The Cap’s out of the bag, and modern history in the Marvel Universe is as it — ahem — should be.
Not that fans are happy with the development. It was one thing to turn Captain America into a Hydra agent. It was another to reveal that the entirety of Marvel Comics history was a lie and that Steve Rogers — along with Hydra — were the true winners of World War II.
Secret Empire #1 takes place about a year after the Captain set off a chain of events that would put Hydra back in control. History books have been fixed, Big Brother is even bigger, and anyone exhibiting any forms of superpowers must register with the government.
Many of Earth’s mightiest heroes are still in space, locked out by a global shield. Those on Earth unwilling to accept the new way of things have either been imprisoned or have been forced into hiding, hoping to maintain some safety from the Dreadnoughts, Hydra’s Sentinel-like robots.
After the most recent Secret Wars event rewrote Marvel’s comic continuity, the company dropped a major bombshell when it brought Steve Rogers back into mix as Captain America.
For the past several years, Rogers took on a more administrative role after a confrontation with the Iron Nail left his Super-Soldier Serum inert. Working as the Avengers’ mission control leader, Rogers new role capitalized on his tactical prowess while his appointed successor Sam Wilson took on the mantle of Captain America.
With the new continuity firmly planted, Marvel saw fit to return Rogers to his original role and gave him back his superpowers. The company launched another Captain America title, and the first issue set off a huge clamor when it was revealed that Rogers in this current continuity was actually a Hydra agent. In case anyone thought it was some sort of cheap trick or double-screw flash plot twist meant to last a story arc or two, Marvel explained that Kobik — the living Cosmic Cube — had rewritten Rogers’ origin along with many other aspects of the new continuity.
Tony Stark infiltrates New Attilan, setting off even more conflict in Civil War II #2.
Having losing best friend James Rhodes (War Machine) last issue, Stark kidnaps Ulysses from his new home to learn more about the young man’s supposed ability to see visions of the future.
While he studies and interrogates the boy, the Inhumans respond by following an enraged Karnak to Stark Tower. Captain Marvel and the Ultimates arrive with Maria Hill to defuse the situation. Together, they find Tony and Ulysses after the former has finished downloading a copy of latter’s brain for study.
Though you could chalk up Tony’s response to his best friend dying as something in between impulsive and insane, the issue never really gives the normally rational man a really good reason for infiltrating a sovereign country and kidnapping one of its citizens. While it’s clear that Tony wants to study Ulysses’ brain and precog abilities, it’s not like the Inhumans were against any sort of rational measure. It’s actually pretty clear that Medusa — having caught Tony in the kidnapping act — seems like she’s willing to help. When Tony refuses to go home, things escalate, turning a shaky situation into full-blown war.
Prepare yourselves for war!
Hot off the heels of a Civil War movie — which, in turn, was based very loosely on the comic crossover of the same name — comes Civil War Part Dos #1. Written by Brian Michael Bendis with beautifully rendered panels from artist David Marquez and colorist Justin Ponsor, the next big event in Marvel history explodes from the pages of its first issue.
After Terrigen mist rolls through Columbus, Ohio, a new batch of Inhumans are born. One of them, Ulysses, gains the power of foresight and predicts a major invasion by a Celestial — or is it Galactus?
With the Avengers getting the heads-up and calling in all of its membership and various allies, the threat is averted, and Tony Stark throws a celebration to honor the victory.
Curiosity gets the better of Captain Marvel Carol Danvers, and the Inhumans decide it’s time to become a little more transparent. They introduce Ulysses to the Avengers, and Danvers makes a move to bring the human crystal ball onto her squad — which causes Stark to express his reservations.
Doom’s control over the new Marvel continuity is beginning to splinter as rival factions rise in power.
Three weeks after the events in issue #5, much has happened. Corvus Glaive and his wife Proxima Midnight have been captured, and Black Swan is now in Doom’s employ. Doom has tasked his daughter Valeria with discovering Stephen Strange’s murderers, and work has been rather difficult. Not only has it been impossible to figure out what the outsiders are up to, but Valeria has doubts about her father’s intentions — she can no longer fight the nagging suspicion that Doom may be the one actually guilty of Strange’s death.
With Reed Richards and his Ultimate Universe counterpart Reed Richards working on a plan to remove Doom from his throne, a new threat called The Prophet has begun taking over areas of Battleworld. Doom, wanting to focus his attention on the outsiders, tells barons Sinister, Maestor, and Madelyne Pryor to handle the usurper, which only tempts Sinister and Captain Marvel into starting some havoc of their own.