REVIEW: ‘Empyre: Avengers,’ Issue #2 (of 3)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Empyre: Avengers #2

Empyre: Avengers #2 is a tie-in to the Marvel Comics event Empyre. The writer is Jim Zub with art by Carlos Magno, and colours by Espen Grundetjern. Letters provided by VC’s Ariana Maher. The event began with both the alien Skrulls and Kree forming an uneasy alliance under their new emperor Hulkling. The two gigantic empires have combined to battle the Cotati, a race of plant-like creatures that have taken control of Earth’s Moon. 

In the Avengers tie-in, The Avengers have been split into separate teams to try and defend the globe from the oncoming threat. Luke Cage, Vision, and Doctor Nemesis are battling the villain Plant Man in Manhattan, while Mockingbird, Wonder Man and Quicksilver get into a confrontation with a squadron of Kree and Skrull soldiers, and must try and negotiate their way out. But the main focus of the story is in the Savage Land, where Scarlet Witch, Brother Voodoo, and Black Knight are coming to blows against both Man-Thing and Shanna the She-Devil.

Initially, I was concerned that none of the three main stories that thread through this issue would be able to build enough momentum to have an impact on the reader due to splitting between them. However, the tales take place in sequence, allowing each one to take place at the same time. Each one of the missions is fun and exciting, with the Savage Land scuffle taking up the majority of the space in the comic. The others feel like standard missions, but this one feels like it has stakes and the panel they choose to end on was a real shock.

The structure of Empyre: Avengers #2 taps into what I have adored about Avengers comics in recent years. They truly are a global team, and the locations help to accentuate that theme that has followed this outfit for decades but has had a particular presence since Hickman had control over the series. Zub also brilliantly captures the scale of the event through the use of small, one panel scenes that show where other Avengers and affiliate heroes battling the Cotati are. It suggests that there is an international operation being unleashed and that the three stories chosen for this tie-in are just a selection of the larger story.

Utilizing the large roster and reserves that this 50+-year-old team has to offer is something that Zub has shown he is capable of doing through Avengers: No Surrender, and he showcases that ability again here. The personality of each character involved shines through, especially those in the Savage Land mission. Black Knight has been a longtime personal favourite character, and it was enjoyable seeing him and KA-Zar’s son Matthew get used within this issue. The dialogue between the characters that Zub implements always hints at the long history that they have had with each other, even those that aren’t teammates. The way that Scarlet Witch tries to communicate with the possessed Shanna implies that the pair are aware of each other. Whilst this may not seem important to some, it is moments like this within Marvel comics is crucial when it comes to reminding the readers how tightly connected that universe is.

The vast array of characters within Empyre: Avengers #2 are not only well written, but they are also fantastically drawn. Magno infuses each hero with beautiful detail, their expressions clear and descriptive. There are several pages of fights inside this issue that are exhilarating to read. In addition to their personalities, most of the Avenger’s abilities and superpowers are used so that they can have a defining moment. For the ones that don’t, there is an assumption that they will in the next issue. Despite the scale of how many characters the artist has at his disposal, he very rarely has all of them in the same panel. He frequently keeps a one or two figure limit in a panel. I felt this helped keep track of the scenes while at the same time allowing for more detail to be bestowed upon them

The colours by Grundetjern are excellent. All of the locations feel unique, and the characters stand out against the background. This is due to an absence of detail behind the foreground, replaced by single colours. This keeps the focus of the reader on the action, helpful when there is so much of this. The colours on the costumes maintain a comforting cartoonish shade, the bright yellow of Luke Cage’s shirt for example, or the green and purple clash within the Kree and Skrull armours. The use of bright colours is inviting to the reader and is also beneficial for identifying characters.

The letters by Maher are influential in my enjoyment of the dialogue. Vision keeps his specific word balloon style, and there are alterations to the colour of the text and edges of the balloons for other characters, but the font itself remains the same throughout. This consistency allows them to be very easily read and followed. The SFX are small and understated, but look very cool during the large fights.

Empyre: Avengers #2 is an incredibly enjoyable tie-in issue to the exciting event. Zub s wone of the best writers is coordinating huge casts of characters, and this small series is very reminiscent to his work on Avengers: No Surrender and Avengers: No Way Home, two comics I adored. I am a huge fan of comics that pit rare groups of heroes together against minor villains as it creates unique interactions and combinations. The colourful art style is helpful in regards to keeping the audience entertained and enthralled. This book isn’t necessarily one that should be read for emotional or narrative depth, but it doesn’t have to be. These are small-sections of an intergalactic event, and the creative team successfully captures the fun possibilities that it conjures.

Empyre: Avengers #2 is available where comics are sold.

Empyre: Avengers #2
4

TL;DR

Empyre: Avengers #2 is an incredibly enjoyable tie-in issue to the exciting event. Zub s wone of the best writers is coordinating huge casts of characters, and this small series is very reminiscent to his work on Avengers: No Surrender and Avengers: No Way Home, two comics I adored. I am a huge fan of comics that pit rare groups of heroes together against minor villains as it creates unique interactions and combinations.