Secret Empire #5
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Andrea Sorrentino, Rod Reis, Joshua Cassara & Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters by VC’s Travis Lanham
If there is one thing that Black Widow has always been good at, it’s knowing how to manipulate those around her. The other task for which she is remarkably well suited for is having information that others covet. No where is this more evident than in her confrontation with Viper. Playing the would be mastermind as a distraction is the type of twist I enjoy from comics and it works well in this one.
Meanwhile, in the unknown, Steve, Bucky and Sam continue their road trip as they rekindle their friendships. Ant-Man writes to his daughter as he and the rest of the Cosmic Cube retrieval team led by Tony Stark make their way to Wakanda in what they think will be the easiest fragment to retrieve. Unfortunately, the king of Wakanda is not as receptive or as generous as they thought as T’Challa refuses to give them the shard. As Tony pleads with Black Panther to help him, the hero gives a compelling reason for he and his nation to continue to stay out of the conflict.
It seems the list of friends continues to get shorter for the heroes as old allies are now foes and old alliances lie in tatters. It’s hard to imagine there are any real heroes left in the Marvel universe. Especially given the tactics Steve uses to keep Beast in line. Tactics that show just how far Steve has turned and how apparently weak-willed Hank McCoy has become and how he is willing to compromise everything for the illusion of peace.
This is one of the prevailing themes that I have seen from the entire series. There are no more heroes in the Marvel universe. Every one of them is one step away from compromising everything they believe and fight for the fulfillment of their own individual agendas. It’s hard to find anyone to root for because for the last few years, all of them have become weak-willed and easily manipulative. An idea that is proven in how the heroes at The Mount are so easily betrayed by one of their own.
Even the twist at the end, which is interesting, only reinforces the fact that there are no real heroes left in this universe. It will be interesting to see how they continue this story and I will continue to read it. Though I struggle to find anyone to root for in it.