‘Empyre’: Where Does It Stand Today?
Catching up on the world-shaking cosmic epic before the arrival of ‘Empyre’ #5 this week!
They say that no good deed goes unpunished, and that can be seen all over Marvel’s epic space event EMPYRE. Tony Stark AKA Iron Man led the Avengers to ally themselves with the plant-based Cotati on Earth’s moon against the combined forces of the Kree and Skrulls united under Hulkling. With the Cotati revealing their true, warlike nature, everyone involved had to rethink where they stand as war raged. How will it all end? That remains to be seen, but with two more installments left to go, it seems like a good time to look back and see how we got to this juncture in the first place!
When the story began, the Avengers had already met with the Cotati, led by Quoi and the Cotati-possessed body of Swordsman, a former Avenger. After seeing their beautiful garden on the Moon and hearing about how they had been mistreated, the team agreed to defend the apparently peaceful people.
Meanwhile, the combined forces of the Kree and Skrull empires came together under the leadership of Dorrek VIII — otherwise known as Teddy "Hulkling" Altman — whose parents were the Kree Captain Mar-Vell and the Skrull princess Anelle. They decided to aim their combined might at the Cotati, a plant-based race that had been nearly wiped out by the Kree ages ago, but had been quietly replenishing itself on the Moon. The Fantastic Four spotted the fleet on a return trip to Earth and decided to investigate.
The FF met with Hulkling, which gave Reed Richards AKA Mr. Fantastic time to deduce that Super-Skrull and Tanalth the Pursuer had created an alliance before bringing Hulkling on board and he only agreed in an effort to save lives. Richards conveyed this information to the Avengers when they made contact. With most of the Earthers saying the kid got suckered into the gig, Teddy doubled down and ordered his people to attack the oncoming Avengers. While one battle raged out in space, the Fantastic Four took on Hulkling in his ship.
To take out the invading fleet, Iron Man attached a virus to Thor's hammer and had him toss it right at the head ship. However, all of this wound up playing directly into the Cotati's plans. They had no intention of living a peaceful life in the beauty of their moon garden, but wanted revenge on all the animals of space! Quoi unleashed the Death Blossom, which killed scores of Kree and Skrulls by turning any plant matter aboard the ships against them.
The Avengers shortly made their way to Earth where the Cotati had refocused their attacks. Back on the Command Ship, Hulkling used the Sword of Space to save the Thing from a Cotati attack. Realizing its potential, Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel agreed to let Hulkling stab her so she could absorb the sword’s mystical energies. The move worked to destroy the Cotati aboard the ship, but also proved her intent to Tanalth. The Pursuer inducted Danvers into the Accuser Corps right then and there. Carol accepted the Universal Weapon that previously belonged to Ronan and joined the ranks.
Back on Earth, Captain America led a team of heroes against the Cotati warriors while Thor sought a mystical solution and Iron Man a technological one with Mr. Fantastic. Meanwhile, T’Challa AKA Black Panther led another group to keep their enemies out of Wakanda. T'Challa had correctly surmised that the aliens wanted the vibranium-rich soil of his kingdom to further their domination of the stars. It was there that Quoi's mother Mantis arrived in an effort to save her progeny.
In space, Teddy came to understand the Skrull's ultimate weapon against the Cotati: the Pyre. This weapon could destabilize a star, destroying the entire solar system around it. Super-Skrull had already used one to stop a Cotati infection of Skrull worlds elsewhere. As the king, it would be Teddy's decision to set it off or not. While he considered this, Tanalth revealed her true identity to Kree warrior Captain Glory. She was, in fact, Empress R'Klll, Hulkling's grandmother. Both of them began plotting against the new emperor, finding him not nearly ruthless enough.
To the surprise of Captain Marvel and Human Torch, Hulkling woke up from a rest and said they should send the Pyre to the Sun where they could set it off if the Cotati reached the vibranium dirt. When they expressed their concerns, they were sent away by the throne's mystic and wound up in the apartment Teddy shared with Billy Kaplan AKA Wiccan.
As that battle raged, Thing, Sue Storm AKA Invisible Woman, and Jennifer Walters AKA She-Hulk accompanied Mantis as she met with Quoi and Swordsman. In the middle of talks, She-Hulk attacked Thing, revealing that she was actually a Cotati piloting the body of Jennifer Walters, who had been murdered earlier. That ruse began when the Avengers agreed to defend the Cotati on the Moon.
One more bomb was dropped at the very end of EMPYRE #4, though, when Billy explained that the Hulkling they last dealt with on the space ship wasn't actually Hulkling -- and also revealed that he and Hulkling were married!
And that's where we stand going into EMPYRE #5 by Al Ewing, Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti – the penultimate issue arrives in comic shops and digitally on Wednesday, August 12!
You can pick up EMPYRE #5, written by Al Ewing and Dan Slott with art by Valerio Schiti, at your favorite local comic book shop or digitally on Wednesday, August 12! 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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