When an argument divides the Underground, will hope survive?
Now that Rick Jones’ cellphone has been decrypted, the Underground hears out what he found out about Steve Rogers and the Cosmic Cube that rewrote history. By gathering the pieces of the Cube, which have been scattered all over the planet, our heroes can restore history and return Captain America to the man he once was.
But they’ll have to beat Rogers to it. Sitting atop his throne, Captain America believes he can bring back the dead and set things right — his way of right — by restoring the Cube and using its power to make the world a better place according to Hydra’s precepts. Rogers orders Baron Zemo to scour the Earth and retrieve the fragments, no matter the cost — foreshadowing all sorts of things to come.
With the search begun, both sides now face a clock. Natasha Romanoff has her own ideas on how to stop Rogers, and it means assassinating him. Spider-Man Miles Morales joins her, accepting whatever fate may come. In case you missed it — Back in Civil War II, a vision of Morales standing over a dead Captain America left Miles and the Avengers team shaken and in disbelief. Morales knows he’s no killer, but he’s ready to see what the future holds.
The Cap’s out of the bag, and modern history in the Marvel Universe is as it — ahem — should be.
Not that fans are happy with the development. It was one thing to turn Captain America into a Hydra agent. It was another to reveal that the entirety of Marvel Comics history was a lie and that Steve Rogers — along with Hydra — were the true winners of World War II.
Secret Empire #1 takes place about a year after the Captain set off a chain of events that would put Hydra back in control. History books have been fixed, Big Brother is even bigger, and anyone exhibiting any forms of superpowers must register with the government.
Many of Earth’s mightiest heroes are still in space, locked out by a global shield. Those on Earth unwilling to accept the new way of things have either been imprisoned or have been forced into hiding, hoping to maintain some safety from the Dreadnoughts, Hydra’s Sentinel-like robots.
After the most recent Secret Wars event rewrote Marvel’s comic continuity, the company dropped a major bombshell when it brought Steve Rogers back into mix as Captain America.
For the past several years, Rogers took on a more administrative role after a confrontation with the Iron Nail left his Super-Soldier Serum inert. Working as the Avengers’ mission control leader, Rogers new role capitalized on his tactical prowess while his appointed successor Sam Wilson took on the mantle of Captain America.
With the new continuity firmly planted, Marvel saw fit to return Rogers to his original role and gave him back his superpowers. The company launched another Captain America title, and the first issue set off a huge clamor when it was revealed that Rogers in this current continuity was actually a Hydra agent. In case anyone thought it was some sort of cheap trick or double-screw flash plot twist meant to last a story arc or two, Marvel explained that Kobik — the living Cosmic Cube — had rewritten Rogers’ origin along with many other aspects of the new continuity.
Tony Stark infiltrates New Attilan, setting off even more conflict in Civil War II #2.
Having losing best friend James Rhodes (War Machine) last issue, Stark kidnaps Ulysses from his new home to learn more about the young man’s supposed ability to see visions of the future.
While he studies and interrogates the boy, the Inhumans respond by following an enraged Karnak to Stark Tower. Captain Marvel and the Ultimates arrive with Maria Hill to defuse the situation. Together, they find Tony and Ulysses after the former has finished downloading a copy of latter’s brain for study.
Though you could chalk up Tony’s response to his best friend dying as something in between impulsive and insane, the issue never really gives the normally rational man a really good reason for infiltrating a sovereign country and kidnapping one of its citizens. While it’s clear that Tony wants to study Ulysses’ brain and precog abilities, it’s not like the Inhumans were against any sort of rational measure. It’s actually pretty clear that Medusa — having caught Tony in the kidnapping act — seems like she’s willing to help. When Tony refuses to go home, things escalate, turning a shaky situation into full-blown war.
Hot off the heels of a Civil War movie — which, in turn, was based very loosely on the comic crossover of the same name — comes Civil War Part Dos #1. Written by Brian Michael Bendis with beautifully rendered panels from artist David Marquez and colorist Justin Ponsor, the next big event in Marvel history explodes from the pages of its first issue.
After Terrigen mist rolls through Columbus, Ohio, a new batch of Inhumans are born. One of them, Ulysses, gains the power of foresight and predicts a major invasion by a Celestial — or is it Galactus?
With the Avengers getting the heads-up and calling in all of its membership and various allies, the threat is averted, and Tony Stark throws a celebration to honor the victory.
Curiosity gets the better of Captain Marvel Carol Danvers, and the Inhumans decide it’s time to become a little more transparent. They introduce Ulysses to the Avengers, and Danvers makes a move to bring the human crystal ball onto her squad — which causes Stark to express his reservations.
Doom’s control over the new Marvel continuity is beginning to splinter as rival factions rise in power.
Three weeks after the events in issue #5, much has happened. Corvus Glaive and his wife Proxima Midnight have been captured, and Black Swan is now in Doom’s employ. Doom has tasked his daughter Valeria with discovering Stephen Strange’s murderers, and work has been rather difficult. Not only has it been impossible to figure out what the outsiders are up to, but Valeria has doubts about her father’s intentions — she can no longer fight the nagging suspicion that Doom may be the one actually guilty of Strange’s death.
With Reed Richards and his Ultimate Universe counterpart Reed Richards working on a plan to remove Doom from his throne, a new threat called The Prophet has begun taking over areas of Battleworld. Doom, wanting to focus his attention on the outsiders, tells barons Sinister, Maestor, and Madelyne Pryor to handle the usurper, which only tempts Sinister and Captain Marvel into starting some havoc of their own.
Tony Stark’s hot on the trail of the sniper who killed Miriam Sharpe, but the unforgiven sins of the past will keep the killer safe for another day.
In Civil War #2, Charles Soule tethers the plot points tightly around relationships as we get a better look at the two factions set to go to war. The Blue and The Iron have been set apart by key ideologies which have only widened the gap.
What if Steve Rogers and Tony Stark didn’t settle their differences in the original Civil War crossover?
What if their solution to the conflict was to split a nation into two separate territories governed by their idealogues?
Charles Soule explores that possibility with a Secret Wars mini-series set six years after Cloak’s teleport saves a squad of superheroes while dooming fifteen-million other heroes and civilians. With the country separated down the middle, Rogers and Stark govern their sides according to the principles that separated them before.
Those in the Iron who exhibit superpowers are required to register with the government, while those in Rogers’ Blue are free to do as they wish as long as they harm no one and help out whenever possible.