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Secret Empire #2 Review

www.hypergeeky.comWhen 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.

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Secret Empire #1 Review

www.hypergeeky.comThe 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.

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Secret Empire #0 Review

www.hypergeeky.comAfter 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. 

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Civil War II #1 Review

www.hypergeeky.comPrepare yourselves for war!

Again!

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.

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War Within — Captain America: Civil War Review

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was supposed to compete directly with Captain America: Civil War by releasing on the same day, but Warner Bros. decided — wisely — that more money was to be made without forcing audiences to choose between two huge tentpoles.

But both studios knew their movies would be compared ad nauseum — each containing a similar premise where its lead titans would wage war against each other. DC, owning the most famous and more established comic book properties in Superman and Batman, still had a bit more of an uphill climb gearing up for its cinematic universe while Marvel looked forward to continuing its runoff to a climactic Infinity War one-two punch that begins in 2018 — ten years after Iron Man kicked off Phase One.

And it’s clear, after having seen Civil War, that my preference is Marvel’s movie. Not that I have to choose — one can be a fan of both comic movies and companies just like one can be a fan of Warner Bros., Universal Studios, and 20th Century Fox. I love both Guardians of the Galaxy and The Dark Knight without feeling the need to draw lines from one to the other.

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The Greatest Avenger — Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

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Captain America’s first movie had him playing up the role of public servant, popular/populist hero boosting America’s morale during a major World War.

Unfortunately, the movie played itself, churning out montages, a half-baked second half, and an anti-climactic battle with archvillain Red Skull that, altogether, ultimately served the purpose of delivering the Captain to the modern age just in time for the Avengers movie.

The good ol’ Captain deserved more — so much more — and it’s finally here.

The sequel, Winter Soldier, leaves no room for doubting Captain America’s inclusion alongside superheroes Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk in the star-studded and powerful Avengers. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo have elevated Steve Rogers’ status far above just being an embodiment of ideals or a symbolic figurehead.

In this, the greatest of Marvel movies, Captain America shines thanks to a relevant plot, intelligent scripting, and adept direction that doesn’t settle for your standard summer blockbuster.

Coming to terms with the modern world, Captain America still holds fast to the ideals and beliefs of yesteryear. As a member of the Greatest Generation, Rogers (Chris Evans) is man enough to admit mistakes were made, but the quest was for freedom — not fear — which becomes an issue when he sees to what lengths America will go to protect itself.

An attempt on S.H.I.E.L.D. honcho Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) life upends everything and causes Rogers, the Black Widow Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and newcomer Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) to join forces to take on a familiar enemy embedded deep within Fury’s organization.

The fight becomes especially personal for Rogers when he goes toe to toe with another super soldier — a metal-armed assassin known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

Fighting for country without knowing who to trust proves difficult, and there’s a lot of twists and turns as secret identities are revealed, affiliations are chosen, and new villains are introduced. Through it all, the plot stays the course with brilliant action choreography, tense sequences that increase the drama, and great character development that brings some of Rogers’ history full-circle.

Captain America: Winter Soldier is a comic book movie done right, and what the film team has done is build up Captain America’s battle prowess by letting him loose. The parkour sequences with shield tossing don’t feel routine, and the plethora of melee combat scenes never feel stale. A movie like this should be taught to all aspiring filmmakers hoping to take comics from page to silver screen — it builds on the essence of popular characters, brings them into a world worth inhabiting, and unleashes them for full effect without dumbing it down.

It’s a movie that makes you want to believe in superheroes, and then you realize it’s not the shield or the serum that counts. It’s the length we’ll go to protect our friends.

That’s the kind of thing you’d find in a comic, and this is the kind of movie that will bring geeks and movie-goers together in harmony.


Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
IMDB
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo
Written by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Maximiliano Hernandez, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Stan Lee, Callan Mulvey, and Jenny Agutter

Rating: 5 out of 5.