Here we are folks, the final issue of Marvel’s big summer event Empyre!
Will the Cotati take over the Earth?
Will the Kree / Skrull Alliance destroy it?
Will Earth’s Mightiest Heroes save the day before it’s too late?
Will I ever stop asking questions before my reviews start?
Let’s find out in Empyre #6!!
We open this final issue with Reed Richards and Tony Stark catching us up on what happened last issue. The Cotati took over Wakanda and planted their death seed which will make Sequoia into a god and give him the power to wipe out all animal life in the galaxy. The Kree / Skrull Alliance are going to blow up the sun with the Pyre and are in the midst of a royal fight between the Skrull Empress impersonating Hulkling and the genuine article himself. Finally, Earth’s heroes are getting their butts handed to them. The two geniuses decide to divide and conquer their multiple problems, with Reed taking his new Iron Man suit to Wakanda and Tony tackling the Pyre situation.
Meanwhile over in New York City the “New” Fantastic Four and the Richards kids are trying to rescue the two Kree and Skrull kids that they previously rescued in Empyre: Fantastic Four #0. They’re in the clutches of a Cotati wizard who uses them in a ritual that reignites the hatred between the now united Kree and Skrull people. Across the galaxy, the Kree and Skrull feel compelled to once again fight each other and Captain Glory reveals the fake Emperor in a fight with Kl’rt the Super Skrull. The only one not affected by the enchantment is Hulkling whose inhibitor mask is keeping him from joining in on the fight. With the help of the Human Torch’s power of flame and Captain Marvel’s energy absorption as well as Wiccan’s magic so they don’t die out in space, Hulkling believes that they can drain some of the sun’s energy before it blows up in everyone’s face.
Back on Earth, the Invisible Woman asks Mantis to remove any mental blocks in her head so she can push her powers to the limit to save the Thing from the Cotati wearing She-Hulk’s skin. Also Franklin and Valeria are able to get through to Jo-Venn and N’Kalla, freeing them of the Cotati wizardry. With that the Kree / Skrull Alliance is back in the fight against the plants. Captain Glory turns on Empress R’Kill and joins up with the good guys, and Jen Walters is no longer under control of the Cotati. All the heroes get their second wind and rally against the Cotati. The real Hulkling sends out reinforcements to help Captain Marvel and the Human Torch. T’Challa actually was able to survive being stabbed in the last issue and takes down Swordsman, while Reed Richards finally shows up to take on Sequoia. Since Mr. Fantastic has armored up with an Iron Man suit, he now has the power to disrupt Sequoia's connection to the death seed, stopping him from becoming a power mad god.
Captain America arrives and leads a coalition of Avengers, Fantastic Four, the Kree / Skrull Alliance ground troops, and various armies of Earth against the so-called Celestial Messiah and the Cotati. It’s a fight of epic proportions, with all the heroes fighting all the Cotati. It's Thor that deals the biggest blow as he’s no longer Thor Odinson but now Thor Gaea-son after achieving power over plant life and takes out a good chunk of the plant forces. This gives Black Panther room to finish off Swordsman and the death seed. Swordsman tries to use his son Sequoia as a human plant shield proving himself to be nothing but a poor imitation of the deceased Avenger. Between that and Hulkling taking out his grandmother, Earth’s heroes basically win the day. A broken Sequoia, still adamant about his hatred for animal-based life forms, surrenders to the Avengers, followed by a peaceful surrender of the Cotati forces to the Kree / Skrull Alliance who accept. All is once again right with the galaxy, as the good guys win and the bad guys lose. We also now have a new status quo for the Marvel cosmic stage as Hulkling is now the true Emperor of the Alliance and the Kree-Skrull War is finally put to rest.
So was the finale for Marvel’s big summer blockbuster event Empyre a worthy ending?
Well, yes and no.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, this series has been pretty hit or miss with me. It started out pretty well with an exciting premise, good plot twists, choice art, and a return to big Marvel cosmic stories (Kree/Skrull War, Celestial Madonna Saga, and Annihilation). Yet, with each passing issue I found diminishing returns to varying degrees. This series really had a lot of potential with a great creative team behind it but as it came out every week it seemed more and more like it was wasting that potential and eventually ended without a bang or even a fizzle. The finale was actually not a bad way to end the event; the good guys win / the bad guys lose and the peace of the Alliance has replaced the perpetual warring of the Kree and Skrull Empires for a new cosmic status quo for the Marvel Universe. We got some really awesome fight scenes between the heroes and the Cotati. Black Panther’s comeback against Swordsman, and Captain America’s “come quietly or there will be trouble” moment were just a couple of great and visually perfect sequences. Though for all the cool scenes, good character moments, and overall finality this issue has, none of it felt earned. It just felt like an eventuality. I wasn’t glad or relieved when the heroes and the Alliance won. I called it back in issue four that this event was going to build up to an anti-climactic ending and I think I was right. On top of concluding story lines from tie-ins this last issue really did cram in a lot for the finale.
Much like this event as a whole, Empyre #6 is a fine comic that just doesn’t seem to use its potential to the fullest. I do like the new status quo for the cosmic Marvel Universe and what it means for the galaxy as a whole but it seems like the event’s only purpose was to set that up. The art was also consistently incredible, so props to Valerio Schiti and Marte Garcia for keeping up the good work. Honestly, this event really wasn’t that important and didn’t do much to make itself such. It just really didn’t do it for me. On the plus side, it did come out on time with no delays and kept it short and sweet. I guess in the grand scheme of things I can’t really ask for much more than that from a mainstream comic book event.
Verdict: 6.5 / 10 Cotati P.O.W.’s
Overall Verdict for Empyre: 6 / 10 Marvel Comics Events
If you do take anything away from this event overall, it’s the two X-Men tie-ins. Empyre: X-Men and the current X-Men series written by the Dawn of X writers were great books that did a great job of integrating story elements of Empyre while telling their own stories. I mean Alien Plants vs. Zombie Mutants...need I say more?
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