Click for larger view!
Marvel has announced that Secret Empire will run ten issues instead of nine, but will still wrap up in August.  Given that #6 and #7 have been solicited for July release, that means that there will have to be three issues in August to complete the extended series on that schedule.  Secret Empire was announced as nine issues (see “The Marvel Universe vs. Captain America”).

The addition of a tenth issue will draw out a little longer the resolution of a storyline that has created turmoil among Marvel fans, leading Marvel to take the unprecedented step of issuing a statement to reassure readers that everything will turn out all right (see “Marvel Addresses ‘Secret Empire’ Distress”).

This isn’t the first time Marvel has extended the core series of a major event; an eighth issue of Civil War II was added after the series was already underway (see “’Civil War II’ Extended”).  At the Marvel Retailer Summit, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso reflected on that situation, noted the pain it causes retailers, and says Marvel shares it (see “Marvel Retailer Summit, Day 1, Part 2”).  "Where we run into trouble is in big events when we've had one writer, one artist, and we scheduled it too tight and/or the writer decided to add another issue at the 11th hour,” he said.  “Again, these things happen.  ‘I couldn't finish,’ and then everyone pays for it.  The story gets done right, but at no small repercussion to the larger plan.  We're sorry, and we feel your pain, because we felt it on our end before you guys felt it."

While the story will be longer, Marvel emphasized in its statement that core elements of the story are not changing from the plan, noting that the extra issue is “allowing the cataclysmic story to wrap up as intended.”

The full storyline extends beyond Secret Empire and its companion books to the two Captain America titles, as emphasized today in a worthwhile piece by Douglas Wolk for Slate.  In it, Wolk notes that viewing the titles together helps understand the politics of the story better and leads to a more complicated picture than looking at them in isolation. That more complicated picture may still alienate some, but for different reasons than for those that are reacting solely to the revelation of Cap’s membership in Hydra.  

Here’s hoping that the addition of an extra issue is not compounded by the late shipping that plagued Civil War II, and that the complex and inter-related storylines can be resolved as close to on schedule as possible. Then Marvel can move beyond Secret Empire to its Generations (see “Marvel Reveals Six Artists and New Cover for ‘Generations’”) and Legacy initiatives (see “Marvels to Return to Legacy Numbering”), which promise more traditional fare that may reactivate some fans that have recoiled from the Secret Empire storyline.