Comic Book / Secret Empire

Secret Empire is the 2017 Marvel Comics Crisis Crossover event, spinning off from the events of Captain America: Steve Rogers and Civil War II.

During the events of Avengers Standoff, Steve Rogers had his youth and Super Soldier serum restored and, at the behest of the replacement Captain America Sam Wilson, returned to duty as the other Captain America. However, what no one knew was that the one who restored Captain America, the young humanoid Cosmic Cube Kobik, had actually transformed Steve into a sleeper agent of the terrorist organization HYDRA via Cosmic Retcon.

After the events of Civil War II, Maria Hill was removed as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Steve was installed as Director after Sharon Carter passed up the offer.

However, that was a VERY bad thing - with Steve at the controls, he seeks to further his goals to rescue HYDRA from itself and take over the world. Now the heroes, broken by the events of said Civil War, must unite to save the day. Can they stop this HYDRA vs. HYDRA civil war and save Steve Rogers from himself?

The main series will be a ten-issue mini-series that will start with an issue 0 in April, then continue on bi-monthly until August. There will be multiple tie-ins involving, at the very least, X-Men, Spider-Man, The Avengers, Champions, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Inhumans and The Defenders.

    Titles Involved 

Main Title

  • Free Comic Book Day: Secret Empire/Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man
  • Secret Empire #0-10


  • Secret Empire: Brave New World #1-5.


  • Secret Empire: Uprising
  • Secret Empire: Underground
  • Secret Empire: United
  • Secret Empire: Omega


Directly following this event is Generations (Marvel Comics), which will lead to a new rebranding for Marvel, known as Marvel Legacy.

Examples of tropes in Secret Empire include:

  • Affably Evil: Steve remains polite and friendly when talking to Sharon and Rick Jones.
  • The Alcoholic: Played With. As he's a hologram, and thus unable to consume alcohol, AI Tony has recalibrated his behavioral modifiers to express his emotional response to their current situation. The rest of the resistance even call him "The Drunk."
  • Alien Invasion: Steve Rogers has the Chitauri invading Earth to further his HYDRA cause.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Gwenpool attends a news program that underwent a HYDRA Hostile Show Takeover. The host asks "are you thinking what I'm thinking?", she goes "you know it"... and then she goes "Baba booey!" for the camera as the host kicks the HYDRA soldiers keeping the two hostage.
  • Back for the Dead: The Secret Warriors return to be immediately killed off by the Wrecking Crew in issue 1 of the Secret Warriors tie-in.
    • Nighthawk bites it - out of costume! - in Occupy Avengers #8, resulting in Deadly Nightshade, one of his supporting cast members from his cancelled book and a member of the Occupy Avengers, taking on his mantle.
  • Back from the Dead: Bruce Banner has been revived by HYDRA to use the Hulk against the resistance, though Steve mentions it's only temporary.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Black Widow gets beaten up in issue #5 of the main series during an interrogation, and her face is still heavily bruised in issue #6.
  • Berserk Button: Ultron-Hank totally snaps when Tony intentionally mention his infamous Jan incident.
  • Big Bad: HYDRA, under the command of Steve Rogers. And arguably Elisa Sinclair, who seems to be behind much of Rogers' corruption.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Quicksilver joins the group setting out to search for the cosmic cube shards because it might help save Wanda.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Steve's key takeover of SHIELD involves using Dr. Fastaus to brainwash SHIELD members by the hundreds so they not only surrender but throw in with Hydra. Ironically, Sharon Carter assumes Fastaus must have done this to Steve, not grasping how he's behind all this.
    • Faustus also does this for AIM but Roberto DaCosta is ready by having prepped his followers with mental defenses created by Professor X. Sadly, Roberto has failed to realize several AIM members (like long-time aide Larry) aren't brainwashed at all but truly believe in HYDRA and soon start attacking from within.
    • In Issue #1, Scarlet Witch and Vision are shown to be part of the Avengers working under HYDRA. The Free Comic Book Day issue reveals that they too were brainwashed - in the midst of battle! Issue 4 reveals that Scarlet Witch is actually possessed by the demon Chthon while Vision is infected by nanites.
  • Break the Haughty: Namor's reasoning for siding with Steve is because Steve got his Avengers to destroy an Atlantian temple with its priests inside after he tried to invoke this trope on Steve.
  • Broken Pedestal: Rick Jones, quite obviously, takes it the worst that Cap is now leading Hydra.
    • Sam Wilson is right behind him as he realizes how Steve was behind so much of the backlash against Sam as Captain America to undermine his spirit before this attack.
  • Canon Immigrant: Issue #1 namedrops Malick Exchange. The Malick family with centuries-long ties to Hydra originated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Black Widow takes this approach to training the Champions to assassinate Steve Rogers.
  • Continuity Snarl: There have been a few continuity issues between the main series and the various tie-ins.
    • The various books indicate that the events are lasting for widely disparate lengths of time. E.g., The X-Men Gold tie-ins take place during the first day that Manhattan is trapped in the Darkforce Dimension, except for the very last page, which is stated to take place 'a few days later' and shows Manhattan having been freed from the Darkforce Dome. However, the Doctor Strange tie-in opens with Doctor Strange saying that the Dome has been up for multiple weeks while he's worked to assemble ingredients for a spell. And the main series indicates that months have passed, as HDYRA has had time to construct factories and massive public works projects as well as internment camps.
    • In the second issue of the main series, Iron Fist says he can't use his chi powers while trapped in the Darkforce Dimension. In the Doctor Strange tie-ins, he's able to use them with no problem.
    • A major plot point in The Mighty Captain Marvel tie-ins is that many people are trapped on the crumbling Alpha Flight satellite and could die if it breaks or the oxygen generators give out. But in the main series and the Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in, it is shown that the Guardians still have a working spaceship which can take people to other planets, meaning it should be possible to evacuate the cadets and other non-combatants from the satellite.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover of Issue #1 features, Spider-Man, Old Man Logan, Thor, Storm, Ms. Marvel, Human Torch, Medusa, and Rocket Raccoon despite that none of them actually show up.
  • Darkest Hour: For the Marvel Universe.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the Big Good, The Cape and the Legacy Character - Steve Rogers has always been the moral compass for the Marvel Universe, to the point where Sam Wilson always found himself under Steve's shadow even when Steve gave him his blessing. This bled into the normal citizens, who criticized Sam at every turn because he "wasn't Steve", thus, when Sam quit and they got back Steve, they ended up with a Steve Rogers who was seeking to take control of the world with a fascist army. The Marvel heroes who have always used Steve as a moral compass have found themselves lost and uncertain and the citizens who have taken Steve at face value now find themselves regretting such a thing when he comes after them because they're criminals, Inhuman or mutant.
    • A key showcase is when Phil Coulson figures out beforehand Steve is Hydra and is hunted by Deadpool.
      Coulson: You're on the wrong side!
      Deadpool: Ask yourself: Has anybody ever said that about Captain America—-and been right?
    • The story also deconstructs Let's You and Him Fight and Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. Many of the recent events — AXIS, Secret Wars (2015) and Civil War II specifically — have been nothing but heroes headbutting each other over ideologies that do nothing but divide the heroes further and further because everyone has to nurse a bruised ego in some way. Cap takes major advantage of this divide and splits everyone up, trapping them either outside the Earth or inside the Darkforce Dimension dome covering Manhattan, leaving only a bunch of B-listers left to try to stop Steve and get him back to normal. It gets to the point where Ultron-Hank is so fed up over the fighting that Ultron doesn't want to destroy humanity right now because the heroes will do it for him!
      Ultron-Hank: Enough!!! Listen to yourselves — this constant bickering and battling, always at each other's throats... it's all you ever do anymore! What's happened to you?! Where did it all go so wrong?! You know, it's just exhausting — and in this form, I can't even be exhausted! I go through all this trouble to bring us back together, and you just — you just — do you want to know why Ultron built this city? Why he didn't come after you yet again? It's because he didn't have to. It's because he looked at you and your war, Tony, and you and your scheming, Steve — and he realized he wouldn't have to destroy anything — because you were already doing it for him.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Cosmic Cube fragments. Hawkeye assembles a strike force of Ant-Man, Hercules, Mockingbird, and Quicksilver to find them with the hope of returning Steve to himself. Meanwhile, Steve sends out Helmut Zemo to collect the shards for HYDRA. This leads to conflict with those who found the shards - so far, T'Challa, Namor, Ultron, Emma Frost and Sauron - throughout the event.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Cap's HYDRA is specifically targeting Inhumans for roundup to new "Indefinite Detention" centers throughout the United States.
    • One of the Sam Wilson tie-ins shows a group of working class citizens saying that they don't mind living under HYDRA, that all the negative coverage of HYDRA from the media can't be trusted, so they're fine with living in in a fascist dictatorship headed by the one man they feel they can trust: Captain America. Plus HYDRA continues to create jobs and boost the economy, so they are better off this way. Many have noted this seems like a blatant (if somewhat exaggerated) take on the current political discourse in America.
  • Downer Beginning: Starts off with Steve finally enacting his plan. He orchestrates an Chitauri alien invasion where most of the cosmic heroes lead by Captain Marvel go to fight them while on ground level, Baron Zemo's start running amuck through Manhattan forcing the Defenders to engage them. All the while the Iron Men are trying to get the shield over the planet up. It's here Steve shows his full colors and has HYDRA take over S.H.I.E.L.D. He manually activates the force field over the planet, cutting off those in space and leaving them at the mercy of the Chitauri second wave and activates a black dome over Manhattan, isolating the city before finally announcing HYDRA's takeover. The story then goes a few months later with most of the U.S under HYDRA's control, the heroes on the ground scattered with small pockets of resistance groups doing what they can and the off planet heroes still stranded in space.
  • The Dragon: Helmut Zemo, to Steve Rogers. Steve believes they've been best friends from childhood.
  • Dynamic Entry: Wilson Fisk crashes his limousine into a monster to save Strange, Spider-Woman and Ben Urich in Doctor Strange #21
  • Eaten Alive: In Issue #0, Quasar is rather quickly and unceremoniously swallowed by a Chitauri Leviathan (dragon). All the characters believe she's dead, especially since the U.S.Avengers tie-in reveals that the dragon exploded only moments later. In SE#3, it turns out she's not Not Quite Dead: Alpha Flight retrieved her severely injured, and she now appears to be in a coma.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite everything Steve's done to get to this point, he's not keen on the entire authoritarian push Zemo and the other villains want, preferring to settle people in slowly.
  • From a Certain Point of View: When Sally Floyd introduces Steve Rogers in their first interview since the takeover, the first thing he does is correct her - he didn't take over the United States, the President gave him full power and he went from there.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid:
    • Carol Danvers sends out a distress call to the rest of the Marvel Universe asking for someone, anyone to help them stop the Chitauri invasion and take back the Earth from Steve Rogers.
    • By the time Issue 3 rolls around, Peter Quill is sent to ask for help from the Shi'ar, Skrulls and the Kree. Their emissaries only lament the fact that the shield is up, preventing them from conquering the Earth instead of the Chitauri. Quill is forced to run for his life back to Carol and the others.
  • Great Offscreen War: Between issue 0 and 1, there was a civil war of sorts against HYDRA that HYDRA won.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Odinson realizes he's making a mistake in issue #6, just in time to save the resistance and the people they are protecting from certain death.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: The revelation of Steve being HYDRA and that he basically manipulated Sam Wilson to give up being Captain America has caused the Falcon to basically be on his own, not willing to take part in any resistance. It takes Misty Knight giving him a literal wake-up call for him to help.
    • Clint Barton suffers one in issue 6 after he sees the Hulk return from the dead. Thinking Steve was right for accusing the heroes of being weak (especially after he broke his no-killing rule by offing Bruce Banner), he was about to let himself get killed. It took a save and a pep talk by Mockingbird to snap him out of it. Ironic, as the same issue drove the two apart years ago.
  • He's Back: Played with: Tony Stark is only present as an A.I., while the actual one still lies in a coma. However, Issue 6 identifies the A.I. as having Tony's transferred consciousness, so it is his mind, just not his body.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: When Nadia Pym and Amadeus Cho infiltrate HYDRA's Youth Choir in Secret Empire: Uprising, Amadeus is especially hesitant to "blend in" - but he ends up looking away when another recruit is bullied, and then ratting out Nadia to be able to stay on mission as a double agent.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Maria Hill discovers a video of Cap working for Hydra and sends it to Rick Jones. But after all the massive crap Hill has pulled over the years, Rick is naturally dubious and when Cap calls to say Hill is trying to trap him, Rick believes Cap which leads to his capture.
    • Spider-Man (Peter Parker) attempts to attack Superior Octopus using all of his technology at Parker Industries' headquarters. However, Otto boasts that all of the tech Peter had was stuff he built when he first started the company and instantly turns it all on Spidey.
  • I Have Your Wife: In Issue #5, it turns out Odinson is fighting for HYDRA because they claim to be the only ones able to bring Jane Foster back. However, his trust in Steve begins to waver when he is tasked with something he considers beyond horrifying.
    • Similarly, Issue #6 shows that Scott Lang is The Mole working for HYDRA because HYDRA has captured his daughter Cassandra.
  • Jerkass Ball: Secret Warriors #3 shoves the ball into the hands of most of the Inhumans cast save Kamala and every last X-Man showing up as Daisy, Inferno, Lunella, Karnak and anyone with an X-Gene acts like petulant children with Kamala being the Only Sane Man that's being pushed to her limits as the two sides are busy sniping each other. Bonus points go to Daisy, who shoots down the Blackbird after being mocked over her powers by Rictor, Inferno, who complains about how much he hates the X-Men every other page, and the Beast, who acts like he's going to wet himself if the Inhumans stay any longer.
  • La Résistance: Led by Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Black Widow, and an A.I. version of Tony Stark.
  • Let's You and Him Fight:
    • Averted. After the numerous hero vs. hero fights since the original Civil War, Secret Empire will be a more straight forward superhero story.
    • Also invoked by Ultron: They are happy to sit back and let the different human groups erase each other, since it's all they seem to do anymore anyway.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • As usual, not every title will be involved in the event.
    • Invoked literally with Captain Marvel, the Ultimates, and The Guardians of the Galaxy. Steve identifies them as the greatest threats to his rule and locks them on the other side of the Earth's impenetrable shield.
  • The Mole:
    • Amadeus Cho infiltrates... the Hydra Youth Choir.
    • In Issue #4, Steve reveals that he has a mole in Sam Wilson's resistance group. In Issue #5, this turns out to be Mockingbird - except in Issue #6, it turns out she isn't a mole, but working with Maria Hill to keep her from bombing the resistance. The actual mole turns out to be Scott Lang, whose daughter Cassie has been kidnapped by HYDRA.
  • Mole in Charge: Steve is leading SHIELD as Director and the heroes against the simultanteous attacks by the Chitauri and HYDRA, while secretly leading the HYDRA attacks as Supreme Leader.
  • Mythology Gag: Sam Wilson quitting the Captain America mantle shortly before this event has major parallels to the original Secret Empire storyline where Steve Rogers quit being Captain America and temporarily became Nomad following an encounter with the original HYDRA splinter group.
  • Never Live It Down: Invoked and deconstructed. After Ultron-Hank (mostly Hank) delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the assembled heroes due to their recent obsession with Let's You and Him Fight, AI!Tony snidely brings up the time he hit Janet. Ultron-Hank snaps and delivers a vicious beatdown, all the while ranting that after all his other accomplishments, triumphs and attempts to redeem himself, it's not fair that he is constantly derided and dismissed for one mistake he made in his past while the other heroes constantly screw up in much more destructive fashions only to be Easily Forgiven.
    Hank: How dare you?! I discovered Pym particles. I took artificial intelligence to the next level. I founded the Avengers Academy! What have you ever done?! You were a lout and a cretin who made his fortune selling weapons to murderers. Your arrogance started two wars — your incompetence put Norman Osborn in power! And you try to lecture me?! Every day I had to hold this monster inside me at bay — do you understand what he would do if I let him loose? He would incinerate the flesh of every man, woman and child on Earth and laugh about it! Every day I live with this, and I save the world a hundred times over! But I made one mistake — one mistake! Years ago! And it's all any of you will ever remember me for — all you ever say about me! You think I can't hear the whispers?! The way you look at me when I walk into the room?
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Pietro Maximoff is part of the Tony Stark AI's cosmic cube recovery team, but he explicitly says he doesn't really care about the mission and only wants to save his sister.
  • Orwellian Retcon: All original history books that deal with World War II and beyond are destroyed and replaced with HYDRA's version.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • Mr. Hyde seems to go back and forth on wanting to kill Daisy in Secret Warriors #4. He finally settles on yes, but she manages to escape, anyway.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Under the Dark Dimension dome in New York, Kingpin is publicly aiding the citizens seemingly asking nothing in return except they remember he was the one providing for them.
  • Playing Both Sides: Ultron and HYDRA have agreed mutually not to attack each other; nonetheless, he offers his cosmic cube shard to Scott Lang and the resistance and keeps Steve from following them. When Steve angrily demands an explanation, Ultron explains that he is waiting for humanity to eradicate itself, which means he has to keep their powers balanced. From his point of view, HYDRA was getting too powerful, so he gave the resistance an advantage.
  • Putting on the Reich: Averted Trope in spite of Hydra usually being A Nazi by Any Other Name, Word of God explains that they are simply generic fascists who fought the allies during WWII, maintain concentration camps, and include several actual Nazis among their inner circle.
  • Take a Third Option: T'Challa refuses to give up his cosmic cube shard to either HYDRA or the resistance. When AI Tony tries to appeal to his conscience and points out that this might save Steve, T'Challa suggests the resistance hand over their shards to him instead. This is not a bad idea, given what happens later.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Steve gives one to Carol before locking her and the other space-bound heroes out of the Earth, mocking her for wanting to rush the barrier into use.
    • In Captain America: Steve Rogers #17 Steve gives one to Journalists for been biased in their reporting instead of actually telling the truth that nobody trusts them anymore and then one to people who think that posting complaints on Twitter will actually do anything.
    • Ultron-Hank really tears into both Steve and Tony for their constant arguing and fighting. He even says that Ultron really doesn't want to destroy humanity because the heroes will do it themselves.
    • A tie-in issue has Doctor Octopus tearing Spider-Man apart by pointing out Parker Industries only exists because Ock created it while in Peter's body. He further reveals that when Ock was stuck in the Living Brain, he was secretly manipulating markets to favor the company and make it successful.
    Doctor Octopus: Don't tell me you credited that to your "business acumen."
    • Ares gives a brief one to Hydra as a whole in the form of a Hydra mook he kills in Paris:
    Ares: Because you were weak, you worshipped strength over love. You worshipped me. Am I not what you wanted?
  • Retcon: A minor one, in accordance with Comic-Book Time. When Sally Floyd originally interviewed Steve Rogers during Civil War, she asked him what MySpace was. This story briefly revisits that moment in a flashback, but she asks about Twitter instead.
  • Red Herring: Nearly all members of AI Tony's cosmic cube search team get spotlighted as the possible mole, until it turns out to be Scott Lang of all people.
  • The Reveal: As seen in the prologue, Steve believes the Allies used a Cosmic Cube to rewrite history and help them win the war, and that his memories of being an enemy of HYDRA were part of that rewrite. He also believes that Kobik recovered his true memories of his past as a loyal HYDRA member, instead of turning him into one in the first place.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Baron Zemo, who is The Dragon to Steve Rogers, tends to be very hands-on when it comes to doing his Supreme Leader's bidding.
    • T'Challa joins his forces to fight off HYDRA's attempts to invade Wakanda, and even invites Steve to come over and settle the situation between the two of them.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Rick Jones gets executed for passing on Hydra secrets and refusing to give up the recipient.
  • Saying Too Much: Sally Floyd is allowed to interview Cap after his takeover under the condition that she doesn't mention the Las Vegas bombing. When Cap starts to back her into a corner with comments about modern news outlets being more interested in fulfilling political agendas instead of actually telling the truth, Sally loses her temper and blurts out what happened in Vegas, giving Cap enough reason to throw her in a cell.
  • Shining Goodness: Invoked literally with Dagger of Cloak & Dagger. She is the only source of light in a New York City overcome by the Darkforce Dimension and provides periods of artificial sunlight from atop the Empire State Building. As the series has gone on, she has been able to provide light to the city for less and less time.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In issue #6 Hydra-Cap gives a long speech to Bruce Banner why he should join Hydra and take revenge on people who betrayed him. He refuses but Hulk agrees but his response to Steve was pretty good.
    Bruce Banner: Yeah....I'm gonna give that a hard pass. I feel like the guy who came out of the ice and found out the world just got dumber while he was frozen. You're damn right I'm angry about what they did to me. What they keep doing to me. And if I see them, yeah, there will be some words. But then again... You're Hydra. Maybe that became fashionable when I was out. But last I checked, you're the evil fascist totalitarian bad guys. And me? Well, sure, maybe it always ends with me getting fired and them trying to kill me... But I'm still an Avenger, dammit. And if that's a problem? Then you can just go ahead and put me back in whatever box you pulled me out of. Because honestly, it's been a very long time since I've slept that well.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Captain America Steve Rogers 17#: Prevented from being a Crowning Moment of Awesome decades in the making only by the fact it's by Hydra-Cap, Floyd calling him out on his massacre in Vegas and a Retcon. Captain America shows Sally Floyd point-blank why social media awareness is immaterial to the erosion of civil liberties by locking her up and asking Twitter to complain about it.
  • Sixth Ranger: Due to the fact that Kamala, Scott and Sam are stuck in their own storylines and away from their teammates, Ironheart, Falcon, Wasp and the new Patriot become this to the Champions.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Selvig's love for Kobik outweighs his loyalty to HYDRA, and he spirits her shards away to keep Zemo from turning her back into a mindless cube. He then kills himself.
    • Rick Jones manages to discover computer files detailing Selvig's work and succeeds in sending it to the resistance, before he is apprehended.
  • Superman Stays out of Gotham: The US is under HYDRA command, should anyone step in and stop them? Nope. No one is willing to step up to save the day and those who could, such as Namor and Magneto, have been effectively taken out by pledging neutrality to Steve. In Captain America: Steve Rogers, Steve tries to invoke this trope by telling the United Nations that if they try to attack or suppress HYDRA, he'll kick out everyone from that nation in the US and revoke all sorts of aid to their countries.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Sam Wilson resumes his Falcon identity after getting fed up with the US and dumping the Captain America identity. Then, he returns to his Captain America identity near the end.
  • Torture Always Works: Black Widow and Karnak separately employ torture, which is portrayed as highly effective but morally wrong (as opposed to Real Life, where Torture Is Ineffective and also morally wrong)and offends the morals of the younger and more idealistic heroes they work with.
  • Trivial Title: Steve Roger's Hydra-controlled America is neither secret nor an empire, and in fact nobody calls it that in the text. The in-universe villain group using that name was last seen in an issue of U.S.Avengers attempting to destroy Hollywood with a flying volcano.
  • Unexplained Recovery: In-Universe, Squirrel Girl is confused as to how Ares is still alive, seeing as the last time she heard about him was when the Sentry tore him in half during Siege. This is because no one realized he was revived during Contest of Champions.
  • Villain Has a Point: You know things have gotten bad when Pymtron, the combination of Hank Pym's mental instability and Ultron's evil, is the voice of reason. At one point he makes both sides sit down and tears into them for their constant fights among themselves and blindly following whichever member tries to fix everything this month, no matter how many times it backfires and how at this rate he doesn't need to destroy the world because they will do it for him.
    Steve Rogers: Ultron, I happen to agree with you, but Hydra is going to change all of that, bring an end to all this weakness and corruption...
    Pymtron: Oh, of course, it will, Steve, of course...Just like Tony's grand plans for superhuman registration made everything so much better. Or perhaps you mean like when Wanda here tried to fix everything? That got a bit messy as I recall.... You always have such big ideas for solving all the world's problems. Funny then, how you just keep making everything worse.
    • When Spider-Man defends himself on how "Parker Industries is mine," Doctor Octopus scoffs that the only reason Peter even has a business is because Ock started it when he was in Peter's body.
  • Villain Protagonist: Steve Rogers, though it's obviously complicated.
  • Wham Line:
    • At the very end of #2, a mysterious man saves a woman from the Serpent Society. Then he drops this bombshell:
    "My name is Steve Rogers. I'm just trying to get home."
  • Wham Shot:
    • Issue #2: a woman is saved from the Serpent Society by...Steve Rogers?!
    • Issue #3: The Punisher is revealed to be part of HYDRA.
    • Issue #5: Bruce Banner is alive.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In Thunderbolts #11, Kobik decides to make Bucky part of her "secret HYDRA club" by altering his past. He isn't exactly overjoyed about this, naturally, and yells at her for turning Steve into a bad guy and lying to himself, even though he protected her. She doesn't take it well.
    • In Captain America: Sam Wilson #22, Misty Knight tears into Sam for quitting as Cap, then turning around asking for help. She even calls him out for his plan due to the fact that she's insistent he's going to Rage Quit just like he did as Cap.
    • In issue 4, Ultron!Hank (primarily Hank) calls out all the heroes present on their constant infighting and ideological squabbles instead of, you know, actually doing hero stuff, wondering where it all went wrong. When AI!Tony retorts that their bonds started to erode the moment Hank hit Janet, an In-Universe Never Live It Down, Hank furiously calls them, and especially Tony, out on how, even though he's saved countless lives and made numerous sciencitific breakthroughs, all the other heroes ever remember him for is that one mistake he made while in the middle of a mental breakdown.
  • With Us or Against Us: Steve attempts to force the nations to bow down to HYDRA in Steve Rogers #17 through blackmail but ends up getting humiliated when T'Challa shows up and tells Steve that he's stopped three attacks on Wakandian soil by HYDRA, effectively telling him to drop dead.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Spider-Man is prominently displayed on the cover of #1 and on a lot of promotional materials despite apparently not having a big part in the actual event, with his his only appearance in the event proper being a non speaking cameo in the FCBD issue.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Deadpool's reasons (other than loyalty) for following Steve fall under this. Steve has always been proven correct when heroes fight and Wade notes that people calling Steve wrong have never been right.
  • You Are in Command Now: How Steve Rogers attains absolute power. The Secretary of Defense and the President of the United States cede control of all Federal personnel up to and including the U.S. Military to Steve in the face of an unchecked Chitauri invasion, a HYDRA invasion of a nuclear armed Sokovia, and the failure of the planetwide shield meant to protect Earth from said alien invasion. The Secretary and President go into hiding and expect Steve to clean everything up for them. When Sally Floyd mentions that he took over America, he corrects her by saying that he took over nothing - they gave him the power, so he stepped right on in.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: said almost word-for-word by Maria Hill, when Natasha confronts them about fighting HYDRA without concern for civilian casualties. Hill also fires back that Natasha has no reason to be complacent or judgemental, due to training young heroes like the Champions as double agents.