We’ve definitely hit our Super Tuesday Recap groove cause we’re back already with a new episode. This time we bring in Rod from The Black Guy Who Tips to also share his thoughts on Secret Empire. We also wanted to do a follow up to our last episode on Secret Empire now that the wrap-up issue, Secret Empire: Omega, has come out. In our last episode we speculated about what would be in Omega and it turns out, it was even better than we thought. Secret Empire: Omega really lays out the moral issue at the heart of the event: How much different was Hydra Steve from the previous government and people in place? Hydra Steve's methods were direct and easy to call fascist but he was only able to get as far as he did because the moral compass of America was already in decay. Here are some things that stood out to us:
Stevil (Hydra Steve) Questioning America
One of the most nuanced points Nick Spencer was making in Secret Empire was missed by the conversation being stuck on “Captain America is a Nazi”. To me, the bigger point of Secret Empire was challenging the idea of America that Steve Rogers believes in. First there’s Stevil (that’s his name now instead of Hydra Cap) pointing out that technically nothing he did was illegal and therefore there is now an interesting legal issue about how to prosecute him. He didn’t take power, he was given it. And when Steve retorts that they'll find a way to hold him accountable, Stevil says ""Now, That I don't doubt. These so-called laws were never put in place to protect anyone you didn't want protected." For an evil fascist, Stevil makes an incredible point about the criminal justice system in America.
Even more interesting is when Stevil points out to Steve that his real problem is going to be facing the fact that a lot of America agreed with his fascist policies. They wanted Inhumans locked up. They were okay with the brutality as long as the economy was booming. They enjoyed the strength and power that Stevil projected. Stevil was basically describing Trump voters. This is something we see throughout history in America. As much as we can decry Trump’s America, 60 million people voted for him and gave him the power. Steve almost seems naïve to the fact that Stevil won a lot of hearts and minds and that’s going to need to be overcome.
Hydra is More Dangerous
For the longest time in the comics Hydra were a punchline. Yes certain people like the Red Skull or Zemo were dangerous and there was even Secret Warriors where it was revealed that Hydra had infiltrated Shield. But overall, Hydra was mostly cannon fodder for heroes. Not anymore though. Now, Hydra will be full of “true believers”. As Stevil said, now those in Hydra will be true believers fighting to get back a history they believe was stolen from them. This isn’t the group of uneducated racist rednecks the Red Skull was recruiting. Or even the unassuming college students Hydra was going after in Secret Warriors. These true believers will now be working and fighting even harder and that will make them the most dangerous form of Hydra yet. They got a taste of what victory meant and will do anything to get it back. The fact that one of the guards watching over Stevil whispers “Hail Hydra” to him at the end is all the evidence you need that this is going to escalate. The Trial of Steve Rogers is going to be interesting.
How Will Steve Rogers Rebuild His Name
Count me as one of the people that does wish Sam Wilson was sticking around as Captain America. I definitely get why Sam doesn’t want the job anymore but I think he was great as Captain America. But I think this will also create a unique dynamic. Steve is going to have to work really hard to earn the trust of the people again. I even expect there to be people asking why Steve is Captain America and not Sam. I’m even hoping for a #NotMyCaptainAmerica campaign going on (in the comics) against Steve just like there was for Sam. For the first time Steve finds himself having to earn the trust of the people back. Steve says he’s okay with this because he believes people shouldn’t put so much trust into one individual, but I think he’s going to find its easier to say that than live it when you’re the person people distrust.
What’s Next for Mutants
Again, Secret Empire isn’t just commentary on fascism but its commentary on America. Just look at our mutants are treated. Not only did the US government void the New Tian treaty, they then destroyed it using Sentinels. As the conversation between Emma & Hank points out, fascism means different things to mutants than the everyday American. This isn’t too far from the truth in real life. How many treaties with Native Americans has the US Government voided or simply ignored? How many people are shocked by the dealings of the Trump Administration which are simply the in line with a lot of things people of color have been warning about for decades? Fascism in America seems to be in the eye of the beholder for a lot of things. In a way, mutants faired better under the fascist Stevil than the “not fascist” US Government. That’s not to say that Stevil’s view of mutants was any better but at least he dropped the facade and was open and up front. Mutants are now back to living under a government that will pat themselves on the back for overthrowing fascism while using weapons of mass destruction & terror to destroy New Tian.
Again, Secret Empire was such a great event and I think there will be a lot of discussions that will spin out from it once people actually dive into the details of what actually happened. Listen to our full discussion at the top of the page or on iTunes, Stitcher or Google (or your favorite podcast app).