FCBD 2017 Secret Empire #1 (Marvel)


Rating: 3/5 – Not New Reader Friendly (But a Great Spider-Man Story in Back)
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

The Secret Empire part of this FCBD issue was not good.  NOT for the reason a lot of knee-jerk idiots on the internet are whining about: “Wah!  Captain America is a Nazi!  I’m going to burn the comic, that’ll show Marvel!”  Yeah, right.  Protest Nazis by burning reading material.  Make the Nazis proud.  NO.  The reason this was not a good issue was because a Free Comic Book Day should, by definition, be “new reader” friendly.  It’s being put into the hands of 1000s of new readers who have not read a Marvel comic (or ANY comic) in years.

What do new readers get here?  A fairly impenetrable story by Nick Spencer that pops around with snippets of dialogue and LOTS of characters who are not introduced to the readers.  On top of that, Andrea Sorrentino’s art, while something I love from a purely artistic standpoint, was not well suited to this comic because he draws just just enough off-model to make some of the characters not easily recognizable by casual fans, especially when combined with the extremely muted red/gray heavy color palette that makes it almost impossible even to use standard costume colors to recognize characters that many readers may have only seen on some merchandising items or in the movies.

Hopefully Spencer read the backup story featuring Spider-Man and the Vulture (who is going to be the villain in the Spider-Man Homecoming movie) by Chip Zdarsky.  Maybe if he did he will see how to write a story that is new reader friendly. This takes characters that readers are familiar with drawn in a very recognizable fashion by Paulo Siqueira, even if the Vulture isn’t the Michael Keaton version seen in the movie trailers, he is still easily recognizable.  Zdarsky uses trademark Spidey humor and action in a nice fast-paced story that introduces a cool new version of the Trapster.  THIS story makes me want to read Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, coming in June.  Hopefully this story will reach out to new readers after the confusing mess that was the 1st half of this issue, if the new reader didn’t just toss the book aside before they ever made it to this story.

As a long-time Marvel reader and someone who is actually enjoying the Secret Empire event (a rarity among most outspoken people on the internet) I thought Nick Spencer’s Secret Empire story was pretty decent, especially since I’ve been reading Captain America Steve Rogers and I had already read Secret Empire #0.  As an intro issue to new readers who wandered into a comic shop on Free Comic Boom Day and picked this up I think it is an epic failure ans a huge wasted opportunity.  It didn’t have to be.  It could have easily explained what was going on in a very clear and concise manner, stressing for new readers that the whole “Cap as Hydra” is the result of cosmic cube manipulation on the part of the bad guys and giving a primer on the current Marvel status quo that could lead a new reader through the confusing stuff that is not 100% easy to comprehend even for veteran readers.  What a terrible waste of a comic that could have been so much more inviting to new comics readers.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
https://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics for Fans who Love Comics

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1 Response to FCBD 2017 Secret Empire #1 (Marvel)

  1. Nancy says:

    You are so right about the muted colors preventing some easy recognition of some heroes in Secret Empire! The Spiderman story was appealing with some snappy dialogue.

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