After a year of foreshadowing, Secret Empire is finally here, and it's going to strike with a vengeance. U.S.Avengers #5 is billed as an opening prologue, if you will, to the beginning of the event, and with good reason. It's an excellent prequel to the event, but also a fairly uncomplicated issue for your average reader. Next month, the Marvel world will find out that Steve Rogers is secretly an agent of Hydra, but not of his own volition.
Rather, his backstory has been warped by a living Cosmic Cube. She was raised as a toddler by the Red Skull and has a very black-and-white view of humanity as a result. She genuinely believes that she helped Steve by restoring his youth and changing his history back in Avengers: Standoff, as odd as it sounds. Still, that is a story for next month. Now, we're focused on the reverse: A gang of villainous scientists re-purposed by the most American superheroes of all in U.S.Avengers!
Steve Roger's portrayal is incredible. Everything- the pacing, the lighting, the shading, every panel is composed as deliberately as possible. It's meant to project an aura of menace, and one of false hope. Sometimes, half of his body has a dark glow outlining him, showing how ominous he is. The writing is also very good. Steve's entire goal here is specifically calculated to undercut Sunspot, not only to keep him guessing about his role on the team, but also to mentally undermine him. His entire spiel goes from complimenting and reassuring Roberto to giving him a harsh dressing-down.
And on the lighter side of things, we get the return of Gorilla-Man! Or, as he refers to himself, Arthur Nagan, king of the gorilla men! Personally, I think that the Red Ghost might have something to say about that, but that's just me. After the Red Hulk's special patch runs out of time and he reverts back to human form, Arthur is about to kill him, but Squirrel Girl and her army of squirrels arrive in the nick of time.
U.S.Avengers #5 is written by Al Ewing, drawn by Paco Diaz, colored by Jesus Aburtov, and lettered by VC's Joe Caramagna. You can find it at your local comic book shop.
Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.