After several teaser images, the plan for Marvel Comics' next event, Secret Empire, has been unveiled in an article with its Disney sister company, ABC. The Hydra sleeper agent Captain America pushes his secret machinations public in what Marvel Senior VP Tom Brevoort described as "a Watergate moment" which mobilizes Marvel's other heroes to stop him.
"Steve has been kind of lining his dominoes up around the Marvel Universe to be able to make his move and bring about a Hydra revolution, a takeover," Brevoort said. "At the point of Secret Empire, they are ready to go. That's the moment we hit as we go in."
Nick Spencer, who crafted Steve Rogers' "Superior Soldier"-style turn last year, will write Secret Empire, with a rotating team of artists to include Steve McNiven, Andrea Sorrentino, Leinil Yu, and Daniel Acuna. Mark Brooks is lined up to illustrate the series' primary covers.
Since the revelation of Steve Rogers' sleeper agent status was revealed in May 2016's Captain America: Steve Rogers, the classic Marvel hero has been shown to be slowly orchestrating a series of events to equip himself and Hydra for a takeover of the world. Rogers has been shown to have orchestrated many of the events of Civil War II, including the murder of Bruce Banner - for which he later took possession of the original Hulk's zombified body.
According to Brevoort, Secret Empire is where Hydra's private plans go public.
"We are done with the covert portion, the buildup portion of the program, Secret Empire if the pyrotechnics, the big Michael Bay blockbuster, huge colossal struggles and battles across the Marvel Universe, with all of our key characters and players taking on a big role," said Brevoort.
Secret Empire comes at a time where all of the founding Avengers save semi-retired Janet Van Dyne (a.k.a. the original Wasp) are either dead, incapacitated, or off the board. With the advent of "Divided We Stand" last year, a newer crop of heroes - many taking the names of older heroes - have become front-and-center in the Marvel U.
Alonso said that Secret Empire will feature all of Marvel's major teams and families, including the Avengers, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool, the Champions, and the Defenders.
The event kicks off with Secret Empire #0 in April, which Brevoort frames as "the worst day of the Marvel Universe."
"Where not one, not two, but three separate events break out all at once. Cap, as head of S.H.I.E.L.D., is able to mobilize forces to all three of those situations. And those three situations represent Hydra's first move. It comes off the blocks explosively right from the get-go."
Secret Empire is expected to run for nine issues, culminating in an August finale.