Wakanda is under siege!
The Cotati have taken root on Earth and are waging war across the planet with their sights on Wakanda’s fertile vibranium-rich soil. Can Earth’s Mightiest Heroes fend off the plant incursion? Will the Celestial Messiah succeed in ridding the universe of animal-based life forms? Can Mantis convince him otherwise? Will the Kree/Skrull Alliance use the Pyre? Let’s find out in Empyre #4 & 5!
We begin issue four with Kl’rt the Super-Skrull and Captain Marvel catching us up on the fight against the Cotati planet-side. In Carol’s mind the best course of action is avoiding the Pyre option from the issue 3 as much as possible. Emperor Hulkling has come to a change of heart after sleeping on his earlier decision not to use the Pyre. He has come to the “realization” that there is no other option than to sacrifice Earth for the greater good. Carol and Johnny Storm are shocked by this sudden character shift for Hulkling and Carol uses her accuser hammer to detect if Teddy is actually Teddy. The test comes back positive, leading Carol and Johnny to attack Hulkling for even thinking that sacrificing the Earth was a good idea. After a short fight against Kl’rt and Captain Glory, Hulkling dispatches the ship’s mystic against our heroes but instead she opts to teleport them to Hulkling’s boyfriend Wiccan’s apartment.
Meanwhile Tony Stark is still coping with being tricked by the Cotati earlier by doing what he does best, building Iron Man suits, while Reed Richards acts as both a voice of understanding and reason. In Wakanda, Black Panther continues to battle the Cotati forces pushing towards the Great Vibranium Mound. Though not able to make headway in pushing the plants back, T’Challa has been able to hold them off. Mantis and crew catch Sequoia and Swordsman off guard enough for the diplomatic portion of T’Challa’s plan to be implemented. Mantis appeals to her son’s sense of humanity one last time, decrying how all this death and destruction won’t breed light and peace. She points out the Kree / Skrull Alliance and how they stopped trying to destroy each other and were able to finally make peace between their two races. This isn’t the best example to use with Quoi as he’s reminded of how both of those people tried to eradicate the Cotati and are trying to do the same on Earth. It’s here that She-Hulk starts to advocate for the Cotati’s side and reveals herself to be a sleeper agent (called it!), attacking her friends with a gamma blast.
So how exactly were the Cotati able to turn Jen Walters into a plant? It wasn’t mind control or shapeshifting. It was murder! They actually killed She-Hulk and resurrected her as a Cotati much like how they resurrected Swordsman. She’s basically a Cotati wearing a She-Hulk skin and since she was already green, the heroes didn’t even notice. She-Hulk then starts dismantling The Thing like he was the Berlin Wall while Mantis and Sue Richards watch in horror and Sequoia leaves.
Back at Wiccan’s apartment, Billy is using his magic to look into Carol’s mind and see what is happening with Hulkling. From everything he can gleam, based on what Carol and Johnny saw, he confirms that it’s not Teddy. Carol brings up how the scanner on her hammer tested positive for Hulkling but Billy knows that the tech can be fooled. We end the issue with Wiccan explaining that from the way the imposter held himself to the way his mouth twitched, that Hulkling is not the man he married.
We pick up issue five with the wedding of Hulkling and Wiccan. It was one of those spur of the moment things where Teddy and Billy had mere minutes before Teddy had to go off and become Emperor. So where do you go when you want to get married in a pinch? Why Vegas, of course! That’s right, Wiccan and Hulkling had a quickie wedding in Las Vegas and luckily for them most of their closest friends were either speedsters or teleporters and were able to join the couple for their happy moment. So since they are now hitched, Wiccan mentions that he and Teddy are also magically bonded, meaning that Billy can find the real Hulkling and free him from whatever situation the Kree / Skrulls may have put him in. Carol, Johnny and Billy set out to do that.
In Wakanda, Mantis’ diplomatic mission failed. The Cotati agent wearing She-Hulk’s skin is pounding Ben Grimm into a rocky pulp. Usually the Thing is able to hold some of his ground against a Hulk, but this time it’s different. This time he’s facing a Hulk with the single purpose of trying to kill him and not even Susan Richards’ force fields can stop her. Of course the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing isn’t gonna give up so easily. He’s determined to avenge Jen Walters, defend his fami