It’s Actually A Pretty Obvious Empire…

Even Hydra agents jack Janky old Iron Man suits from Tony Stark. That’s CANON now.

Seriously, it is Marvel Canon. In a recent issue of the “Agents of SHIELD” comic, Grant Ward, the Hydra Agent mole on their team of spies gets a hold of a janky old Iron Man Suit, and tricks it out with the “Coulson Protocols.” The Coulson Protocols are basically Phil’s nemesis power file on every known super hero…which arguably does work well in even a vintage 70’s Iron Man suit.

Grant Ward, of course, was the boring character that the SHIELD television show tried to make cool for three seasons, and the comic tried to make cool for a bit afterward. Neither worked.

Why am I commenting on this, artistically, though?

First of all…Grant Ward was a terrible character, and I’m still mad that he was inserted into comics continuity. So, there is that.

Second…the summer crossover season looms ahead of us, and this one will be “Secret Empire”, a Hydra driven plotline. I’m not sure how I feel about that, to be honest. I rather like the old school “Captain America and the Falcon” plot of the same name, from the seventies. That was one of the first instances of an A-list character quitting in a huff, and also one of the first attempts at injecting real politics into comics. In many ways, very ground breaking stuff.

I’m not sure that re-using the title is going to result in similarly ground breaking material. In fact…I would argue that this would not be the case. Granted…the last two summers have seen “Secret Wars” and “Civil War II”, both recycled titles and concepts. Both were surprisingly good. I just feel that at this point Hydra is a bit overplayed….the “Hail Hydra” meme made its rounds years ago, and we have seen Hydra play out more than once on the big screen and on the SHIELD television show. Hydra, as an idea, is really heavily understood, really an aggressively played hand.

After a while…that ceases to be very interesting. I’d rather have truly new material. Half the fun of the initial “Secret Empire” was that very point…it was very new material. Dated by modern standards…but new. Fresh.

One month out from Free Comic Book Day, Marvel is very much ramping up its hype on the project, trying to generate interest. My personal feelings are pretty unclear about the idea…it is the logical conclusion of both the Captain America plot, and the material set up in “Civil War II.” Those are serious positives.

In the negative column…I really like shorter plots. I’m a big fan of “done in one” or two part stories. The idea of a running narrative that winds back a year, or two years…it has a decent amount to sell it in terms of complexity, but it rapidly becomes impenetrable to readers, both new and old.

As I approach Spring Break, I’m thinking more about comics than about classwork…hence today’s post, True Believers!

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