Marvel‘s Empyre: X-Men #4 is the final issue in this mini-story arc. Within this arc, Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlett Witch, wants to redeem herself and right a horrible wrong she’s done in the past. Scarlett Witch single-handedly annihilated over 16 million mutants in Genosha. So, she sets out to resurrect them via a spell. Unfortunately, the spell goes horribly wrong and brings the mutants back as zombies. Unbeknownst to the X-Men, they are trying to clean up Wanda’s mess, fighting back a zombie mutant horde, while teaming up with a new villain group, a bunch of elderly botanists known as Hordeculture. Empyre: X-Men #4 is written by Jonathan Hickman. Art is done by Jorge Molina and Lucas Werneck. Ink is done by Adriano Di Benedetto, joined by Werneck. Nolan Woodard returns as color artists, joined by Rachelle Rosenberg. VC’s Clayton Cowles returns as Letterer.
In this story finale, some questions are answered and the story comes full circle. While each issue has been action-packed, issue 4 is a bit tamer, focusing on storytelling and tying up loose ends to satisfy the reader. Comedy is woven back into the issue and it’s welcomed and feels organic. It also feels like Hickman wants to remind readers that despite looking different and having special abilities, mutants and the X-Men are human. Hickman explores and does a great job at showcasing Scarlett Witch’s sin, grief, regret, and her shot at redemption. Also, considering how powerful she is, it’s hard for her to ask for help.
And it’s help from Doctor Strange, who is of all people, a rival sorcerer. I enjoyed their exchange and how Doctor Strange holds her accountable for her actions. We see him pouring himself a drink as Wanda is recalling the steps of her failed spell and he is not here for any of her nonsense.
This issue really doesn’t concentrate on the series regulars that have been doing the fighting. I appreciate Hickman’s writing for tackling the other part of the story, the source, and giving readers a meaningful explanation and ending. It’s unfortunate we don’t get an explanation of who Hordeculture is and what their motive was. And although we get a vague answer on how they’re able to cross Krakoan gates, it’s still frustrating, not knowing.
The art in this issue doesn’t really pop and our heroes don’t have large panels showcasing all their glory, however, thanks to the art team, the pages are awesome to look at. The character design for each mutant is pretty dope. Magik’s transformation and detail look extremely dope. Beast and Nightcrawler’s blue colored fur pops with its vibrancy. While not having large or full-page panels of the heroes, the multiple panels they are in still do the design justice, showcasing action, conversation, and emotion.
Empyre: X-Men #4 is a decent culmination of a small story arc. While it has an anti-climactic end, questions are answered and plot lines are filled. It seems fitting to end things on a calmer note and it’s done well. And the way the arc ends, it’s open-ended for a central character and their plight. Hickman’s writing is extremely good, and readers will be satisfied with the outcome.
Empyre: X-Men #4 is available wherever comic books are sold.