‘Empyre’ Epilogue: See the ‘Fallout’ and ‘Aftermath’ of Marvel’s Massive Cosmic Conflict
Find out what the future has in store for the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and Emperor Hulkling!
Warning! This article contains spoilers for EMPYRE: AFTERMATH – AVENGERS #1 and EMPYRE: FALLOUT – FANTASTIC FOUR #1, so read on at your own risk, True Believers!
EMPYRE began with the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, and that’s how it ended as well. The Celestial Messiah, Quoi, and the Cotati have been defeated while the combined Kree and Skrull empires are still united as the Alliance. Now, it’s a time for celebration in a pair of one-shots out now: EMPYRE: AFTERMATH – AVENGERS #1 and EMPYRE: FALLOUT – FANTASTIC FOUR #1. Together, these issues address some of the lingering issues from EMPYRE. Unfortunately for the heroes of Earth, the defeat of the Cotati may not be the end of their problems. Something far more dangerous is on the horizon, and there are few who realize it.
First, Al Ewing and artist Valerio Schiti dealt with the Alliance in EMPYRE: AFTERMATH – AVENGERS #1. The opening pages revealed how Empress R’Klll survived her apparent death in FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #257, and the way that she assumed the identity of the Kree warrior, Tanalth the Pursuer. Much to Emperor Hulkling’s horror, R’Klll confirmed that she intentionally left her daughter Anelle to die on the Skrull homeworld during Galactus’ attack. But it was only because Anelle confirmed that her son, Hulkling, was alive on Earth. R’Klll knew that she could eventually use her grandson to unite the two empires, and that’s exactly what she did.
The end of the war allowed Hulkling to marry Wiccan again in a Jewish ceremony that also incorporated Kree and Skrull cultural elements as well. Except this time, the Young Avengers weren’t the only heroes invited to witness the space wedding event of the season. Hulkling also welcomed Captain Marvel’s half-sister, Lauri-Ell, into his service as his new Accuser. But Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel got a rude awakening from Abigail Brand, who slapped Carol and angrily quit Alpha Flight because Earth’s heroes didn’t warn them about the Cotati.
Privately, Hulkling proved what kind of ruler he will be when he showed mercy to both Super-Skrull and Captain Glory. For killing Hulkling’s adoptive mother years ago, Super-Skrull was ordered to become a diplomat and turn away from his calling as a warrior. Hulkling planned the same fate for Captain Glory for siding with R’Klll, but the Kree war hero declined Hulkling’s mercy and accepted life imprisonment instead. Captain Glory was also certain that Hulkling would eventually release him to fight down the line.
Captain Glory turned out to be right, as a glimpse of the future revealed that he died and the rest of the Alliance was seemingly destroyed. Hulkling heard the cynical warnings of his grandmother as he accepted the harsh reality that R’Klll was right. When Hulkling needed the heroes of Earth, no one came to his aid. However, Brand returned to help Hulkling, alongside Manifold and some unidentified heroes. She told Hulkling that she formed something “better” after leaving Alpha Flight.
What is the threat that is destined to take out the combined Kree and Skrull empires? Dan Slott and artist Sean Izaakse may have provided the answer in EMPYRE: FALLOUT – FANTASTIC FOUR #1. But first, the new King of Space let Thor decide the fate of his “nephew” Quoi and his Cotati followers. The Odinson took Quoi and the Cotati to a barren world far from known space, with no way for them to escape or threaten the galaxy again. Regardless, Thor did not act out of cruelty. He sacrificed the blessing of his mother, Gaea, to create a lush new paradise out of the seemingly lifeless planet. Even Quoi had to admit that it was impressive, but his heart remained hardened against the heroes whom he once called friends.
Before his exile, Quoi proved to be less than helpful in explaining the origins of the Cotati’s super weapons. To solve that mystery, Reed Richards AKA Mr. Fantastic called upon the Profiteer, the Elder of the Universe who until recently held the Skrull child Jo-Venn and his Kree counterpart N’Kalla, in constant gladiatorial games. And for her help, the Profiteer tried to reclaim the children.
Naturally, the heroes of the Earth wouldn’t stand for that deal, and Emperor Hulkling broke the Alliance’s ties to the Profiteer. He also gave Jo-Venn and N’Kalla a new future by inviting Ben Grimm AKA the Thing and his wife Alicia Masters to accept the children as their own. The Fantastic Four have always been Marvel’s First Family of Super-Heroes – now that family is a little bit bigger.
But what of the weapons? All the Profiteer could determine is that they were more ancient than anything she had ever seen. That’s why the Unseen felt compelled to investigate the weapons as well. In his past life, the Unseen was Nick Fury, before he was sentenced to observe from the Blue Area of the Moon. The Unseen quickly determined that the weapons predated the Elders of the Universe, the Asgardians, and even the Celestials. They belong to the First Race, and that spells trouble for everyone.
Moments later, Uatu the Watcher emerged from the Unseen, alive for the first time since Fury murdered him in ORIGINAL SIN. Uatu lives again, and he promised “a reckoning.” Is this the end of the beginning? Or the beginning of the end? The future starts now in the Marvel Universe!
You can pick up EMPYRE: AFTERMATH – AVENGERS #1, written by Al Ewing with art by Valerio Schiti, and EMPYRE: FALLOUT – FANTASTIC FOUR #1, written by Dan Slott with art by Sean Izaakse, at your favorite local comic book shop or digitally today! Be sure to ask your local comic book shop about their current business policies to observe social distancing or other services they may offer, including holding or creating pull lists, curbside pick-ups, special deliveries and other options to accommodate. Find and support your local comic book shop at http://comicshoplocator.com or by visiting http://marvel.com/lovecomicshops.
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