We are approaching the end of Empyre. This issue covers a lot of ground that will likely be important going into the sixth and final issue next week. Spoilers for Empyre issues 1-4 ahead.
The Cotati are inching ever so closer to complete control of Wakanda. Black Panther is the only one standing in their way as the other heroes are preoccupied with other more pressing matters. The Thing, Invisible Woman and Mantis face-off against a Cotati-possessed She Hulk. T’challa is struggling to fight off the large invading force, but without aid, it seems all may be lost. If Wakanda falls, the Kree and Skrulls will not hesitate to blow the whole solar system out of existence with the Pyre.
In issue #4, Captain Marvel and Human Torch learned from Wiccan that the Hulkling currently leading the Kree-Skrull Empire is a phony. The three set off the find the real Hulkling using Wiccan’s magic. Far away from the battle, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man edge closer to a solution to both the Cotati invasion and the Kree-Skrull Empire’s potential destruction of the Sun.
Al Ewing and Dan Slott carefully handle the relationship, and recent marriage, between Wiccan and Hulkling while balancing the larger-than-life stakes the heroes are facing. Wiccan tried his best to remain passive in the conflict, trusting that Hulkling would make the right decisions. That all changed when he no longer felt Hulkling’s presence aboard the command ship. This may have something to do with issue 3’s reveal that Tanalth, a former Kree accuser, R’Klll, was the former empress of the Skrulls and Hulkling’s grandmother.
Valerio Schiti delivers beautiful visuals with his art. The blood secreting out of the cracks on The Thing’s body shows just how tough of an opponent the Cotati-possessed She Hulk is. Marte Gracia’s colors only add to the desperation he feels as he fights the demented body of his late friend. The bright greens of the Cotati’s warpath contrast heavily with the pinks and purples of Wakanda’s sunset sky.
The reveal that Hulkling and Wiccan were already married and that the Kree and Skrulls’ war against the Cotati heavily interrupted it makes for some emotional storytelling. I hope that their marriage is tackled with more depth in the aftermath of Empyre. The Avengers and Fantastic Four have the weight of the world on their shoulders and I am interested to see how this grand conflict will end in the next issue. I am most curious about what will happen to the Kree-Skrull Empire assuming the Cotati are defeated.