This week, Marvel finally kicked off its much hyped summer event Secret Empire with the release of Secret Empire #0 in which Captain America: Steve Rogers writer Nick Spencer and artist Daniel Acuna show how Hydra conquers Marvel’s Earth – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Spoilers ahead for Secret Empire #0.
The big moments start right out of the gate, with Steve Rogers visiting Leviathan’s Kraken at the tail end of World War II. Kraken explains that, even though Hydra and the Nazis are winning the war, the allies have invented a weapon that will bring them victory – a Cosmic Cube.
Warning Steve that ththe Allies' Cosmic Cube will change reality – and Steve with it – Kraken sends Steve through a portal that will preserve his Hydra allegiance even though the allies will rewrite history so they have won the war.
Jumping to modern-day times, Steve coordinates efforts between S.H.I.E.L.D. and various superhero teams to tackle a series of global crises in the present day. What the heroes don’t know is that these crises – the Chitauri invasion, the Pleasant Hill supervillains storming Manhattan – have been orchestrated by Rogers himself as part of his plan for Hydra’s conquest.
Hyperion and Quasar are both taken down by Chitauri, meanwhile RiRi Williams and her Tony Stark A.I. are working on Steve and Carol’s global shield. When it finally comes online, it’s too late.
As another wave of Chitauri arrive, Nitro, one of the Pleasant Hill supervillains, detonates himself in Manhattan (in a scene reminiscent of the opening of the original Civil War).
Just as all seems lost, the President of the United States declares a state of emergency, giving Steve special political powers. As Steve seizes control and uses his new powers to commandeer the situation, it looks like the day is saved - but then everything goes wrong as two S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarriers collide, with Hydra soldiers pouring from the hijacked ship onto the ship where Steve awaits.
With the final piece of his plan in place, Steve openly turns on his allies, having even his longtime confidante and lover Sharon Carter taken into custody. Reactivating his Earth shield, he traps Captain Marvel, the Ultimates, and Alpha Flight in space between Earth and the still-growing Chitauri invasion.
RiRi and her Stark A.I. detect anomalies in the shield, suggesting foul play, but it’s too late. Carol and her team are already trapped outside. As they rally the heroes, Zemo sends in Blackout to cover Manhattan in darkness, and S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarriers are seen arriving at the White House.
Secret Empire #1 is due out on shelves May 3.