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Event Synopsis

As a consequence of the Red Skull's manipulations with a sentient Cosmic Cube named Kobik, Captain America's reality had been altered so he became a Hydra sleeper agent. After months of carefully planning, the different threads of his plan of conquest finally converged as the world was being besieged by three different concurrent crisis.

Firstly, trillions of Chitauri were approaching the Earth at a time the Planetary Defense Shield had been disabled by the attack of a Hydra agent at its generator base. Heavy-hitter superheroes prepared to hold the line while Iron Man and Ironheart fixed the damage. Meanwhile, Manhattan was under attack by the Army of Evil, a group of supervillain ex-prisoners of Pleasant Hill, drawing the attention of the numerous heroes to the scene. Finally, S.H.I.E.L.D. was taking action on a conflict in Sokovia, dispatching six Helicarriers after their base on the scene, Helicarrier Crescent, fell off the radar.

With the heroes being dealt critical blows on all fronts, Captain America began the final step of his plan. Crescent suddenly appeared and crashed into Helicarrier Illiad, having been taken over by Hydra and Doctor Faustus, who had Crescent's crew under his control. Illiad is boarded, and Captain America revealed his true alliegance to Sharon Carter, subsequently ordering Faustus' brainwashing message to be broadcast to the rest of the fleet. It was revealed the Shield's malfunctions were actually purposefully caused by Captain America, with superficial damage of Hydra's attack covering that up. Rogers activated the Shield, leaving Captain Marvel, Alpha Flight and the rest of the heroes on Earth's orbit exiled on the other side. Additionally, the Army of Evil's attack turned out to be a trap, used to lure countless of heroes to Manhattan and trap them within a Darkforce dome which engulfed half the island. Finally, Captain America moved the Helicarriers taken over by Hydra to Washington, D.C..[1]

Months having passed since Hydra's takeover, the people of the United States were getting accustomed to their new fascist regime, mainly due to the use of mind-altering substances in water supplies to increase docility and receptiveness. Mutants had been displaced to the soverign land of New Tian and Inhumans were being held captive in detention facilities. A handful of heroes that hadn't become exiled formed the Underground, an alliance of super-powered and civilian rebels led by Hawkeye stationed in The Mount in Nevada, and others under Hydra's influence joined Hydra's own Avengers.[2]

Still engulfed by the Darkforce dome, Manhattan had become a no man's land plagued by Baron Mordo's demons with Dagger acting as the only source of light for a few hours at a time. The island had no power or communication with the outside world, scarce food and drinkable water, and sickness due to poor sanitation. The heroes struggled to keep order, while the Kingpin took advantage of the situation by offering help in exchange for future retribution.[3]

Following an increment of Underground activity in the area, and the latest display of defiance when members of the Underground evaded custody while recruiting Shaun Lucas, High Council of Hydra pressured Captain America into laying siege to Las Vegas in response to the rebel activity.[2] It turned out Steve didn't order the attack, but had secretly given Madame Hydra the power to do it, and she carried it out.

As a consequence of the attack on Las Vegas, Black Widow set out to assassinate Captain America, and was joined by the younger heroes of the resistance, who didn't intend to kill Rogers but agreed with defeating him. She was opposed by the Tony Stark A.I. and Hawkeye, who planned to find the shards of the fragmented Kobik which had been scattered around the world by her former curator, Erik Selvig. This information was disclosed to the heroes by Rick Jones in a posthumous video message, in which he revealed the origin of Steve's face-heel turn.[3]

The Tony Stark A.I. and Black Widow mobilized to put their plans in motion. While Natasha trained the Champions, the other heroes sought help from the retired Falcon to leave the country. Hydra also began looking for the fragments, destroying an Atlantean temple while trying to retrieve a shard which had fallen in Namor's hands. Captain America additionally put his sights on Black Widow, tasking the Punisher with the mission to track her down.[4]

Both Hydra's Avengers and the Underground clashed at the secret Ultronic Territories in Alaska while trying to obtain a shard fragment in the hands of Hank Pym (who had been merged with Ultron). Ultron captured both groups and tried to have them reconcile, eventually giving the Underground the Cube shard after Ant-Man appealed to him. However, Hydra managed to even the score after Namor surrendered his fragment on account of the safety of his people.[5]

Over the following weeks, Iron Man's team continued globe-trotting in search for the shards, coming empty-handed at the end of most of their incursions, to the point the majority of the team eventually votes to return to The Mount, even if they only had acquired two shards in total. As soon as the heroes returned to the base, Hydra launched an attack after being tipped off,[6] with the mole being Ant-Man, forced to betray his team for the sake his daughter's safety. Using a temporarily-resurrected Hulk, Hydra broke through The Mount's defenses, but the Underground managed to evacuate in time. Being the last rebel to escape, Iron Man was ambushed by Captain America, and hindered by a device that prevented him from transferring elsehwere. After getting his armor heavily damaged when the Hulk crashed through the roof after decomposing, Tony attempted to take down Steve with him by self-destructing his armor, and apologized for having failed to save him. Captain America was saved from the resulting mushroom explosion that destroyed The Mount when Madame Hydra jumped into the scene and used a spell to teleport him to safety at the cost of her own life.[7]

Days later, at the rebuilding ceremony of the Capitol Building, Black Widow launched her assassination plan, revealing Miles one of the reasons for undertaking the mission was to prevent the fulfillment of a vision projected by the Inhuman profiler named Ulysses Cain, which had predicted the young hero was going to murder Rogers. Unfortunately, the Punisher's intervention of delayed the execution of Black Widow's plan, which gave Spider-Man enough time to confront Captain America alone. While Steve and Spider-Man were trading blows, Black Widow stepped in for the kid's safety, taking a hit from Captain America's shield which broke her neck. Enraged, Spider-Man beat up Captain America severely. Wasp stopped him, and convinced him to follow Natasha's wish, that he avoided becoming an assassin like her. Following the arrest of the Champions, Captain America prepared to declare war. Meanwhile, the members of the Underground learned of Black Widow's death, leading Sam Wilson to suit up as Captain America once again.[8]

Notes

Trivia

  • No trivia.

Opening Salvo

Tie-ins

Aftermath

Videos



See Also

Links and References

  • None.

Footnotes

  1. Secret Empire #0
  2. 2.0 2.1 Secret Empire #1
  3. 3.0 3.1 Secret Empire #2
  4. Secret Empire #3
  5. Secret Empire #4
  6. Secret Empire #5
  7. Secret Empire #6
  8. Secret Empire #7
  9. Couto, Anthony (11 January 2017). Latest Marvel Teaser Asks to 'Trust the Secret Empire'. CBR. Retrieved on 10 February 2017.
  10. Damore, Meagan (12 January 2017). Follow Marvel's Secret Empire in Six New Teasers. CBR. Retrieved on 10 February 2017.
  11. Melrose, Kevin (13 January 2017). Marvel Heroes Are 'United' in New Secret Empire Teaser. CBR. Retrieved on 10 February 2017.
  12. Rothman, Michael (10 February 2017). Exclusive: How 'Secret Empire' Will Shake Marvel Universe to Its Core. ABC News. Retrieved on 10 February 2017.