"The Secret Empire" (1974/01/01)
"When a Legend Dies!" Captain America 169 (January 1974)
"J’Accuse!" Captain America 170 (February 1974)
"Bust-Out!" Captain America 171 (March 1974)
"Believe It or Not: The Banshee!" Captain America 172 (April 1974)
"The Sins of the Secret Empire!" Captain America 173 (May 1974)
"It’s Always Darkest!" Captain America 174 (June 1974)
"...Before the Dawn!" Captain America 175 (July 1974)
Reader Rating: Average; Thunderbolts Interest: Low
Summary: The elaborate plot of the Secret Empire begins with framing Captain America for the murder of the Tumbler. On the run, Cap battles the Banshee and the original Moonstone, and ends up allied with the original X-Men (notably Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Professor X). The Falcon takes a side trip for an adventure with the Black Panther.
Continuity: Prior to the first appearance of Karla Sofen, this story establishes how the moonstone itself first manifested its powers. It also introduces Lloyd Bloch, who will return to hound Karla as Nefarius. Footnotes explain that the moonstone comes from the Watcher’s blue city, but the suggestion that the Watcher’s powers have "something to do with" the moonstone’s energies is wrong; the Thunderbolts will learn the truth years from now in "Heroic Tendencies (Part 2)" (2001/02/01). Lloyd theorizes that the stone interacts with him because his biochemistry is "unique," and he may be on to something since his powers manifest a bit differently than Karla’s: Besides flight, great strength and laser blasts, this Moonstone can move with great speed and turn invisible.
Comments: Steve Englehart is a smart writer, but his timing was bad here: he found himself caught in a Madison Avenue conspiracy while Watergate was breaking in the real world. His powerful reaction became the infamous final scene. The story, meanwhile, develops awkwardly (mostly, I think, due to Sal Buscema’s primitive art technique), but has a lot of drive and entertaining plot twists.
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This page was revised on July 17, 2001
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