Secret Empire: What We Know About Marvel’s Next Event

Imagine if an evil organization took control of our entire government and...nah, it's just too far-fetched.

Marvel’s next big event, Secret Empire, is rapidly approaching, and they’ve been pushing out a bunch of details to get you excited about it.

Marvel released a batch of information, from teaser images to a press release, announcing the new crossover. The first image announcing the event can be seen in the header, and has been confirmed by Marvel: the heroes of the Marvel Universe will be coming together to fight Nazi Alt-Right Captain America and his Secret Empire. Captain America: Steve Rogerswriter Nick Spencer will work with Steve McNiven (the surprisingly good Monsters Unleashed), Andrea Sorrentino (the unsurprisingly good Old Man Logan) and Leinil Yu (the arc of Star Warswith the Rebel prison skimming the surface of a sun – so cool) to bring the story to stands.

The original Secret Empire was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the pages of Tales to Astonishin 1966. Their composition and makeup seem to be drawn at random, as if Stan and Jack said “you know, Hydra and A.I.M. are cool, but their org charts make too much sense. What can we do with the number 9 that is gibberish by the second word of the explaination?”

Seriously: they’re a bunch of numbered people, ruled by a Council of Nine, who hire mercenaries and run false-flag UFO missions. They were started with Hydra funding, they occasionally kidnap mutants, and their secret headquarters was in Cincinnatti. The Secret Empire had their most famous moment in the 1970s during the Nixon administration when Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich, and Sal Buscema strongly implied that Richard Nixon was actually a Secret Empire operative/plant. The timing of their re-emergence now is, we’re sure, purely coincidental.

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Reemerging in the pages of Captain America: Steve Rogers, the new Secret Empire’s guiding design principle is “What would Twitter look like if Captain America were really a Nazi,” making them the most terrifying villains ever created in comics. I bet they’ve even got their own publishing house, like Simonov and Sapojnik or something.

Marvel followed this initial image up with a series of modifications seeming to indicate additional tie-ins to the crossover – “The Secret Empire will amaze you;” “The Secret Empire will guard you;” “The Secret Empire will avenge you,” and so on. That was followed by a new image:

The teaser images taken as a whole seem to indicate two things: that we’ll be getting Secret Empire versions of all of Marvel’s teams (the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Champions, the Defenders, the Avengers, the Extraordinary X-Men); and that by pairing Captain Marvel with Nazi Captain America hot on her Civil War 2heel turn that was so egregious it ruined her solo book, Marvel isn’t quite done with Carol yet.

And speaking of hot on the heel turns of Civil War 2, we have Civil War 2: The Oath, which laid out the whole plan. Steve gets sworn in as head of SHIELD with new “emergency powers” that the galactic senate is sure he’ll give back once the crisis is over. Meanwhile, Steve’s been baiting the Chitauri into invading since pretty much when his solo series kicked off, and they’re about to come to Earth in force. 

Remember that vision Ulysses had in the pages of Civil War 2where Miles Morales was standing over the dead body of Captain America on the steps of the capital? Of course you don’t, why would you have read that dreck. I assure you it happened, though, because Captain America has been having similar visions, only instead of him lying dead in an alternate universe Spider Man’s hands, it’s of him leading a Hydra army as they represent the United States thanks to his fancy emergency powers. So there you go: Hydra is out in the open as an American military force, turning the entire country into some facist hellhole in many on-the-nose ways. 

The official start of the event comes in mid-April with Secret Empire#0. Spencer is joined by Daniel Acuña and Rod Reis (so good) to show Hydra’s first move, and they’ve released some unlettered preview pages to get you excited.

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Secret Empire#1 is due out on May 3rd. Stay with Den of Geek for updates on this and other, more exciting crossovers.