Week three of Marvel’s Empyre event sees writers Al Ewing and Dan Slott slow the pacing down to deliver more interactions between characters. The main comic is shaping to be more of a character drama than an action-packed story and I am all for it. Spoilers for the first two issues of Empyre ahead.
The Cotati’s invasion of Earth roars on! Captain America is leading the defense against the invading forces. Wakanda is preparing for an imminent attack by the plant-based aliens. After nearly dying while saving the Kree and Skrulls from the Cotati at the end of Empyre #2, Captain Marvel was gifted the Accuser Cosmi-Rod. The Kree and Skrulls plan on combining it with the power of Excelsior, Hulkling’s blade, to eradicate the Cotati despite the possibility that Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) could die in the process. Meanwhile, Tony Stark is still reeling from his mistakes in Empyre #1, angry at himself for his decision to trust the Cotati. Luckily, Reed Richards is there to help him.
There is not nearly as much action in this comic as there was in the last two, as it mainly focuses on the characters dealing with the events of the last two issues. The discussions between characters showcase how far they are willing to go to defeat the Cotati. The stark differences in beliefs between Hulkling and his advisers, Super-Skrull, Tanalth, Captain Glory and Mur-G’nn, holds my interest. Hulkling knows war is sometimes inevitable, but he refuses to risk the lives of the other heroes just to achieve peace. The ideas of self-sacrifice and choosing the needs of the many over the needs of the few are prominent throughout this issue.
Artist Valerio Schiti showcases a wide range of emotion through our characters. Tony Stark’s anguish is represented perfectly in the tensing of the muscles in his face during his talk with Mr. Fantastic (Richards). Each member of the Cotati seems to have a unique design and color scheme, allowing for some crazy facial features and brilliant colors. Colorist Marte Gracia combines this with the warm colors representing Wakanda’s plains in the Thing’s triumphant two-page spread. For the Thing, the Wakandan chant “yibambe” is synonymous with “clobbering time!”
This third issue of Empyre gives us an insight into the minds of the Kree and Skrulls, while providing further explanations for why Hulkling was picked to lead them. This culminates in the final two pages of the comic, which will likely hold greater importance in the next issue of Empyre. Schiti and Gracia’s art is great as always and it is clear that Ewing and Slott are slowly building toward more internal conflict between our heroes and the Kree-Skrull Empire.