Secret Empire 0 pulls together threads from several different books which constitute the prologue. They are conveniently laid out here:

I only read the Steve Rogers issue and didn’t really feel like I needed to read the rest to follow what was going on in Secret Empire 0. In Steve Rogers 16 we see Cap’s secret plan start to coalesce as Hydra seeks to reassemble the Cosmic Cube without reawakening Kobik and Zemo appears to kill Bucky.


This brings us to Secret Empire 0 wherein it is outlined that the Cosmic Cube was apparently created by American scientists during the World War II era and used to create the reality that we know as the original Marvel Universe.  Hyrdra’s plan is to use Cap to “undo” that “fake” reality and restore the “true” reality in which Hydra conquers the world.  So they appear to be telling us that the entire Marvel Universe is all just one big EYKIW.

On the other hand, we are still getting the intro text page telling us that Kobik has rewritten reality.  In which case this whole Captain Hydra saga is just one big bad dream that can be Bobby Ewinged out of existence at any time.

In the meantime Nick Spencer has started knocking down the dominos that he has nicely put into place over the last year or so.  This isn’t just a bunch of random stuff thrown together to sell a summer crossover. There appears to have actually been a lot of planning that went into this.

Here’s the way it will unfold going forward:

It doesn't appear that there are too many tie-ins or spin-offs, although I suppose that could change but so far I'm on board for the main series and probably Uprising as well.

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Any idea on how long it took to transform the country into a fascist state?  

I don't know if they've given a specific time. It seems like maybe a few months?  It could be they want to keep it nebulous so they don't run into too may continuity issues with tie-in stories.

Ultimates 2 #7

I've been enjoying Al Ewing's Ultimates. It's a book for people who think Jim Starlin isn't "cosmic" enough.  But this issue suffers from "tie-in-itis"  You can tell Ewing didn't really have his heart in it and the art wasn't great either. Basically, the Ultimates hang around in space and try to get past the shield that's keeping them off earth. That's it.

I thought the Captain America at the end is the one who was displaced in time a decade ago following his “death.” If I’m right and that Cap ultimately replaces the current one, it will erase a lot of bad “neat ideas” from Cap’s history. (Advance solicits for upcoming releases have already revealed some spoilers.)

I really like that Hawkeye and Black Widow are working together again, and I like their relationship. One never really forgets one’s first love, does one?

Regarding the timeline of the coup, I think it’s left fuzzy for each individual to decide “whatever works.” The specific mechanics of the takeover itself is not the story, therefore Spencer employs compressed time. The introductory text says Hyra has been working behind the scenes for “months,” so I figure the takeover itself took “weeks.”



Jeff of Earth-J said:

I thought the Captain America at the end is the one who was displaced in time a decade ago following his “death.”


Are you talking about the Brubaker run? I may have to re-read that.

The Brubaker run and its aftermath, specifically: Captain America: Reborn.

For the record, the "bad neat idea" I was referring to is Rick Remender's run, specifically the "Dimension Z" arc.

I'm not reading the book, but in principle I agree. These sorts of changes take more time in the real world, and as we're seeing in the real world, institutions are more resistant to change than you might think.

And yet, in the Marvel Universe, Hydra could have access to magic. And also mind-control tech, and emotion-pushing tech like the Hate-Monger used to use. A change like this could happen more quickly in the Marvel Universe, because there are other levers of power to pull to make things happen.

I don't know if that's the story Spencer & Co. are interested in telling, but I wouldn't be surprised if it gets explored down the road. I also wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't get swept under the rug, too. Because while it's necessary (IMO) for that sort of timeline to work, it also undermines the human culpability in the whole thing, and that seems like something Spencer would want to explore.

But what do I know? I won't be reading this until six months from now at the earliest.  

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

To me the complete transformation of the country is really the story, Steve's just part of it. When you think of how complex our society is and how for the HYDRA transformation to work how many people would have to go along with it; months and weeks just aren't enough time. Teachers unions would have to ok the HYDRA version of history, all branches of the military and the intelligence communities would have to forgo their oaths to 'preserve protect and defend' and then justify that change to their families... To me there is a lot of story here that is just plain being ignored.


The way I read the story (and I'm not reading every book) is that this is a military style takeover. So Hydra won the war and took over. Now they are using whatever means is at their disposal to control every aspect of life. And they're perfectly willing to execute anyone who doesn't play ball. So teachers, politicians, law enforcement, etc that don't agree are reluctantly cooperating because it's better than the alternative. 

Captain Hydra wants to win hearts and minds and believes he his doing what's best for everyone, but we've already seen him destroy an entire city to discourage any kind of insurgence.

"Hydra could have access to... mind-control tech..."

Something about mind control was mentioned in issue #1. As with the "compressed time" aspect I mentioned earlier, it's up to each individual reader to decide how much was used to make the story work. Again, I don't think the mechanics of the story is what Spencer is interested in. He is asking the reader to willingly suspend his sense of disbelief regarding the takeover of the country. That's the starting point. Now the story begins.

I 100% agree. 

I most hands, I don't think the logistics of the shift would make that interesting of a story -- and not something I think Spencer would want to devote a lot of time to as a preamble to the story he really wants to tell (especially since every week that passes is a new week of people yelling at him). But if they could convince someone like Kurt Busiek to bore into it and show how a single school district shifted its entire curricula to Hydra, that could be interesting. On a macrocosm level, though, I'm willing to take it as given.

When I get around to reading it, that is.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

And yet, in the Marvel Universe, Hydra could have access to magic. And also mind-control tech, and emotion-pushing tech like the Hate-Monger used to use. A change like this could happen more quickly in the Marvel Universe, because there are other levers of power to pull to make things happen.

I'm not reading this, but since the cosmic cube is a big factor it may have had something to do with facilitating the takeover.

Oh, definitely, yes. The Cosmic Cube is already in play, so what more do you need?

Richard Willis said:

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

And yet, in the Marvel Universe, Hydra could have access to magic. And also mind-control tech, and emotion-pushing tech like the Hate-Monger used to use. A change like this could happen more quickly in the Marvel Universe, because there are other levers of power to pull to make things happen.

I'm not reading this, but since the cosmic cube is a big factor it may have had something to do with facilitating the takeover.

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