Just as it began, Secret Empire ended in a polarizing fashion. The real Steve Rogers returned as the Captain America we all knew and love, defeating the Hydra version of himself that plagued the Marvel-616 over the last year. A sense of normalcy was restored to the world by a repentant Kobik, the sentient Cosmic Cube who reshaped things for the worse in the first place. But while victory came as a result of heroes throwing down, it was really attained thanks to an Inhuman throwing up.
That’s right, the return of Good Cap and defeat of Fascist Cap came down to the stomach of a nobody named Brian McAllister, an Inhuman who could more or less barf up anything he envisions into reality. In this case, Brian regurgitated a Cosmic Cube shard which allowed Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes and Scott Lang to pull a quick one on Hydra-Cap, leading to his downfall in Secret Empire #10.
However, it wasn’t Brian’s role as a deus ex machina that made him stand out. It was his heart, altruism and love for his younger brother, Jason, that made him the keystone of Marvel’s big event. His heartfelt story added emotional resonance to a story where such depth was otherwise hard to come by. Throughout the months-long epic, Brian offered a true sense of family, which was tough to establish with well-known heroes who were brutally beating each other near-death just a few months ago in Civil War II.
We were introduced to the McAllisters of Greensboro, North Carolina, in Secret Empire #1, with Jason complaining of being bullied in school. Brian comforted his brother, who simply wanted a Captain America lunchbox — the Sam Wilson version.Of course, Hydra had recently taken over the world, and unbeknownst to either of them, one of Jason’s friends sold out Brian’s abilities, which led to his incarceration. As Hydra raided Brian’s house, he was literally barfing up a shiny, new lunchbox. He was taken prisoner and placed in an Inhuman internment camp, which bore striking similarities to the concentration camps Nazis placed Jews in.
Brian’s imprisonment and Secret Empire arc echoed a lot of what we’re seeing in the United States’ current political climate. Brian, a NuHuman, couldn’t speak out though, as he was muzzled by a Hannibal Lecter-esque mask, nullifying his powers. His own situation was dire, but it didn’t diminish how worried he was about his brother, not just due to the bullies in school, but now because the amplified xenophobia and discrimination level across the nation. A similar fate could befall Jason, he feared, a feeling that was emphasized when Brian wrote his feelings down on a piece of paper to tell another Inhuman inmate, Naja, how he felt. Brian used one word — “SCARED!”
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