Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Additional Art: Rod Reis, Joshua Cassara, Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: Travis Lanham
The resistance struggles to obtain more cosmic cube shards, while Hydra makes their move. Secret Empire has gone back to revolving back and forth between each storyline, but not to the same success as the previous issue.
The issue opens with Natasha and the Champions. A storyline that has quickly become a highlight to read. Black Widow is captured but of course it’s all a part of her plan. She isn’t getting a lot of time in the story, but every time she shows up it has always been entertaining. Though he doesn’t show up, the cloud of Punisher looms overhead. Unlike the resistance, Natasha appears to be getting things done, but Frank Castle will be a worthy opponent. I hope they get a full issue if/when they finally meet.
The resistance continued to strike out in getting the cosmic cube shards. Black Panther offers no help, which is frustrating but I guess sort of makes sense. It’s true he would be a pain in Hydra’s side, but his unwillingness to work with the resistance was surprising. It was far more a surprise than the fact that Tony Stark has been lying about something. I’m sure things will turn around for them once they get Steve Rogers II on their side if they get him. One of the funniest parts of the issue was watching
Steve, Bucky, and Sam frolicking through the woods together. I understand that most of their memories are missing, but it is funny how fast they became friends and just want to hang out. Maybe they’re making their way through the woods, but it feels more like they’re having bro-time with the boys. It was all a bit weird, but it ends with a really cool cliffhanger.
There wasn’t a lot of Captain America in this issue. He basically shows up to New Titan to intimidate Beast and then at the end to lead to another big cliffhanger. The most important thing to take away from Hydra this issue were the Avengers’ motivations for working with a fascist Cap. They all made sense expect for Thor. Even if he is trying to save someone, the mental gymnastics needed for him to work with such awful people seems like too much.
The artwork continues to be solid, and I am really loving this creative team. The pencils are beautiful, but I thought the colors used in this issue were a little too light. For me, it doesn’t really play to the artist’s strength, who works best with darker tones and plenty of shadows. That’s probably personal preference though, and not an actual critique.
What I enjoyed most about the fourth installment of the mini-series, was how it developed each storyline little by little. This issue had more revelations than the last, but it felt less cohesive. It was jumping to a different plot every so often and I never really felt comfortable.