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Empyre #6: Review

Sep 2020
Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Empyre #6 Review by (September 5, 2020)
This is an extra-large final issue. Al Ewing and Dan Slott are joint authors for the last time.

Black Panther was made King Of The (Wakandan) Dead in Fantastic Four #608, while his sister Shuri remained Black Panther ruling Wakanda itself. Presumably he's never lost the title after regaining his BP role.

This week's tie-in issue was FF#23, some of which was duplicated in this issue. The substitute FF foiled the Cotati's plan to use the Omni-Wave Projector to disrupt the Kree/Skrull Alliance.


The following week's issues:-

Captain Marvel #21 returns things to the status quo as Hazmat, Spider-Woman and War Machine relinquish their semi-Accuser status. Lauri-Ell also finds out that she's more suited to be the heir of Ronan than Carol Danvers. Carol keeps the power for the rest of Empyre, but see below.

In the Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four 1-shot the Cotati are banished to a galaxy far far away, Ben and Alicia adopt Jo-Venn and N'Kala (which the watching Unseen seems to think is Galacticly significant), we learn that the Cotati weapons belonged to the 1st species in the universe (again the Unseen things that's a big deal), and Uatu the Watcher returns from the dead (or from the eye of the Unseen). (But it still doesn't tell us how N'Kalla knew Alicia Masters.)

The Empyre: Aftermath Avengers 1-shot contains the story of how R'Klll survived Galactus eating her planet, and Billy and Teddy have a lavish 2nd wedding. And Captain Marvel's sister gets the Accuser role. But a flashforward warns us that Abigail Brand will bring Emperor Hulkling down. (However we still aren't told about Earth's supposed new role in a radically changed Galactic politics.)

The Empyre: Immortal She-Hulk 1-shot has come out (without Empyre in the title). Its connection with Empyre is that it shows what happened to her in our #1. It says she has died 3 times (her origin, Civil War II and now Empyre) and each time she passed through the Green Door to the Below-Place as Hulk did, and is similarly immortal. But now the Leader has the key to the Door.


Now's the time to summarise the tie-ins as a whole:-

Road To Empyre: The Kree/Skrull War, Lords Of Empyre: Celestial Messiah, LOE: Hulkling and LOE: Swordsman gave us the background to the event. Only Swordsman told us anything really new - how he and Quoi changed from peaceful ambassadors of animal/plant unity to haters of meat-life.

Empyre #0: Avengers set up the conflict as being Earth defending the nice Cotati against the nasty Kree/Skrull Alliance (before Empyre #1 pulled the switcheroo revealing that the Cotati were the real baddies).

Empyre #0: Fantastic Four introduced the alien kids Kree Jo-Venn and Skrull N'Kalla who span off into ...
... Fantastic Four #21-23 where the substitute FF tried to protect them from the Dark Harvest who used them to (temporarily) bollix the Kree/Skrull Alliance in this issue.

Empyre: Avengers #1-3 contained 3 separate story strands of Avengers teams fighting localised Cotati threats. Its only important content was probably Ka-Zar's transformation into a spirit of the Savage Land, nothing to do with Empyre.
Empyre: Savage Avengers #1 was just another local battle.
Empyre: X-Men #1-4 was another such ...
... but X-Men #10-11 was probably more significant in destroying the Cotati on the Moon (twice! once in each issue).
Empyre: Captain America #1-3 could have been significant in uniting NATO against the Cotati, but then only used it to save Mexico City.

Captain Marvel #18-21 gave Carol Danvers a Kree half-sister but also made Captain Marvel a Kree Accuser. However the 2nd bit was only temporary for the duration of the event because the sister has now taken over the job.

Empyre: Fallout FF and Empyre: Aftermath Av tidied up some loose ends but only gave us hints of the future.

There were many other tie-ins cancelled due to the coronavirus. Of them all only Empyre: Thor #1-3 seems like it would have been significant.
The others were Empyre: Ghost Rider #1, Empyre: Invasion of Wakanda #1–3, Empyre: Spider-Man #1–3, Empyre: Squadron Supreme #1–2, Empyre: Stormranger #1–3, Strikeforce #10 and Union #1–3.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Empyre #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
I'll dive right in and we'll pick things up as we go along.

In Avengers Mountain HQ Reed Richards and Tony Stark have been working together to solve the problem of the Cotati and the Kree/Skrull Alliance.

They've seen that the Cotati have planted a new Death Blossom on the Wakandan Vibranium Mound, which when it flowers in a few minutes will turn Quoi the Celestial Messiah into a god capable of controlling all plant-life throughout the universe. They've lost contact with Black Panther and assume the worst. (And we see what we saw last issue that Quoi and his father the Cotati Swordsman have apparently killed T'Challa.)

They also don't know what exactly is happening on the Kree/Skrull flagship. (We see from last issue Emperor Hulkling/Dorrek-Vell revealed as a Skrull imposter, now attacking the real Hulkling who had been her prisoner. And Captain Marvel, Human Torch and Wiccan fighting Kree Captain Glory, Super-Skrull and hybrid sorceress Mur-G'nn respectively.) But we do know that the false Hulkling has triggered the Pyre which will detonate the Sun, also in a few minutes.

Tony has created a Fantastic Four armour for Reed which has been programmed to take him to Wakanda at high speed, leaving Tony alone to save the Sun. Reed is worried about Tony since Stark realised he'd helped the Cotati defeat the Kree/Skrull Alliance (#1) who then turned out to be the real threat, intending to wipe out all meat-life in the universe - starting with Earth. But Tony reminds him how he created Iron Man to a short deadline in a cave with whatever he could lay his hands on. He says situations like that and this are when he's truly himself.

Reed wishes Tony could give him a clue as to how he's going to do it. Tony picks up Reed's discarded FF uniform and says he's going to do what he does best, put the Sun in a suit.

We now pop over to the Temple of the Priests Of Pama in New York to see what's happening in FF#23. Their martial arts wing the Dark Harvest have hooked the 2 alien kids up to an Omni-Wave Projector. Kree Jo-Venn and Skrull N'Kalla are the living histories of their species' versions of the millennia-long Kree/Skrull War. And the Omni-Wave is projecting it all into the minds of the Kree and Skrull troops of the Alliance, making them fight each other instead of the Cotati. Franklin and Valeria Richards along with Spider-Man and Wolverine are trying to stop the Priests.

Now in the Kree/Skrull flagship the aliens have stopped fighting the Earthlings. Super-Skrull turns on Captain Glory, and hybrid Mur-G'nn is conflicted. Half Kree Captain Marvel struggles not to join in while the other Kree/Skrull hybrid Hulkling is spared being split because the inhibitor mask still stuck on him suppresses his shapeshifting Skrull half.

Teddy Altman now wonders if Johnny Storm's flame control and Carol Danvers' energy absorption could stop the Sun from blowing up. Billy Kaplan says he could magic them there and keep them alive in space. But Teddy says he's not going with his husband, he's staying here to fix the Alliance situation.

Wiccan chants a Protection/Teleport spell which brings him, Captain Marvel and Human Torch to the surface of the Sun. Johnny wonders why Billy doesn't just cure the Sun with magic, but Wiccan says there are limits to his power. HT wonders if he can do this without the rest of his FF family to support him.  Carol reminds him he was once an Avenger (in Uncanny Avengers) and so he's part of the Avengers family too. And Billy shouts "Avengers Assemble".

Back on Earth near Lake Victoria Invisible Woman and Mantis are trying to stop a Cotati-possessed She-Hulk from beating Thing to death. Sue Richards suggests they combine forces. Mantis telepathically blocks Sue's pain and fatigue allowing IW to push her forcefield beyond her limits and drag She-Hulk off Ben Grimm. Ben tries to get through the Jennifer Walters and remind her that she's part of the FF extended family. The Cotati replies that Walters is dead. It opens an internal 'door' to access the total gamma power within, but is shocked by what it sees. And She-Hulk returns from the 'dead', shrugging off bits of Cotati.

Alongside this scenario we see the climax of FF#23. Valeria and Franklin remind Jo-Venn and N'Kalla how they bonded in captivity and escaped by working together as a 'family'. And the young Kree and Skrull transmit *this* to the Alliance troops ...

... and we see hostilities end on the Kree/Skrull flagship. The false Hulkling tries to resume control of the Alliance but her co-conspiritor Captain Glory reveals she is the long-thought-dead Skrull ex-Empress R'Klll, because the warrior bred to not feel guilt seems to have been stricken with it. The real Teddy Altman orders Mur-G'nn to teleport herself with Glory and Super-Skrull to the Sun to help there.

Meanwhile in Wakanda Quoi and Swordsman get the news of the Dark Harvest's failure and the renewed assault by reinvigorated Alliance troops. All now rests on getting the Death Blossom to bloom. But then Black Panther is the 2nd Avenger to rise from the dead this issue. He at 1st claims his 'resurrection' is due to him being King Of The Dead, but then more prosaically that he used meditative techniques to greatly slow his metabolism while his Panther suit mended his 'fatal' stab wound (from last issue). He easily bests the Swordsman but Quoi retaliates by controlling the extract of the heart-shaped herb in his blood that gives T'Challa his powers. However it doesn't work, because Mr Fantastic has arrived in his armour that emits sonic frequencies that interfere with the Celestial Messiah's telepathic plant-control.

Quoi leaps to the attack with 2 swords, but Mr F's reply is the 2nd "Avengers Assemble" of the issue - and a whole horde of heroes 'port in. As well as Invisible Woman, Mantis, She-Hulk and Thing we get Dr Voodoo, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Wonder Man direct from the Empyre: Avengers mini-series and Captain America from *his* Empyre mini-series. Thor is also here (presumably from *his* unpublished Empyre mini-series) plus Blue Marvel, Dr Strange, Spectrum, both Wasps and a load of Alliance warcraft. (We also see Ghost Rider and Wakandan Okoye later.)

Back in Avengers HQ Tony Stark is talking to himself. He reasons that the Pyre system must work by increasing the density of the Sun's core by teleporting in denser elements. He's programmed the unstable molecules in Reed's costume (which among other things make the material able to survive Human Torch's nova heat) to replicate and remove the denser elements. He then sends the suit to the Sun. Meanwhile Glory, Mur-G'nn and SS add their efforts to those of Marvel, HT and Wiccan, as Carol Danvers shouts "Alliance Assemble" ...

... and the Sun starts to cool down (but we don't know which solution worked, or both). In the flagship R'Klll is informed that the Pyre is shutting down, and the angry Empress drops her disguise. She blames her grandson Hulkling for this, and it is only now that he realises this R'Klll is the same R'Klll who was Princess Annelle's mother. Her attack knocks his inhibitor mask off, and Billy fights back to lock it onto *her* face, stopping her shapeshifting into more disguises or attack forms.

In Wakanda Thor confronts Quoi. He has returned from a quest to his mother the Earth Goddess Gaea (definitely in his cancelled mini) and in her name he removes the Celestial Messiah's power over the plants of Earth. But Swordsman reminds his son that the Death Blossom will still let him control plants across the universe. So that's why Black Panther starts a sword duel with him, using Hulkling's star-sword, and is on the point of winning when Swordsman grabs Quoi and threatens his life (which doesn't go down well with the Cotati). The Cotati Swordsman claims that it is the human Jacques DuQuesne within him that sinks so low. But T'Challa retorts that the original Swordsman was an Avenger who died to save his love Mantis, so this action must spring from the plant half. And then he runs the villain through, and in doing so pierces the Death Blossom too.

The War is over.

Later they hear that the Death Blossom on the Moon was destroyed, along with the rest of the garden there, by the X-Men (led by Magneto in their #11). Mantis hopes that her son Quoi has seen the error of his ways. But while admitting that his path may have been corrupted by the 'toxic humanity' in himself and Swordsman, he claims that the meat-things are still ravaging the Earth's bio-sphere - and the only hope is to get rid of them.

Tony Stark joins the gathering by hologram to learn that the Kree and Skrulls are peacefully accepting the Cotati's surrender. Reed tells Sue Richards that Galactic politics may be permanently changed. T'Challa allows the star-sword to return to its master Hulkling who has resumed command of the Alliance.



Valerio Schiti
Valerio Schiti
Marte Gracia
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Jim Cheung (Cover Inker)
Jay David Ramos (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
She-Hulk
She-Hulk

(Jennifer Walters)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Captain Glory, Cotati, Franklin Richards, Jo-Venn, Mur-G'nn, N'Kalla, Quoi (Sequoia), Super-Skrull, Swordsman (Cotati), Wiccan (Asgardian).

> Empyre: Book info and issue index

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