February 10, 2017

Can “Secret Empire” Lead to Marvel’s “Rebirth?”

Secret Empire

Secret Empire

(AOTN) For Marvel Comics, the new American reality has lead to this question: Can a Hydra-loving Captain America really bring an era of good feeling (and good sales) back to the Marvel Universe? And will their newest crossover blockbuster, SECRET EMPIRE,  hold the line for Disney’s dominance their multi front war with Warner Bros.?


A funny thing happened on the way to Marvel Comics’ complete domination of the comics market. Namely, the 2016 Presidential Election. Now, that’s not to say Donald Trump’s victory in the Electoral College was unwelcomed in all corners of the Marvel Empire. In fact, Marvel CEO David Perlmutter stands out as staunch Trump booster, with serious talk about his consideration for a position in the Administration. However, given the three year thrust towards diversifying Marvel’s roster both on the page and behind the scenes, the Republican shift in the political culture seemingly left their sales division thinking that they would have been Stronger with Hillary.


In fact, a marketplace that mostly favored Marvel product during the five years of the Great Comic Book Sales Revival has swung towards DC Comics during the last six months. A check of the sales figures for the two  publishers in that time frame has a lot more appearances by “Batman” and the “Suicide Squad ” at the top of the charts than “Thor” and “Ms. Marvel.”


This is in great part to the warm reception that DC’s universal reboot “Rebirth” garnered with fans and critics. Seen as a needed self-correction after the divisive “New 52” reboot, “Rebirth” has been a new start for sales with DC’s comic line, putting the publisher in sales territory not seen since the pre “Flashpoint” era. 


If you’ve been noticing whispering around fandom concerning the cool reception to both “Secret Wars III” and “Civil War II” well, so has Marvel… While both sold well enough, the fan and critical reception was not a universally loved as Marvel Crossovers past. Adding to the mixed bag is the soft sales for “X-Men v Inhumans.”  Any threat to Marvel/ Disney’s dominance in the Super Hero movie chase is serious,  as any Marvel Comic storyline in the present  will be IP for Marvel Studios in the future. In fact, the idea of the Inhumans being the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s answer to FOX’s X-Men films has been apparently scuttled by the lack of interest in Attilan’s Finest. Maybe a hero like Black Bolt, who can’t speak for fear of blowing up the spot, isn’t  the ideal leading man for a feature film that needs to make in the range of $800 million dollars.


Secret EmpireWith these issues in mind, the pronouncement from on high is clear: Make Marvel Happy Again. After three years of a fractured Marvel Universe, the goal of SECRET EMPIRE is to unite all their heroes in a common cause around Evil Captain America’s neck…


The advance press info from Marvel sets the scene. Due to the manipulations of the Red Skull, Captain America, secretly a true believer in the cause of Hydra, uses the trust and respect he has gained over the years to a position where he can enacts Hydra’s ideals against the Marvel Universe and it’s up to all heroes to unite against one of the greatest challenges they have ever faced.


Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso said, “SECRET EMPIRE is the rallying cry for all the heroes — Avengers, Guardians, Defenders, X-Men, Spider-Man, Deadpool – to put aside their differences and unify in the defense of the Marvel Universe.”


That unification is what will be needed to confront Steve Rogers since all the heroes close to Cap have been be influenced by him over the years. SVP and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort said, “Our heroes will be tested both physically and morally against one of the most trusted heroes of all time and that’s the aspect of this story our characters face and what forces them to come together.”


Forged together as one – the Avengers, the Champions, the Defenders, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Inhumans, the X-Men, and more will be tested as Hydra’s grip tightens around the Marvel Universe and SECRET EMPIRE unleashes a horde of villains against those who have sworn to protect the innocent.


Based on that, Marvel is clearly hoping for a old-school, heroes united storyline, where everyone plays nice to meet the challenge of a greater evil. Perhaps a timely message.


Perhaps even more intriguing is the rumor that Marvel is considering a “Rebirth” style undoing of the “Secret Wars III” unification of the Marvel Multiverse, ala what DC has done. Which proves the old adage again… Eventually everything old comes back around in comics and only Uncle Ben stays dead (ouch).


Keeping watching this space for further analysis and updates on upcoming moves for both Marvel and DC. Who knows? Maybe they’ll bring back the Comic Code stamp…


About the Author

Jason Stewart
Jason Malcolm Stewart is a Northern California-based author, journalist and public relations/marketing professional. He holds degrees in Political Science and Comparative Religion, but can have a conversation without starting a small war. When he's not writing or reading, J. Malcolm spends his weekends talking about how to avoid being in a real-life horror movie. add blog



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