What Happened to John Cassaday’s Art?

Marvel Secret Empire United We Stand

Marvel sent out this teaser for an upcoming Secret Empire project on Friday. The email I got didn’t identify the artist; Alexander Jones says it’s John Cassaday.

I know they’re just promoting some new team or crossover event starring big characters — from left to right, it’s Old Man Logan (formerly Wolverine, until Marvel decided they didn’t like any movies they didn’t make), Black Panther, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Rocket Raccoon, Black Bolt, Black Widow, and Deadpool, all of whom have or will have movies — but dang, that is one unattractive poster. The characters are stiff and blocky. Some look squashed, with no necks, as though they’d be four feet tall if they weren’t falling at the reader.

Marvel Secret Empire United We Stand

Cassaday is best known for his work on Planetary with Warren Ellis, Astonishing X-Men with Joss Whedon, and a 2002 run on Captain America. I remember his work being impressive, detailed and not this chunky.

I’m unclear on how this is supposed to raise interest. (Although I’m talking about, so I guess that’s all they want.) It’s old-school in an uninteresting way.

This event teaser probably ties into the current Captain America: Steve Rogers series, in which the hero has been revealed as a secret Hydra mole, a storyline that has been reviled by fans and critics. The Secret Empire in past stories was an offshoot of Hydra that prominently figured in a mid-1970s Captain America storyline in which its leader was revealed as the President. That led to Cap becoming Nomad for a while. If the creators, whoever they are, are interested in doing something as relevant and pointed as that previous story, it could be worth reading, but I doubt that’ll happen, because no one wants to risk the fallout.


  • I think the colors are part of the problem, though I can’t quite put my finger on why. You’re right about the poses and composition really limiting it, too.

    Cassaday did a run on Star Wars a couple years back that looked pretty good. I think he’s still got it, but you’re right that this is a really unimpressive representation of his work.

  • David Oakes

    Weren’t the Secret Empire just used as jokes in USAvengers? A flying volcano base is not the best opening for a line-wide event. (Unless all the books are now going to be Squirrel Girl. But that is not a good idea for anyone.)

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