Steve Rogers may have wrested control of the United States from its duly elected racist orange politicians, but the rise of HYDRA has been moderately worse in comparison. With Earth’s mightiest heroes either stuck in purgatory or outside of the planet, Captain America’s rule has largely been left unchallenged, save for the rebirth of the Champions and their attempts to rewrite history.
There’s been one other thread amongst the chaos of Secret Empire that was finally unravelled this week. Revealed back in Civil War II, was a prophecy that Spider-Man would be responsible for the death of Captain America, as a vision showed Miles Morales standing with bloody fists above a beaten and apparently dead Steve Rogers.
This week, someone did die. Spoilers below.
Here’s the thing with Secret Empire: While the remnants of the Avengers and any other hero left uncorrupted by the march of HYDRA may have been on a quest to rebuild the Cosmic Cube, some heroes were looking at a more pragmatic approach to stopping Captain America: Killing him. Convinced that the Inhuman Ulysses’s vision of the future would come true, Miles and the champions set off on a collision course to end his reign permanently.
Led by Natasha Romanoff AKA the very very angry Black Widow, the plan was simple: Infiltrate a HYDRA public event, create chaos and give the Black Widow time to plant a bullet in the head of Rogers so that Spider-Man could avoid staining his hands with blood. A plan that should have been executed easily and with the minimum of fuss.
You know what they say about the best-laid plans, right?
In a misdirect of note, it’s not Captain America who falls but rather Natasha. Desperate to keep Miles from tainting his legacy with murder, Natasha rushes the stage as the two battle and falls victim to what has to be a definite killing blow. Vibranium shield edge to a spinal cord delivered with enough force to stop a truck? There ain’t no getting up from that. It’s of course framed in a way that’s made to look accidental, as this version of Rogers still appears to have some decency inside of him. Albeit aimed in the wrong direction.
That leaves an enraged Miles to come devastatingly close to fulfilling the original prophecy, stopping himself at the last minute from becoming a killer. Too long, didn’t read? HYDRA still wins. It’s a shocking twist, but one that doesn’t feel like it has much weight to it. Natasha’s death merely cements Captain America’s role in the Secret Empire saga as that of a man who truly is willing to kill for his new HYDRA-aligned belief.
It’s just a pity that the person in question, no matter how badass she is at introducing the Punisher’s legs to twin daggers, may be just as terrible as Captain America as Natasha represented the extreme opposite side of the conflict. Kind of sums up American politics nicely, doesn’t it?
Last Updated: July 27, 2017