sets its superheroes against Hydra and a twisted Captain America in the Secret Empires event, set to debut in April.

If you thought Marvel’s evil organizations of Hydra and A.I.M. were already too complicated, then you might want to take a seat while you contemplate the vastly confusing labyrinth of the Secret Empire.

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and published in 1966, the Secret Empire is a group of numbered people, run by a mysterious “Council of Nine”.

The group is fond of hiring mercenaries and running confusing covert operations that often turn out to be false flag affairs. They’ve drawn funding from Hydra to conduct these excursions, which include kidnapping the occasional mutant.

Secret Empire #0 preview (Image via Marvel)

At one point, they were headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Marvel writers even intimated that President Richard Nixon was a Secret Empire operative. Honestly, it’s hard not to see this after a you’ve thought of mediocre super villain Nixon.

Most recently, Marvel writers used the Secret Empire as a way to expose Captain America as a covert operative himself, a.k.a., a near-Nazi that walks about spouting phrases like “hail Hydra”. Twitter fairly exploded. Given the rise of nationalism, isolationism, and the alt-right (a.k.a., neo-Nazi politics), it was awkwardly-timed.

Excerpt from Captain America, Volume 4: The Iron Nail, 2014 (Image via Marvel)

Will Cap redeem himself?

Marvel promises that it will all make sense, but many readers have grown wary of the publisher’s motives. Likely, many of them hope that the upcoming Secret Empires event will explain more and redeem Cap himself. Hopefully, however, Marvel has assembled a strong enough cast of writers and artists to handle a very touchy storyline.

In any event, the nine-issue event will have its work cut out for it. The first issue, Secret Empire #0 will hit stores in mid-April. It will be preceded by Secret Empire: Opening Salvo, a collection of three issues that will set the stage for the main show. These include Captain America: Steve Rogers #16, Thunderbolts #12, and U.S. Avengers #5.

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Both Captain America and U.S. Avengers will focus on the new, confusing, and potentially terrifying Steve Rogers and his purported allegiances. Meanwhile, the Thunderbolts team will be dealing with their own Baron Zemo-related issues. It all promises to tie organically into the larger Secret Empires story. All three comics will be available on April 19.

Secret Empire #1 comes out May 3, three days before free comic books day on May 6. The entire run concludes in August.