This week, Marvel Comics released a series of teasers hinting at an upcoming spring 2017 "Secret Empire" storyline.
The teasers began with a simple text logo that included Steve Rogers' Captain America shield at the center. That's enough to assume that the storyline will feature Rogers as a central character.
However, as more and more teasers were released with cryptic messages a pattern was found. Each teaser included a keyword that seemed to reference another Marvel Comics character or series.
Perhaps by looking closely at each teaser it is possible to discern just where fans should be looking for additional clues and how far the reach of the Secret Empire really is.
"The Secret Empire Will Amaze You."
The keyword here is "Amaze." This seems to point towards Amazing Spider-Man, the flagship title of the Spider-Man comic book line.
It is also the Spider-Man comic that focuses on the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker, as opposed to Spider-Man, which stars Miles Morales, or Spider-Man 2099, which follows Miguel O'Hara.
It seems that Peter Parker will have a role to play in whatever the "Secret Empire" storyline is about. Currently, Peter is in the midst of an event of his own. The Clone Conspiracy brought Peter's clone and former ally, Ben Reilly, back from the dead in an unexpected way.prevnext
"The Secret Empire Will Avenge You."
This seemingly fatalistic statement hinges on the keyword "Avenge." This is a reference to the Avengers, Marvel's premiere superhero team.
The current Avengers lineup consists of Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Captain America (Sam Wilson), Thor (Jane Foster), the Wasp (Nadia Pym), Hercules, and the Vision. The group is currently embroiled in a time-spanning war with Kang the Conqueror.
Whether this tease is meant to refer specifically to Avengers, the ongoing series that features the prime Avengers team, or the Avengers as a wider concept, which could reach several more characters, is unknown.prevnext
"The Secret Empire Will Champion You."
This teaser proves that the "Secret Empire" story will not pass over Marvel's younger generation of new characters and legacy heroes.
The keyword in this teaser is "Champion." This is a reference to Champions, the flagship title of the Marvel NOW! publishing intiative.
Champions follows a new team of young heroes that includes Ms. Marvel, the Totally Awesome Hulk, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Nova (Sam Alexander), Viv Vision, and Cyclops.
After suffering from a sense of disillusionment after following the events of Civil War II, the Champions have set out to rethink the way superhero work is done in the Marvel Universe.prevnext
"The Secret Empire Will Defend You."
The key word in this teaser is "defend." If not for an announcement earlier this week, this teaser would seem to have no antecedent. Fortunately, Marvel Comics just announced a brand new Defenders series featuring the same street-level vigilantes as Marvel Television's popular Netflix series.
The Defenders lineup is Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. Though all have spent time as Avengers and have crossed each other's paths in the past, the new Defenders series will be the first time all four characters have come together as a formal team.prevnext
Guardians of the Galaxy
"The Secret Empire Will Guard You."
The keyword here is "guard," a reference to the Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel's team of cosmic scoundrels.
The inclusion of a spacefaring team like the Guardians of the Galaxy in a series that seems to be concerned with terrestrial matters is unexpected. The Guardians of the Galaxy are going through a period fo change. The team is currently stranded on Earth for the final arc of the current Guardians of the Galaxy series, but will return to the stars in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy in May.
Perhaps then the "Secret Empire" story takes place before the Guardians of the Galaxy leave Earth. Or maybe the Secret Empire's reach isn't limited to one planet.prevnext
"We Live In X-Citing Times"
The stylized spelling of "X-Citing" in this teaser is a dead giveaway. The teaser can only be referring to the X-Men.
The X-Men is another Marvel superhero team undergoing some big changes. The X-Men are currently fighting a war for their very survival against the Inhumans.
Once the dust of Inhumans vs. X-Men settles, the X-Men will reform into new teams. Kitty Pryde, the who has been taking time away from the X-Men and adventuring with the Guardians of the Galaxy in space since Secret Wars, will return to the X-Men in a position of leadership.prevnext
United We Stand
A final teaser was released that broke from the cryptic formatting of the previous teasers.
The teaser features the Captain America shield and "Secret Empire" logo. The teaser text reads "United We Stand" and the images features several Marvel Heroes charging forth.
The "United We Stand" tagline is a noteworthy inversion of the "Divided We Stand" tagline used on the Marvel NOW! teaser.0comments
Some of these heroes are representative of groups referenced in previous teasers, such as Old Man Logan of the X-Men and Rocket Raccoon of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Still other have no current affiliation with any of the aforementioned groups. These heroes include Black Bolt of the Inhumans, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther.
It would seem the reach of the Secret Empire extends further than anyone may know or expect.prev