I finally got round to reading Secret Empire #7 this week (only about a month late) and it did not disappoint. And something big happened. However, I haven’t talked about Secret Empire since I did #1 back here so I feel a re-CAP (ahem… I’ll get my coat…) is required.

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So there we have it. Some people may call that lazy, I prefer the term “efficient.”

Cap’s still a dick, Widow is out to get him, Hulk came back from the dead (minus the arrow between his eyes), smashed for a bit then keeled over and once again perished. A move I feel devalued the Hulk a little but I guess that would be the point they’re trying to make about Cap and his tactics.

The issue starts with an alternate Steve Rogers, and if you listen to the podcasts you’ll know I believe this to be a deep dark part of Captain Hydramerica’s mind, taking a beating from a Red Skull. If you’ve been reading Captain America alongside Secret Empire, you’ll know Skull is dead. If not, I’ve just told you, so now you know. That’s what leads me to my conclusion. But that’s pretty much it for this part of the story at the moment. It appears to suggest a potential link to evil Cap’s thoughts in the next couple of pages but maybe I’m overthinking it. Evil Cap is brooding over the loss of Madame Hydra in the last issue (his fault, he attacked the underground) when AI Tony Stark blew himself up trying to kill Cap. Madame Hydra banished Cap away at the last second, leaving herself right at the epicentre of the blast. Dumbass…

So Cap’s gonna give a speech on the steps of the Capitol Building, addressing his future vision for the American government under his leadership. Black Widow has other plans.

20170822_215154She has brought her Red Room team along to carry out an assassination of Steve and end it all. However, she’s left Miles behind as he believes he’s the one that’s going to kill him.

This all goes back to Civil War II in which the new Inhuman Ulysses shared a Vision with a lot of heroes in which Miles Morales was standing over the body of a skewered Super Soldier on the steps of the Capitol Building, sparking a further division in the war as Captain Marvel tried to arrest him for something he hadn’t done.

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Despite having a total freakout at the time, Miles seemed much more in control about confronting Cap this time. Like I said earlier though, Widow locks him in the van as she doesn’t want him to become like her. The mission starts when a powerful Inhuman named Mosaic, who was rescued by Widow and her team in a previous issue, turns Hydra’s army against each other. In the confusion, Widow lines up the sniper rifle ready to shoot when suddenly Punisher turns up, all Hydra’d out. While they fight it out, Miles escapes from the van. The fight goes back and forth as you’d expect, but ends when Widow puts a blade through each of Frank’s legs. He drops to the ground and lets her in on why he’s doing it.

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Now bearing in mind the cosmic cube is what started all this, rewriting Cap’s history, could it be possible that Steve Rogers is such a strong willed character that even that isn’t enough to turn him completely, and deep down he knows he needs to play this role until he can gather the fragments of the cube?

When Natasha looks back down her sniper scope, she sees Miles heading straight for Cap. She jumps down and runs to push Miles out of the way and ends up on the receiving end of a blow from Cap’s shield – right in the side of the neck. Widow is dead before she hits the ground and Ultimate Spidey goes beserker rage on Cap, beating seven shades of shit out of him. Cap doesn’t stand a chance and Miles ends up standing with a defeated Cap, hanging him over a spike, just like in Ulysses’ vision. However, the rest of the Red Room team convince him not to do it and he throws Cap to the ground, battered, but alive. The team are arrested as Cap is helped away, asking to see Sharon Carter. She has another little surprise for him though and he narrowly avoids having a wooden stake stuffed through his throat. Obviously, she is quickly ejected and placed in a cell. probably back in the same one Rick Jones sat in prior to his execution.

Meanwhile, dreamworld Red Skull is still treating Steve Rogers like a pinata when Steve sees a woman watching between the trees (Sharon?) and gets a burst of energy, charging off the edge of a cliff with Red Skull and hitting the water below. I imagine his journey will end with Cap in the real world regaining control of the cube and re-writing history correctly as though nothing had happened. It’ll feel a bit cheap, but given how different the world is under Hydra, it would make sense.

That rounds up number 7 out of 10 (originally announced as a 9 parter, but there’s so much story to cram in, so Marvel have added an extra issue). Not sure where the story can go from here. I assume the Red Room team will have execution hanging over their head. Hawkeye and his team back in The Painted Desert will need to get themselves involved again after last issue’s ass kicking. Which is looking likely given the final frame of the issue was an image of Sam Wilson back in his Cap gear, holding the classic round shield up high.

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Now throughout Secret Empire, Sam has been “retired” and not willing to get involved. Can’t help but think he’s the cop who’s 3 days away from retirement in all those movies. But who knows, could he be the man to turn the tide?

So what do you think? Have I missed anything? You still there? Hello? Hello??

David