Comic Review: Secret Empire #3

I've been trying to give this a chance.

When Captain America initially was turned into a key Hydra cog I urged readers to let this story progress, to see where it leads. 

Well, if this is where it has led to then I was a bigger fool than I could have guessed. 

Secret Empire is a dour, joyless thing foisted upon a reading public that is thin on patience and has a tenuous (at best) interest in yet another line-wide crossover. Bringing in a sublime artist like Andrea Sorrentino was supposed to bring some noise to an otherwise blasé event, but here even his artwork seems cluttered, too dark, and is an awkward fit.

 It's like "Annihilation" never happened. 

It's like "Annihilation" never happened. 

The only redeeming part of this issue -- which sees Cap order a sacred temple in Atlantis destroyed, trying to reason with Sharon Carter, and Black Widow giving young heroes a GRIMDARK lesson -- was when writer Nick Spencer got to write Boomerang, the villain he helped make compelling in Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Boomerang was funny and seemed greasy/sleazy in all the best ways. Hell, his appearances were the only time I've cracked half a smile during all this Secret Empire nonsense. 

Other things that made my stomach curdle in this issue: Black Widow referring to the characters that have carried Marvel over the last 40 years as the "old guard"; Punisher in a Hydra uniform; Hank Pym seemingly merged with Ultron; Sam Wilson being a glum asshole; Taskmaster's open-jawed fucking dumb mask; that horrible Chris Pratt wannabe GotG opening. 

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This series just keeps digging its heels in, smacking readers across the face and telling them, "THIS IS GOOD YOU JUST DON'T GET IT." I'd normally stay the course, say "wait until the end!" But this is not fun. This is Zack Snyder-directing-Marvel-type of gritty, style-over-substance bullshit. 

2 out of 10 Grim n' Gritties