Previously on Empyrean Evaluations: Mantis returned to have some words with his baby boy and something wicked hiding within the Kree/Skrull Alliance revealed itself. It looked like things were about to go down. In Empyre #4, things most definitely go down.
Story: Al Ewing and Dan Slott
Art: Valerio Schiti
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Your Boyfriend Wants to Blow Up the Sun
I praised the character work done on Hulkling last issue. It’s something the character desperately needed to make his story matter for most people who haven’t been following his arc since his Young Avengers days. And now we get an obviously out-of-character Hulkling casually suggesting blowing up Earth’s sun to get rid of the Cotati.
Hulking went from heroic reluctant space emperor to sassy intergalactic mad man real quick. He’s definitely not himself.
We finally get to see the Human Torch and Captain Marvel being badasses, though. From all the talking we saw in the past couple of issues, it’s quite thrilling to see two hotshot superheroes facing insurmountable odds, ready to kick some alien booty. Too bad the action doesn’t last long.
Black Panther, Master Strategist
Empyre #4 is narrated by T’Challa, the Black Panther. We get an understanding of how his mind works here. He gives us an idea of his possible solutions to the Cotati problem and the gravity of the situation. He ponders whether he is a weak king — perhaps a weak man. But he’s definitely a good strategist, at least according to the Swordsman.
It was teased in the previous issue that he has a clever plan to use Hulkling’s magic space sword in the fight against the Cotati. It turns out his clever plan was to just use the sword like how any self-respecting Wakandan uses a sword — swing it at enemies while shouting “WAKANDA FOREVER!”
Master strategist indeed.
You’re Such a Stupid Animal
The Cotati are master strategists as well. As Quoi and the Swordsman seemingly entertain Mantis, Jen Walters Hulk, Thing, and Invisible Woman’s diplomatic mission, we get another heel turn.
Just like how the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were blindsided by the plant people in the first issue, and just like how the Human Torch and Captain Marvel were jumped by assumed allies earlier in this issue, the diplomatic Avengers/Fantastic Four contingent was sucker-punched by one of their own.
Ben Grimm definitely didn’t like the backstabbing.
The heroes got fooled once again. Both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four look like chumps after these successive betrayals. Things don’t look good for them and I can’t wait to see where it all goes.
With Empyre #4, the series is back in business. The story is now moving forward with enticing twists. Together with some good art, let’s hope this positive momentum carries over into the next couple of issues.
We’re going to save the ranking of Empyre in The List once the whole series is done. For now, this third issue gets 3 and 1/2 stars.
Empyre #4 is available now wherever fine comic books are sold.