Empyre has come to an end, but it’s not quite over with epilogue comics Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1 and Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four #1 marking the true end of the event. It’s a great way to wrap up the series since the event started with an Avengers one-shot and Fantastic Four one-shot. If you enjoyed Empyre and read Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four tie-in this is a must-read, but I will say if you haven’t been keeping tabs on either, this is not for you. Why you’d want to read this if you didn’t read either is beyond me, though!
This issue does three things very well. It shows Hulkling for the leader he is, further progresses the story around warrior children Jo-Venn (a Kree) and N’Kalla (a Skrull), and sets up quite a cliffhanger for fans to chew on for some time. This issue plays well against the Empyre #0 Fantastic Four special while also naturally carrying story threads forward from Empyre. It feels like a helpful, but not necessarily must-read chapter for casual fans. That’s a good thing since it offers something many fans will want, but isn’t trying to trick casual readers into reading it either.
Paired with Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1, these two epilogue issues matched up with the opening one-shot issues are an incredibly efficient and clever way to give the summer event concept more meaning. It helps wrap up smaller subplots, prepare readers for what comes next, and gives you a little more in a specific way easily identified by the title. I’d love to see more of this format in future events.
The art by Sean Izaakse and colors by Marcio Menyz are very good at managing the various scenes with characters chatting away. There is a lot of talking in this issue, but it never feels stuffy or claustrophobic. Set on the Moon, there are great lighting effects to make this story feel cosmic and otherworldly. What makes this book work so well is how Wolverine, Spider-Man, Thing, and the rest can be standing around on the Moon looking cool, but also natural. This doesn’t feel outrageous, over the top, or sensational. The characters all look accurate, have the right body language, and are tried and true to their personalities.
Similar to Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four tie-in, this book shows us brawn and big action doesn’t solve every problem. That’s a good thing as it shows an uncommon side shown of superheroes. Hulkling truly shines as a leader in this issue. In more ways than one he’s grown up during this series and this issue proves he’s taken on the role as king and run with it. That’s exciting as it’s showing a superhero grow and get better over time. A rare thing in serial storytelling.
Dare I say though, this book does suffer from characters standing around and milling about too much. It doesn’t necessarily need a big fight scene, but it does lack conflict big enough to maximize the issue. There’s a conflict to be sure (avoiding spoilers!), but this is more for fans who want to see their favorite heroes and their personalities more than anything else.
This is a good epilogue to Empyre, wrapping up loose ends and preparing us for big shifts in future stories. More than anything else this is a great time with heroes we love for 20 or so pages.