The Cotati invasion of Earth is fully underway while Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Marvel’s First Family are trying to repel it! Will they successively defend the planet or get turned into mulch? Let’s find out in this week’s issue of Empyre!
We open the issue with Mister Fantastic’s journal entry as a recap for the last 2 issues. The Alliance has dispatched troops to fight the plant menace on Earth but are less “hearts and minds” and more “shock and awe” about it. Reed meets up with Iron Man, who’s been sulking about the whole situation in Avengers Mountain. Reed tries to console him and tells him not to beat himself up over letting the Cotati trick him into working with them. Tony is pretty inconsolable though and feels he’s the stupidest he’s ever been and alone as ever.
Meanwhile Ben Grimm and the Agents of Wakanda (Wasp, Gorilla Man, Fat Cobra, etc.) are at Wakanda’s borders with the Dora Milaje ready to kick some plant butt in a really cool splash page! A mile away from the fight we see Sequoia and Swordsman laying out a strategy to defeat Earth’s defenders and specifically to attack Wakanda. Sure, it’s a technological and military giant but the Cotati want Vibranium. Specifically the Great Vibranium Mound, as Black Panther confirms in his meeting with Invisible Woman and She-Hulk. It’s not the metal that the Cotati want though it’s all the nutrient rich soil that the metal is sitting in. If they are able to take root in that soil and use its power, they will certainly be unstoppable. For this reason among others, he’s invited former Avenger and Guardian of the Galaxy Mantis, (also Sequoia’s mother), to try one last diplomatic effort to end the hostilities. As his mother, Mantis believes that there is still some good in Quoia and that all this negativity and anger is coming from her former lover Swordsman. At first Susan Richards is skeptical of the plan but agrees to assist a fellow mother to try and talk some sense into her son.
Meanwhile at the Alliance, Super-Skrull is proposing a head on attack of the Cotati moon base by Captain Marvel, using the sword again to charge her power. Both Hulkling and Human Torch aren’t very receptive of the idea, mainly because the last time Carol was stabbed with the sword she almost died. Of course Carol is willing to make the sacrifice for the good of the cause but Hulkling is not. Right on cue he gets a call from Black Panther, who asks to borrow the same sword in a plan that doesn’t involve possibly killing Carol. Hulkling immediately obliges and blinks it off to T’Challa.
Everyone on the bridge, except for Johnny Storm, gets upset at Hulkling for just sending the sword away, especially the Kree and Skrulls. As warrior races they see this as a pretty soft and dishonorable move. Both races are set on a more militaristic move to finish the Cotati, no matter the cost. They mention the Pyre they used to destroy the Kral system, which was mentioned in the last issue but is finally explained by Kl’rt and Tanalth. It’s basically a weapon of mass destruction that replicates the blast of a dying star. This wiped out the Kral system in a failed last ditch effort to kill the Cotati and is certain to destroy the Earth if used. Hulkling and Captain Marvel are shaken by this act of genocide in the name of honor and the greater good. According to Tanalth though, this is a necessary part of the war effort as well as the path to becoming a great leader.
After the uncomfortable genocide conversation is over, Captain Glory follows Tanalth out of the room and confronts her about a few things. It turns out Glory has been looking into Tanalth for a while and found out she’s not who she says she is. She’s definitely not a Kree and she reveals herself to be the Skrull Empress R’Klll, who is also Hulkling’s maternal Grandmother. She’s intent on making sure that her bloodline’s legacy is secure and Teddy becomes ruler of the galaxy.
So that was Empyre #3 folks and I gotta say that I’m growing increasingly indifferent to this series. I’m sorry but not a whole lot seems to be happening since issue one and after last week’s breather / regrouping issue, I thought we’d be amping up the stakes or have a pretty big plot twist to shake things up. Instead this issue seems to be more of the same and I hope it’s not the direction the book stays on.
Let’s take a look at what really happens in this book.
Iron Man cries because he was outsmarted.
The Cotati kind-of, sort-of try to invade Wakanda.
Mantis stops by.
Hulkling nonchalantly gives away his Power Sword.
Tanalth the Pursuer is revealed to be Hulkling’s grandma.
With the exception of the reveal of the Skrull Empress, this is all pretty banal. We have some slight inching forward from the last issue but not much else. Even the Skrull Empress reveal was a “just alright” moment even with the info that she’s Hulkling’s grandma.
Even with those few minor complaints, this was still a decent issue. Not jaw-dropping or thought-provoking, but it gets the job of continuing the story done. While not a whole lot happens, I actually like a select few moments in this issue. Tony Stark’s sulking and venting to Reed about falling for the Cotati’s tricks, a good ol’ “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” from the Thing, the invasion of Wakanda and its basis, and the overarching theme of motherhood and family. Honorable mention for the Skrull Empress reveal. While it wasn’t a huge moment for me, it was a good mic-drop to end the issue and a good continuity pull. The art continues to dazzle on this series and I’m throwing props to Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia for that.
Overall, I hope this story moves on to do something more instead of treading water around the 20+ issues of tie-in material.
Verdict: 7/10 Grandma Skrulls
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