The Failings of Friendship in Desperate Times in Secret Empire 5

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

“The power of friendship” is a popular trope in most media. The idea that most situations can be overcome through the bonds we share with our friends is powerful in a lot of ways, but it’s one that never really seems applicable to war or espionage stories like Secret Empire. Make no mistake, Hydra is not going to be defeated by friendship or optimism alone, but in Secret Empire 5, Nick Spencer, Rod Reis, Andrea Sorrentino, Joshua Cassara, and Rachelle Rosenberg do explore the effect pre-existing relationships have on their conflict. It’s not always a good one. Continue reading

Secret Empire 4: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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Patrick: The Secret Empire epic drives on an engine powered by dramatic irony. From the second Steve’s first “Hail Hydra” was uttered, the audience knew more about the threat the Marvel Universe faced better than any of its inhabitants. It is serendipitous (in the worst possible way) that the current political climate in the United States has made readers hyper-aware of this irony, as we’re able to draw obvious parallels between the rise of Hydra and the rise of white nationalism. We don’t need to parse out the rhetorical devices Steve uses to justify his abuses of power — we see them demonstrated by our president every day. Issue 4 doubles down on the practice of illustrating dramatic irony, giving the audience far more information than any of the characters are ever afforded. The result is an unsettling exercise in moral relativism. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 5/31/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Hadrian’s Wall 7, Sex Criminals 19 and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 7. Also, we’ll be discussing Saga 43 on Tuesday and Kill or Be Killed 9  on Wednesday. As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

Secret Empire 3

Alternating Currents: Secret Empire 3, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Secret Empire 3, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: That Secret Empire is about big ideas goes without saying. As with any tentpole summer event, it promises to change the Marvel universe as we know it (at least temporarily), but the bigger story is the way the event (and the stories leading to it) have reflected the real-world political climate, often in uncanny — and uncomfortable — ways. But issue 3 reveals that, underneath it all, writer Nick Spencer may have been building to an even bigger (albeit, perhaps less controversial) question about the very nature of the superhero genre in the present day: does it still have room for moral absolutes? Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 5/17/17

We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Mighty Thor 19, Royals 3, Secret Empire 2 and Ultimate 2 7. Also, we discussed Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 20 on Thursday and will be discussing Daredevil 20 on Tuesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 4/26/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Bitch Planet 10, Hadrian’s Wall 6, Kill Or Be Killed 8, Lumberjanes 37, and X-O Manowar 2. Also, we’re discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe 9 on Tuesday and Black Monday Murders 5 and Old Guard 3 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
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Secret Empire 0

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Secret Empire 0, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: It can be incredibly dangerous to put too much faith in one person, especially if it means neglecting other connections and relationships. While this can be true on a personal level, it’s far more important to remember on a political level, where not even the most well-meaning politician can be trusted with too much power — not even Captain America himself. Continue reading

Hadrian’s Wall 5

Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Hadrian’s Wall 5, originally released March 29, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Patrick: Simplicity is an illusion. Every relationship that falls apart, every job that is lost, every hope that is abandoned comes at the end of a long, complicated road with no singular culprit. But it’s human nature to try to compartmentalize these things: she left because I cheated; I was fired because I was always late; I don’t have time to pursue my dreams. That’s clean, almost absolving us of our sins of disappointment. Hadrian’s Wall 5 delivers the answer to the series’ central mystery to this point, only to pivot from solution to inevitably more-complicated problem, insisting on the non-simplicity of this narrative. That dovetails nicely with Simon’s own memories of his failed relationship with Annabelle, which failed not through a singular action, but because these people were incompatible. Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel and Rod Reis’ story of murder-in-space refuses to be anywhere near as simple as the first four issues would have you believe. Continue reading

Civil War II: The Oath 1

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Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Civil War II: The Oath 1, originally released January 25th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Why is Steve Rogers being transformed into a Nazi such a terrifying idea? It’s because we all trust Steve Rogers, both in universe and out. Not only can he use that to gain influence that should never, under any circumstances, be given a Nazi, but that trust means that we’re probably inclined to think the best of him — out of sheer habit, if nothing else — even though he’s never deserved it less. Well, no more. Civil War II: The Oath drives home that this altered Steve’s heart is as black as they come. If only the rest of the Marvel universe was privy to that fact as well. Continue reading

Hadrian’s Wall 2

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Today, Spencer and Ryan D. are discussing Hadrian’s Wall 2, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Spencer: When discussing the first issue of Hadrian’s Wall, we were pleased to report that the series was more about the fallout of Simon and Annabelle’s former relationship than about sci-fi tropes, or even the actual murder mystery. With Simon’s very specific scenario now thoroughly established, though, Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis are free to use issue two to dive more into the mystery, and specifically, into introducing the list of suspects. Even in the middle of all this very necessary groundwork, though, the creative team never loses sight of Simon, his past, or what makes him tick. Continue reading