WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 5, Episode 14 of My Hero Academia, "Off to Endeavor's Agency!" now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation and Hulu.
For now, My Hero Academia's Izuku Midoriya believes all is right in the world of heroes -- even in the wake of All Might's retirement. Overhaul the villain has been defeated while Gentle Criminal and La Brava are behind bars. There's even been time for a joint training exercise between classes 1-A and 1-B as well as a lovely Christmas party. Izuku has no idea what's right around the corner, but Season 5, Episode 14 reveals that Hawks does.
Hawks, My Hero Academia's #2 Pro Hero, isn't just fighting criminals in the streets. He is also a double agent who has been embedded within the League of Villains, and right now he's working hard to earn the trust of Dabi, the flame villain. Hawks is also aware of a war that's about to be waged, and he needs a way to pass this knowledge on to Endeavor.
When Literature Calls Hero Society Into Question
Izuku is aware of the two main factions at play, the League of Villains and the hero associations, but there is a third faction quietly emerging: the Meta Liberation Army. For now, this army seems determined to stay largely underground, and so far they have not made any obvious moves. Instead, they are biding their time, focusing on recruitment and spreading their ideology quietly but widely. Currently, Hawks is trying to build a stronger rapport with Dabi by pretending to sabotage Endeavor and making a move against the hero Best Jeanist. But he is also promoting the Meta Liberation Army using its #1 method so far: a book titled Meta Liberation War.
Hawks brings this book to Endeavor's attention right in the open after a fight with the villain Starservant. He is likely doing this to keep Dabi happy, and there's little doubt that passing the book around is how the Meta Liberation Army is spreading its ideology and radicalizing its readers. This isn't a recent publication, either -- according to Hawks, the book's author, Destro, wrote it quite some time ago, and his material was remarkably prophetic about the current age of professional heroes.
As for the Meta Liberation Army's relationship to the League of Villains, Dabi seemed sympathetic to their views, and perhaps most villains and Army members have enough ideological overlap that they could support one another to some extent. At the very least, Dabi didn't seem to feel threatened by the Meta Liberation Army's existence and aims. Perhaps he will ask Hawks to begin working for them too, by spying on heroes.
The Growth & Plans Of The Meta Liberation Army
Hawks is trying to send Endeavor more than one message here, and the second hidden one is relayed via highlighted text in Meta Liberation War. He's wearing all kinds of spy equipment, so he doesn't dare tip-off Endeavor directly. Instead, he urges him to read "the second part," and flies off. Back at his agency, Endeavor checks out the book, trying to make sense of what he's seeing. Then the pattern emerges: the second word of each highlighted passage is part of the message, and once Endeavor pieces it all together, he receives a grim warning about the coming storm.
The Meta Liberation Army is absolutely massive, numbering over 100,000 or so. These members might range from ordinary people frustrated at the current status quo to powerful, independent villains who are ready to fight. Perhaps a few turncoat heroes, such as Slidin' Go, are among them too. Given this book's age, the Meta Liberation Army has been gathering in strength for many years now, and the time to attack has come.
Hawks warns the assault will happen in four months' time, partway through spring. With an army of that size, Destro's followers could attack from all over the place and tear down society in one fell swoop, wresting power away from the Japanese government and all Pro Hero agencies. The stakes in My Hero Academia have never been higher.