The Marvel Rundown: EMPYRE #5 pushes our heroes to the wall
The Marvel Rundown shift back from the X-books to follow the newest events in and around the Empyre event! The penultimate issue of the series arrives as the stakes continue to rise for the heroes of the Marvel Universe. We’ve got a full review of Empyre #5, as well as a Rapid Rundown including mini-reviews for a handful of Empyre tie-ins, plus the latest issues of Star Wars: Darth Vader and The Amazing Spider-Man, all ahead in this week’s installment of The Marvel Rundown!
Story by Al Ewing and Dan Slott
Script by Al Ewing
Art by Valerio Schiti
Color Art by Marte Gracia
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover by Jim Cheung and Guru-eFX
The penultimate issue to this mini-series has upped the ante, giving off major Infinity War and Endgame vibes as the Avengers and Fantastic Four battle on multiple fronts for the survival of Earth and the rest of the galaxy.
At this point in the series we’ve had a few shocking surprises. Al Ewing and Dan Slott are giving us a fully formed story with this event. To be completely honest, with all the invasions and wars, I’m a long-time sufferer of “event fatigue,” but Ewing and Slott have put together something that seems very familiar but uses players in a way that makes this event feel fresh and exciting. The artwork from Valerio Schiti has a dynamic fluidity to it that sucks you in, with lush colors by Marte Gracia making for a clean and easy read.
Slight Spoilers as some of my favorite moments involve Marvel’s First Family, the Fantastic Four. What should be weird with their story is that for the most part the team is scattered, as Mr. Fantastic is with Iron Man working on a technical solution, the Human Torch and Captain Marvel are in space with the new Kree/Skrull leadership, and the Invisible Woman and the Thing are helping Black Panther defend Wakanda.
And it’s here at another Battle of Wakanda that we get one of the most impactful scenes, a one-two of dark/hope gut-punches as the Invisible Woman takes an ineffectual “kill shot” but we still get to see the Thing “get off the mat” to rally and help hold the line. And in all this, they manage to slip in Marvel’s 2nd or 3rd same-sex wedding as the former Young Avengers, Hukling & Wiccan, jump the broom.
Final Verdict: with the engaging story and beautiful art, this makes it an easy pick. I’m giving Empyre #5 a BUY.
Amazing Spider-Man #46
- This was a really intriguing issue. Aside from the issues I had with the muddy and clunky artwork, I’m beginning to find my groove with this arc. Spider-Man faces a moral conundrum as the Sin-Eater continues his crusade throughout New York City… while its citizens cheer him on? This is a pretty dark and morally bleak story so don’t expect a fun, breezy time. I’m sure the comparison would please Nick Spencer, but this is more “Kraven’s Last Hunt” than The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. —HW
Star Wars: Darth Vader #4
- Greg Pak and Raffaele Ienco continues their Phantom Menace Revival Tour as some more complications are thrown into the mix. Long story short, some more forgotten prequels characters enter the fray and things are genuinely getting tense. Come for Vader, stay for the oddly emotional prequel flashbacks. —HW
Captain Marvel #19
- Carol Danvers’s tenure as the Kree Accuser continues with a murder investigation and some alien hijinks on Earth. Carol has played a big role in Empyre, and Kelly Thompson brings readers fully into just what’s going through her head as she’s affected by the Universal Weapon she wields, and grounds the events with some humor in the form of Lauri-Ell hanging out with Chewie on Earth. This story is making for a fun event tie-in without feeling like it’s derailing what’s already been happening in Captain Marvel, which is really the best one can hope for from an event tie-in. —JG
Empyre: X-Men #3
- This series continues to get wilder and wilder. And it started from a baseline of alien plants vs. mutant zombies, so that’s really saying something. You can tell the X-writers are having a hell of a time working on this book, and it makes for an incredibly enjoyable reading experience. Honestly, Empyre was all worth it for this series alone. It is unabashed fun. —JG
Next week, Marvel tells the tale of the Hulk’s sinister future self as the Maestro returns!
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