Looking back at SECRET EMPIRE

A little time and distance–and the fact that I just got around to reading the final issue–have, I hope, lent greater clarity to my appraisal of the “event.” For all its controversy, and the fact that it felt a little drawn out to me, the ending was satisfying. It was great to see the real captain America come back and kick the sand out of fake Nazi Cap. Those who claimed that it somehow tarnished the character of captain America are, I believe, wrong. And now Nazi-pseudo-Cap is going to be a recurring villain, looks like. I dig it. With a white supremacist sympathizer in the White House and white supremacists marching in the streets, it seems fitting that we’d have this new villain to represent that. Two visions of America–of Captain America–one false, one true; one evil and one good; the one promising to stand, always stand, in staunch opposition to the other. That’s potent allegory, there. And those scenes in SECRET EMPIRE: OMEGA, which consisted of the real Cap and the fake Cap debating ideology, that was some powerful, heady stuff.

On the flip side, the whole thing would have worked better if Marvel hadn’t diluted the character by deciding to make the Falcon a Captain America, too. Now that we’re into LEGACY, will Marvel make like Kobik, the living Cosmic Cube, and put things right again, by restoring the historical characters to their rightful places? Tony Stark is Iron Man. Steve Rogers is Captain America. Bruce Banner is the Incredible Hulk. Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Sam Wilson is the Falcon. I’m not saying they should get rid of the “new” versions of those characters–although I despise Amadeus Cho as a Hulk. I just want them to stop trying to replace the characters I’ve always known and loved with new faces. There is room in the Marvel universe for all those characters–and for new superhero identities, too. (Hint, Marvel. Take a hint.)