With the mutants absent from the main Empyre comic, it left me wondering how the leaders of Krakoa deal with the conflict. X-Men‘s Jonathan Hickman and Excalibur‘s Tini Howard join forces to tackle the X-Men’s tie-in to Marvel’s newest event. Spoilers for the first two issues of Empyre, House of X and Powers of X ahead.
To reconcile with her new status as an enemy of the state of the mutant land of Krakoa, Scarlet Witch has spent time researching ways to make up for her mistakes. After a discussion with Doctor Strange, she learns that her actions are likely irreversible. Despite this, she attempts to bring millions of dead mutants back to life.
The Cotati have invaded Earth! The Avengers once thought of them as allies, but the Cotati’s betrayal of that trust has put everyone on the planet below in danger. Well, except the mutants. The Cotati have landed on the ruins of the former mutant paradise of Genosha to plan their attack against Wakanda. However, they have unknowingly stepped on the burial ground of millions of undead mutants! The battle between the mutated undead and the plant aliens has just begun.
To investigate the sudden change in plant growth around the planet, Professor X and Magneto have sent Angel, Magik, Penance and Multiple Man to Genosha. Upon arrival, they realize that they are way in over their heads.
Empyre: X-Men #1 is not afraid to slow down between the moments of intense action. We get some great moments with Angel, Penance and Magik before they head back to Krakoa. Although, once the action ramps up, it does not stop. The constant onslaught by the Cotati and mutant undead make for an interesting struggle. It is hard to tell exactly what Howard and Hickman are planning for the rest of this mini-series, but I can already tell that it will be interesting.
Matteo Buffagni and Nolan Woodard’s art feel desolate and dry in the Genosha panels, representing the destruction that had occurred on the island. It adds to the dirtiness of the undead, making them even more grotesque. I imagine the X-Men feel similarly. To contrast, Krakoa feels more lively, even in Black Tom Cassidy’s underground sanctuary.
Empyre: X-Men is more insane than I expected. Hickman and Howard have crafted a small creative story within the already massive event that is Empyre. The ending was particularly odd, but I am curious to see what the writers plans are for the next three issues.