He’s Not The Messiah, He’s Just A Very Naughty Boy: ‘Empyre’ #6 Reviewed

by Olly MacNamee

On paper this should have been an easy sell to any Marvel comic book fan. In one corner we have the combined might of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, while in the other we have the Skrull and Kree alliance with the Cotati right bang in the middle of it all stirring up trouble. Add to this at the insane talents of both Al Ewing and Dan Slott and Empyre really should have been a great blooming summer event. I was really rooting for this series.
But, what we got instead was a truncated publishing program and a damp mulch of a series that seemed to be designed to re-position the Skrulls as the good guys – as they now are in the Marvel cinematic universe, which Marvel comics are ultimately informed by these days – and announce the wedding of Hulkling and Wicca. More a gimmick than an event, I felt. And nowhere near enough story to fill six issues, let along all the various spin-offs that did see the light of day.

But, rather than be too negative, what are the good points about Empyre #6 specifically? Well, it helps that Slott is currently penning both Fantastic Four and Iron Man, and so the exchanges between Reed and Tony are at least in keeping with what’s going on in their separate titles, and rather touching too, astray have been across this whole sorry series. But then, I’ve always enjoyed Slott’s ability to capture a character’s voice, as he does here. Plus, Reed does look kinda cool in that FF themed suit of armour. And, comics are often remembered for their cool stand out moments. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of this new addition. Also, Valerio Schitti’s art has been a real plus to this series and remains so in this concluding issue. The teacher in me also enjoyed the less than subtle reference to The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas, with the Hulkling as the aforementioned masked prisoner, as revealed last issue.
With so many splintered groups of heroes scattered across the globe and across space, there’s a lot of catching up to do ahead of the finale, and a lot of fighting too. All before the inevitable big idea that sees this current chlorophyll crisis come to an end. With more fighting, of course. And, team work too. With so many various agencies at work here, you just knew they were all going to put their collective problems behind them to face the Cotati and their cut price Swamp Thing leader, Quoi. Oh, and there’s even room for one or two last surprises too. Although you really have to be a hardcore fan to even raise an eyebrow at the revelations.

Sadly, on reflection, the whole thing feels like it was all written up based on a remit send forth from corporate bodies on high to execute and ensure what’s read in the comics matches the filmatic reality. Once it was the comics that informed the look of those early Marvel films, but with more and more money to be made in other media formats, can you really blame them for wanting to push the silver screen versions more so? All in all, it feels like a huge waste of two talented writers’ time and efforts. And, a waste on my financial resources too. And for what? A slight change in status for the Skrull, Kree and the Cotati, with the odd charter development along the way. As for Quoi? Well, he’s a would-be world conqueror who I couldn’t care less about. More a naughty boy than than any bloody messiah, if you ask me, and behave as such even in defeat.
Or, is this humble reviewer just being too cynical in his old age?
Empyre #6 is out now from Marvel Comics.
Rating: 5/10

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