This week is a bit smaller week in terms of the number of books to read, but there are some pretty major books that were released this week. Major events in both publishers were pushed forward, with Marvel surprisingly doing a great job with their latest, Secret Empire, at least in terms of originality.
With that in mind, let’s get this short but sweet rundown rolling!
We’re going to get the big one out of the way here, because Secret Empire is shockingly good. Really good. Like, really, really good. After Captain America’s history is re-written by the Cosmic Cube to have secretly been an agent of Hydra all along, Steve Rogers slowly and methodically takes the reins of the entire world. Manipulating defense agencies, and his fellow Avengers. Captain Marvel is trapped outside an impenetrable shield around Earth, along with the rest of Alpha Flight Initiative.
However, our story follows a small resistance band, led by Hawkeye, and the AI of Tony Stark. It’s a surprisingly personal story that does a great job of showing just how quickly Hydra was able to take the world with Rogers at the helm. Throughout the title, we’re shown glimpses of Captain America still being a good man at heart, albeit a man who works for a terrorist organization. It’s definitely worth a read, even if you’re like me, and generally hate Marvel’s events. They’re usually convoluted, and just not well-written, but something felt different about this one, and I would definitely recommend it.
The other major event being pushed forward, DC’s The Button, was also on display this week, with the Flash and Batman being taken by the cosmic treadmill to the world of Flashpoint, which is being mysterious held aloft by an unknown presence. Batman confronts his father, Thomas Wayne, the Flashpoint Batman, and the two fight together, reminiscing about Bruce’s childhood while fighting off the goons of Aquaman and Wonder Woman of that alternate history.
I was expecting a lot more revelation from this book, but instead, the status quo is just reset again. They arrive on Flashpoint, which is still standing. Then, whatever is holding the universe together begins to unravel. Thomas Wayne opts to stay behind after Flash fixes the treadmill, but gifts his son with one last piece of advice. Don’t Be Batman. Words that will most likely reverberate through the mind of Bruce Wayne, sparking something in the future. After they get the treadmill working, they find Thawne, running through time with the Button still in his hand – a point before he is killed by the mysterious god.
I honestly feel like this could have been done in a different way. Unless the encounter with Thomas Wayne was a set-up for something bigger. They could’ve just jumped on the treadmill, and just watched time unravel around them, catching up to Thawne and the button from the start. It seemed counter-intuitive, but I’m still incredibly vested in this story, and can’t wait for next week.
The other DC title I’m reading this week is much more personal. The town that Lois and Clark live with their son, Jon, is starting to fall apart at the seams. Many of the residents are revealing themselves to be not at all what they seem, and Lois is on her own. Superman, Jon, Batman, and Damian have all disappeared, and after Lois is confronted by the townspeople, she breaks out her souvenir from the moon: the Hellbat gauntlet, and proceeds to kick-ass as only Lois could.
This story is so immensely interesting, and it’s been such a slow burn in so many ways. Superman is easily the strongest book in the Rebirth lineup, with both it and Action Comics being great reads, with a ton of revelations about the universe itself.