Secret Empire #4 continues Nick Spencer’s trend of success in epic storytelling, as two factions of Avengers race to get a fragment of the Cosmic Cube, going into the territory of the newly forged duo of Hank Pym-Ultron to obtain it!After the slow paced and spectacular first three issues, Nick Spencer ramps things up to full throttle with Secret Empire #4 in an absolutely spectacular and action packed issue. While the action in this issue is fantastic and gripping, the thing that shines most in this story is the character interactions, as Nick Spencer knocks it out of the park in the way that he manages to bring heroes who were once friends and now bitter enemies together to have.. well.. dinner.
While the beginning of the issue continues to show the mysterious circumstances of the second Steve Rogers and sets up an inevitable encounter between Frank Castle (The Punisher) and The Black Widow, the rest of the issue picks up pace as Tony Stark and his resistance race to get the Cosmic Cube fragments before Steve Rogers and his Avengers can get to them. One of these fragments, specifically, is in the domain of Ultron, who has now merged with former Avenger/Ant-Man Hank Pym.
Once both teams of Avengers arrive on the scene, chaos ensues as the respective heroes on each side battle it out in search of the Cube fragment in Ultron’s Domain. Unbeknownst to them, however, is that Ultron wanted both teams there, as he quickly snatches them up, only for them to awake chained up, in a replica of the Avengers Mansion.
It is at this point in which Nick Spencer takes the issue to a whole other level, in terms of storytelling, the meta commentary on the Comic Book Industry and Heroes in the story themselves is genius, and one that is a particularly enjoyable read. Rather than focusing so much on action (although it is very much still a factor in this issue) Nick Spencer digs deep for some rich character development and interactions, as he is able to take from the years of the characters shared histories with one another for an amusing Dinner Conversation as Hank Pym-Ultron tries to bring them together again through dinner, all while deciding who should get the cosmic cube fragment. When Tony Stark triggers Hank Pym-Ultron into going on a rant about his mistake sof the past and how they define him. It is in this moment that Nick Spencer brilliantly tells the struggle of storytelling for most comic writers in the industry, and even the state of comic book events in general as well. Even in the story Marvel aims to tell, it is redefining how Comic Book Events should be done, and sets a whole new standard with SECRET EMPIRE. SECRET EMPIRE #4 manages to hit all the right beats in terms of story and art, with pencils by Leinil Francis Yu providing some raw and intense artwork this issue. A lot of lower tier characters also manage to get their time to shine, as well as some sweet callbacks to previous events. Overall, Secret Empire #4 is fantastic issue, and Secret Empire as a whole has been a fantastic event that has me excited for the next issue that comes out.
SECRET EMPIRE #4 Is in Stores Now