Review: Empyre: ‘X-Men’ #3 Asks How Do Mutant Brains Taste?

by Tony Thornley
Cover by Eduard Petrovich

The tragedy of Genosha is perhaps the greatest in the newborn nation of Krakoa and its many tragedies. However, when the X-Men arrived to battle the Cotati, they never expected to find their fallen brothers and sisters… and that’s just the unexpectedly hilarious set-up to the events of Empyre: X-Men #3.

This silly round robin series has been full of unexpected twists and turns. However, it’s clear that it’s going to become a key part of the mythos of Krakoa. This chapter in this latest saga is by Ed Brisson, Vita Ayala, Zeb Wells, Andrea Broccardo, Nolan Woodard, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller.

As Krakoa’s psychics arrive on Genosha, things get worse. The Scarlet Witch’s zombie curse has spread to the Cotati, and the X-Men now have a ticking clock. It’s all up to Magik to stop the curse while the rest of the X-Men put a stop to the Cotati!

Though this issue is still a ton of fun, the story does start to break down a bit here. The previous intelligent magic zombies suddenly take a step backwards to Return of the Living Dead-level undead, and the relationship between Hordeculture and the mutants suddenly becomes much less icy. However, the last third of the issue does make up for it a bit, partly due to Nightcrawler’s gleeful entrance to the story (herbicide-filled Super-Soaker in one hand, saber in the other) and partly due to Magik moving up front and center. The last act’s take on Magik does a lot to carry the story through, as she takes on a challenge she’s uniquely suited for, but also escalates the entire threat.

Broccardo’s work is a bit on the side of Marvel’s house style, but he has a great clean line, an expressive storytelling style, and a keen eye for detail. He’s able to keep even the busiest panels full of solid, clear storytelling, and prevents the clutter and chaos from getting in the way of the story. His designs are also a great addition to the story, especially Magik’s sorcery enhanced form for the last few pages of the story, a design that’s scary while also being triumphant, and just a little bit cheesecakey without crossing the line too much.

With the entire crisis has escalated to an extreme, I don’t know how the X-Men are going to get out of this one, and that’s been all the fun of this entire story.

Empyre: X-Men #3 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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