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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Hmm...let's see...

Wanda murdered a number of people when she declared "no more mutants".

Tony, Red and others are all complicit in the murder of Bill Foster.

Cyclops murdered Professor X.

Carol Danvers violated due process for any number of people.

I don't recall any of them having to deal with any sort of legal consequences, or really much in the way of social consequences either.

Detective 445 said:

Stevil destroyed an entire city though, so anyone who sided with him is complicit in that act. It's tough to see how Marvel can reconcile that fact going forward.  Unless they present a mind control explanation for those characters, I don't see what they could do to salvage them.  Even if there is a complete continuity reboot, the reader will still know that those characters voluntarily participated in genocide.



Randy Jackson said:

Hmm...let's see...

Wanda murdered a number of people when she declared "no more mutants".

Tony, Red and others are all complicit in the murder of Bill Foster.

Cyclops murdered Professor X.

Carol Danvers violated due process for any number of people.

I don't recall any of them having to deal with any sort of legal consequences, or really much in the way of social consequences either.

At least in those stories there was an attempt at in-story justification. Wanda goes insane, Cyclops possessed by Phoenix Force, various others trying to comply with the government etc...  Granted some of those justifications were pretty weak but at least there was an attempt.

But outside of in-story legal consequences I'm more concerned about lasting damage to the core concept of the character. The only justification that seems to be given in Secret Empire is "well, we liked Captain America before he was evil so we're going to stick with him now."  So unless an additional motivating factor is revealed I'll always see Thor as the guy who has the potential to just kind of join up with the bad guys for the heck of it.

  It's the normal, non-powered characters I think about.  I've given up on the marvel heroes having a basic sense of honor, loyalty or friendship.  Even if they have those virtues for a few issues outside of the event, such virtues have no place in the event itself.  I can't think of an event in the last decade where someone decided that being a good guy got in the way and just trashed the idea.  The writers just don't seem to understand those concepts, or if they do they don't write as if they do.  Also there are very few real consequences no matter what the heroes do.  Murder or jaywalking gets at most a few cold shoulders and angry glares that are quickly forgotten.  I think of it as lazy writing, the storyteller just not wanting to do the hard work of taking a story to the place it should go.  But in the America that Spencer has shown us the majority of the people either didn't mind -or were never shown to have minded- all the illegal stuff that Steve and friends did.  The army, navy and air force went along with him, the FBI and CIA never raised a peep in protest, almost everyone seemed to say "yea, tyranny is here but it's Captain America so it's ok."  Does Spencer really think that little of the American people?  Now that SE is ending what next?  How does a teacher who went along with the HYDRA stuff and taught his students to spy on their parents stay employed?  Is there any punishment for the people who ran the camps?  Or the men in the firing squad?  Does everyone get to say 'we were just following orders' and call it even?  

Detective 445 said:



Randy Jackson said:

Hmm...let's see...

Wanda murdered a number of people when she declared "no more mutants".

Tony, Red and others are all complicit in the murder of Bill Foster.

Cyclops murdered Professor X.

Carol Danvers violated due process for any number of people.

I don't recall any of them having to deal with any sort of legal consequences, or really much in the way of social consequences either.

At least in those stories there was an attempt at in-story justification. Wanda goes insane, Cyclops possessed by Phoenix Force, various others trying to comply with the government etc...  Granted some of those justifications were pretty weak but at least there was an attempt.

But outside of in-story legal consequences I'm more concerned about lasting damage to the core concept of the character. The only justification that seems to be given in Secret Empire is "well, we liked Captain America before he was evil so we're going to stick with him now."  So unless an additional motivating factor is revealed I'll always see Thor as the guy who has the potential to just kind of join up with the bad guys for the heck of it.

That's kind of the point I'm attempting to make. These stories are written, and the writer needs a character to behave in a certain way in order for the plot to work--never mind if there's nothing in that character's established characterization to justify that behavior. However, the actions taken color the character forever, and in some cases ruin the character (see Hank Pym).

As fans, I think a large appeal of superheroes is that they are better than us--they're meant to embody the absolute best humanity has to offer. They may have personal problems and issues, but when confronted with a life or death situation, they're going to make the correct choice, and this is why they prevail.

Wanda and Vision get a pass because they're mind-controlled. I believe I saw that Deadpool is realizing the enormity of his actions and that he backed the wrong horse. The Punisher is...well, honestly, I don't know what they're going to do there, as I think he's going to be damaged as well. Odinson? He has no excuse, and I agree it's going to tarnish his character.

Perhaps if there were some in-story ramifications and consequences, it would work better, but that's highly unlikely.



Detective 445 said:


But outside of in-story legal consequences I'm more concerned about lasting damage to the core concept of the character. to behave agains t

Detective 445 said:

At least in those stories there was an attempt at in-story justification. Wanda goes insane, Cyclops possessed by Phoenix Force, various others trying to comply with the government etc... Granted some of those justifications were pretty weak but at least there was an attempt.

I haven’t read those stories, or Secret Empire. Am I right that those stories presented the cause up front? If so, the cause (Cosmic Cube?) is also the solution. The Cube didn’t just rewrite Cap’s history and morals. It did the same thing to the schoolteacher Mark mentions and everybody else who was complicit, super and non-super. There probably were some complicit people who didn’t have to be changed by the Cube. Nothing new there.

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

Does everyone get to say 'we were just following orders' and call it even?

When I watched the great drama/documentary The Andersonville Trial it was stressed that in that day the standard was obeying all orders. The Nuremberg Trials established that there was such was thing as an unlawful order which need not be followed. “Following orders” is no longer a valid defense of criminal conduct.

I agree but stories that tarnish the character can be followed by stories that explore that dimming of the heroic ideal, the striving to regain the shine and the final realization that you can never shine as brightly again.  Those are the sort of stories that are often lacking.  I honestly think that we are in the era of fan-fiction done professionally with authors who don't care about what came before and don't care about what comes after.  They are like the corporate raiders of the 1980s, they make the big splash, they make their money and then they are gone leaving someone else to pick up the pieces and to heck with the people and factories closed in their wake.  I think anyone of us on this board could craft better stuff than Secret Empire in the same vein without dragging the characters into the muck.

Randy Jackson said:

That's kind of the point I'm attempting to make. These stories are written, and the writer needs a character to behave in a certain way in order for the plot to work--never mind if there's nothing in that character's established characterization to justify that behavior. However, the actions taken color the character forever, and in some cases ruin the character (see Hank Pym).

As fans, I think a large appeal of superheroes is that they are better than us--they're meant to embody the absolute best humanity has to offer. They may have personal problems and issues, but when confronted with a life or death situation, they're going to make the correct choice, and this is why they prevail.

Wanda and Vision get a pass because they're mind-controlled. I believe I saw that Deadpool is realizing the enormity of his actions and that he backed the wrong horse. The Punisher is...well, honestly, I don't know what they're going to do there, as I think he's going to be damaged as well. Odinson? He has no excuse, and I agree it's going to tarnish his character.

Perhaps if there were some in-story ramifications and consequences, it would work better, but that's highly unlikely.



Detective 445 said:


But outside of in-story legal consequences I'm more concerned about lasting damage to the core concept of the character. to behave agains t



Richard Willis said:

Detective 445 said:

At least in those stories there was an attempt at in-story justification. Wanda goes insane, Cyclops possessed by Phoenix Force, various others trying to comply with the government etc... Granted some of those justifications were pretty weak but at least there was an attempt.

I haven’t read those stories, or Secret Empire. Am I right that those stories presented the cause up front? If so, the cause (Cosmic Cube?) is also the solution. The Cube didn’t just rewrite Cap’s history and morals. It did the same thing to the schoolteacher Mark mentions and everybody else who was complicit, super and non-super. There probably were some complicit people who didn’t have to be changed by the Cube. Nothing new there.


I guess we don't know for sure. We know that Captain America has been altered by Kobik to have different memories. And some other characters such as Madame Hydra and Zemo appear to share those altered memories. But I'm not sure that the Marvel Universe as a whole was rewritten.

If it hasn't been mentioned, the cover of Captain America: Sam Wilson #21 is a homage to Captain America #176's, and the cover of Thunderbolts #12 above is a homage to The Uncanny X-Men #229's. 

Uncanny Avengers #22's might be a homage too, but if so I can't place it.

Maybe this?

It might be. My head says there was a black cover with a figure in a coffin, but it may be remembering The Avengers Annual #12's, which isn't close at all and doesn't have a coffin. The Avengers #240's is closer, but not as close as yours.

Perhaps?

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