Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1: Review

Sep 2020
Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1 Review by (September 12, 2020)
This is a 32-page issue.

All of Tanalth The Pursuer's known apps are revealed here to be really R'Klll.

Power Skrull tech is presumably the tech which turned Skrull Paibok into the Power Skrull.

Colonel Kal-Torr and General J'Bahzz were previously seem in Fantastic Four #21 where they contributed their memories of the same battle to the Kree Chronicle Of Blood (Jo-Venn) and the Skrull Requiem Of Shapeless Souls (N'Kalla). They also just popped up in Empyre: Fallout FF.

Lauri-Ell appeared in the Empyre tie-in issues #18-21. Her half-sister Carol Danvers was given Ronan's Universal Weapon as an Accuser in Empyre #2. Hulkling then sent her on an Accuser mission in her own issues where she discovered Lauri-Ell accused of a crime which turned out to be done by someone else. The pair then fought Cotati on Earth, during which time Lauri used the Universal Weapon and it turned out to be more in tune with her than Captain Marvel. She gave the Weapon back to Carol for Empyre #3-6, but now it seems Carol has ceded the Accuser job back to her with the Emperor's consent.

Abigail Brand is a mutant currently living on Krakoa, so she rates the X-symbol. She is also half-alien (of unidentified species). In Astonishing X-Men she was head of SWORD, the SHIELD branch devoted to ET threats. This job lasted until the end of the multiverse and Secret Wars III. After SWIII Alpha Flight did SWORD's job and she worked there under Captain Marvel. When CM was outed as a half-Kree (in CM(2019)#9) Carol resigned from AF and persuaded Abigail to take over.

Eden Fesi started off as 1 of Nick Fury's Secret Warriors in the series of that name. Jonathan Hickman carried him over into his 2013 Avengers series as Manifold which lasted until a heroic death in SWIII#1. In the post-SWIII universe he's worked with Black Panther from BP(2016)#5 to BP(2018)#20). He's also a mutant, so probably Brand's new team is a mutant organisation.

There a lots of people at the wedding who don't do or say anything that gets them mentioned in the synopsis.
Billy's parents Jeff and Rebecca Kaplan.
Billy and Speed's sort-of parents Scarlet Witch & Vision.
The rest of the current Avengers (Ghost Rider and She-Hulk).
The rest of the FF extended family (Alicia Grimm, Human Torch, Thing and (since Empyre: Fallout FF) Jo-Venn and N'Kalla) plus Spider-Man and Wolverine still in their FF uniforms.
Other ex-Young Avengers (Patriot, Prodigy, Speed, Stinger)
Guardians Of The Galaxy (Hercules, Marvel Boy, Nova, Phyla-Vell and Rocket Raccoon). (This must be after GOTG#6 where Nova & Rocket learn about the Empyre event and its effect on Galactic politics - which to be honest hasn't actually been made clear here.)
Mur-G'nn and the rest of the Knights Of The Infinite (K'kyy, Lan-Zarr and Varra).
Other members of Sunspot's AIM (Aikku Jokinen, Cannonball, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Max Brashear, Power Man, Songbird, Squirrel Girl, Toni Ho and White Tigers (Angela del Toro & Ava Ayala)).
Some other West Coast Avengers (Alloy, Fuse).
Deathbird and Cannonball's wife Smasher.
Marvel Fandom Wiki says artist Valerio Schiti has also sneaked himself and some other Marvel creators into the double page party spread, mainly as Kree and Skrulls. I suspect Kieron Gillen and he are the Kree and Skrull in conversation to the right of Ms America. Possibly Jamie McKelvie is the Skrull talking to Spidey with Dan Slott the Kree sitting beside him, and Skrull Marte Gracia may be worrying about drunk Kree Al Ewing. That leaves 2 humans in dinner jackets to the left of Ms America to be Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Empyre War is over (Empyre #6) and the Cotati have been banished (Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four 1-shot). Now it's time for a wedding.

But 1st a flashback to the death of the Skrull throneworld Tarnax IV by Galactus (FF#257) where Empress R'Klll supposedly died. But now we know she's been impersonating Kree Tanalth The Pursuer and then hybrid Hulkling/Emperor Dorrek-Vell. So now we'll find out how come she *wasn't* dead.

She was on Tarnax with her daughter Princess Anelle watching the destruction and waiting to die. Anelle chose this moment to confess that she and Kree Captain Mar-Vell had a child. Her mother says she knew about that shameful incident. But what she didn't know was that Anelle saved her son from Emperor Dorrek VII's wrath and sent him and his nanny to Earth where Mar-Vell might find him. R'Klll is overjoyed because there is hope for Skrull Empire while this lost prince might return to lead them. And she reveals her dream of Skrulls and Kree united to rule the Galaxy with Anelle's hybrid son to lead them (under R'Klll's own control presumably). But then her senile husband ruined it all by killing the boy. Or so she thought.

She now revealed to Anelle that she had a way of escaping. R'klll had been ready to die with her lost hope, but now she wanted to live. The translocation device in her crown could take them far away. But taking Anelle along would increase the chance of it failing. So she chose to go alone and leave her daughter to die a 'holy martyr'.

In the present captive R'Klll, in an inhibitor mask to stop her shapeshifting, is relating all this to her grandson Hulkling, Emperor of the Kree/Skrull Alliance, with Super-Skrull and Kree Captain Glory. Teddy Altman is aghast that she left his mother, her own daughter, to die. R'Klll says a true ruler has to be ready to make sacrifices for the good of the Empire. And she tries to sow dissension in her captors by reminding Teddy that Super-Skrull killed his nanny/foster-mother (Young Avengers (2005) #9).

R'Klll also explains that the real Kree soldier Tanalth died in a Skrull dungeon long ago. After she escaped Tarnax and hooked up with some Skrull scientists she mimicked Tanalth's form, Power Skrull tech gave her the extra strength and speed, and a new nano-process masked her Skrull DNA from all scans. When she learned that this nano-thing was known only to these scientists, she killed them to protect her secret.

Then she 'returned' to the Kree as Tanalth with juicy Skrull secrets to win her favour with the Kree Empire. She was rewarded by being made a Pursuer. Then she rose in the ranks during the chaos of the Inhuman takeover of the Empire, the destruction of Hala, the Kree Civil War, the death of Ronan The Accuser and the 'defection' of the Supreme Intelligence to the opposing side in the Civil War, so that Tanalth was at the top table when the Alliance was founded. Her dream of the combined Empire was cemented when Hulkling was found and raised up as Emperor Dorrek-Vell.

R'Klll admits that Teddy Altman's conciliatory style of ruling does seem to have allowed him to succeed in bringing the Alliance to victory where she, disguised as him, failed. But she still says he should have destroyed his other allies' planet Earth (with the Pyre). She claims that the Earth heroes only care for themselves and predicts that they'll all turn on him eventually. Teddy says his husband Wiccan will always stand by him, but R'Klll says that *she* shot her Emperor husband in the back for cowardice.

Then we skip back a day to Teddy and Billy's proper wedding on the Alliance flagship. (They had a quick ceremony in Las Vegas just before Teddy took up his Emperorship, with only their fellow Young Avengers in attendance (shown in Empyre #5).) A rabbi reaffirms their union (Billy is of the Jewish faith) and Kree Colonel Kal-Torr and Skrull General J'Bahzz give their races' blessings, naming William Kaplan-Altman Prince Consort to Emperor Theodore Kaplan-Altman and Court Wizard to the Kree/Skrull Alliance.

Everyone who is any(super)one is at the wedding party (see my Comments for some extras). Captain America and Tony Stark remember when they tried to stop the YA being heroes (in their original series). Cap regrets not taking them in and training them instead. Tony likens that to Registering them, a joke that doesn't go down well. Thor smooths things over with a toast to Hulkling's father the deceased Captain Mar-Vell (Tony has Skrullian fruit juice).

Teddy is especially saddened this day that his parents and foster-mother are all dead. Billy asks if his foster-mom ever tried to contact Captain Marvel. Teddy thinks so, but Mar-Vell was usually off-Earth (until he died early back in the 1st Marvel Graphic Novel) and probably never got the messages and so never even knew he existed. The current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, did know her predecessor well and says he would have been proud this day. Carol's half-sister the Kree Lauri-Ell, who has been made an Accuser and given dead Ronan's personal Universal Weapon, expresses her unworthiness but her Emperor says she has also been the accused and opines that this will make her wield her power with compassion.

Alpha Flight Commander Abigail Brand interrupts them to 'borrow' Colonel Danvers. She was Carol's friend and 2nd-in-command and she took over that Interstellar Defence And Diplomacy Agency when Carol resigned. So Carol is taken aback when Abigail is angry with her. It turns out that she's miffed that Danvers never told her anything about the Cotati or the Alliance until it was too late. Alpha Flight should have been involved from the very beginning. Such things shouldn't be left to the Avengers. And maybe there wouldn't have been so many civilian deaths. So Brand tenders her resignation from the Flight during a dramatic exit.

Tony Stark and Carol Danvers are chastened. Invisible Woman tries to convince them that Alpha Flight would probably have made the same mistake of trusting the Cotati over the Kree and Skrulls with the evidence at hand. But Mr Fantastic points out that it was the Fantastic Four/Avengers/Kree/Skrull co-operation which enabled them to win the War, which is a lesson they should all learn.

Billy tells Teddy that it was weird how everyone hangs on his every word. Black Panther, King of Wakanda, overhears and advises Hulkling to get used to the responsibility. Sunspot, their old boss in Avengers Idea Mechanics, chips in tongue-in-cheek that he and others from that old team will be watching to make sure he keeps on the straight and narrow. Ms America, who was with the duo in the later Young Avengers, chimes in agreement. Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), who was with them all through the YA, tearfully reminds them that the team started at a wedding.

In the present R'Klll continues her monologue as Hulkling, Kl'rt and Gla-Ree leave her cell. She maintains that the Empire will shatter, and the Avengers and Alpha Flight will let it happen. But Super-Skrull is more interested in his idea of giving Earth a gift of the Kree/Skrull ships wrecked by the Cotati (Empyre #2). Glory doesn't think much of junk as a gift, but SS says they are the graves of their honoured dead. Captain Glory just continues that the Earthers could rig them with explosives as a space minefield.

Emperor Hulkling tells them both to shut up. He accuses Kl'rt of burning his (foster-)mother alive, and of using the Pyre to destroy the planets of the Skrull Kral system which had been infected by Cotati. SS is willing to accept execution for his crimes. But Hulkling gives the warrior a worse punishment of transferring him from the army to the diplomatic corps. Captain Glory helped R'Klll impersonate Hulkling as Emperor, so he gets the same punishment. But Gla-Ree refuses to accept it because he was gene-modded to be a warrior. And he willingly accepts instead a life-sentence in prison. And he adds that he'll be there ready to serve again when the Emperor needs him.

We end with a glimpse of the future. Hulkling is lying injured with his star-sword broken. Among the dead soldiers around him is Captain Glory. He mumbles that his grandmother was right. And standing over him in triumph is Abigail Brand (with an X-logo on her uniform). She says after she left Alpha Flight she built a better team. Behind her we see 3 indistinct figures plus the teleporter Manifold.

Valerio Schiti
Valerio Schiti
Marte Gracia
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Jim Cheung (Cover Inker)
Marcelo Maiolo (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Ariana Maher.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)

(Kate Bishop)

(Teddy Altman)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Ms. America
Ms. America

(America Chavez)


(Billy Kaplan)

Plus: Abigail Brand, Captain Glory, Lauri-Ell, R'klll, Super-Skrull.

> Empyre: Aftermath Avengers: Book info and issue index

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