It’s a jailbreak… in space! What’s not to love? Your Major Spoilers review of Empyre #5 from Marvel Comics awaits!


Writer: Al Ewing & Dan Slott
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: August 12, 2020

Previously in Empyre: Love and war – in the midst of cosmic cataclysm! One hero reveals their secret, as another faces the ultimate showdown with a monstrous foe! Meanwhile, an outer-space jailbreak leads to a trial by combat you’ll have to see to believe…

…but is it all too late to save Earth from two world-ending threats at once?


They say it’s always darkest before the dawn, so this issue was probably bound to get dark. But we start with a happy moment, as Wiccan explains the events we didn’t get to see leading up to Hulkling’s return to space and the wedding that we found out about last issue. With the symbolic bond that he now shares with his husband, Wiccan transports himself, Captain Marvel and the Human Torch directly to Hulkling. Things are less positive elsewhere, as the deceased She-Hulk, now possessed by a Cotati blossom, beats The Thing half to death, and The Black Panther finds his forces overwhelmed in Wakanda. The Cotati manage to establish their beachhead on the Wakandan Vibranium Mound, creating a teleportal that will allow them to sweep in and steal the metal for themselves, while Black Panther is run through by The Swordsman. In space, Emperor Hulkling is surprised to find Wiccan appearing on his flagship… with the REAL Hulkling, revealing that the Skrull known as Tanalth is now posing as the Emperor and has detonated their doom-bomb, The Pyre, in the heart of Earth’s sun!

Fortunately, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man have finalized their plan… if they can act in time.


Having been reading this series since the prologues, I have to say that I enjoyed this issue a little bit less than some of the previous. The reveal that Tanalth (revealed as a Skrull infiltrator in #3) has supplanted Hulkling wasn’t really surprising after his actions last issue, and as much as I enjoyed The Thing refusing to give up in the face of a brutal beat-down by She-Hulk, it felt a bit like a ‘Hail Mary’ moment after seeing him attacked and incapacitated for a couple of issues. The best parts of the issue (like Wiccan teleporting in and the moment where Reed reveals his new Stark armor) help to overcome those problems for me, but don’t quite bring us back to the excitement of issue #1. It’s still a good read, and Schiti’s art is excellent throughout the issue. The sequence where Swordsman takes out Black Panther (who is claimed to be dead?) is excellent from the stabbing itself to the reaction to the expression on his face when he realizes that he succeeded. The mixture of satisfaction and perhaps just a touch of disappointment at how easy it was is excellent, and shows off what a good artist can do.


Being a big crossover schmegegge there was no question in my mind that Empyre #5 was going to leave our heroes at a low point, but it delivers in terms of art and succeeds more often than not in the pacing/scripting department, earning a better-than-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Even if it’s slightly less successful than the early issues of this series, it’s still a good comic that makes for a well-formed and executed chapter.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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