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Teddy (Hulkling), emperor of the Kree/Skrull alliance, lifts his cosmic sword in triumph, flanked by his husband Billy (Wiccan) an Captain Marvel, the Human Torch, and more, in Empyre #6, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Al Ewing, Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti/Marvel Comics

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Marvel’s giant Avengers-Fantastic Four-X-Men crossover went out with a half-bang

Expected, but hey, the sun didn’t explode!

Empyre, Marvel Comics’ big crossover event for summer 2020, promised a clash of titans: a four-way fight between the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the all-powerful Kree, and the shifty Skrulls. The hype machine rolled ... right into a two-month delay when the American comics industry’s sole distributor shut down.

The delay meant readers had two more months than anticipated to chew on what they thought Empyre was about, before the event’s first issue twist reframed pretty much everything about the story. The Kree and Skrulls really were in an alliance. The Fantastic Four and Avengers and X-Men weren’t going to be fighting each other at all. In fact, everybody was going to work together to fight the Cotati, a plant-based alien race that, until Empyre #1, was largely a footnote in the origins of the Kree-Skrull War.

And now that Empyre’s main plot has wrapped up, everybody’s left to deal with the aftermath. Of which there is surprisingly little? Nobody even died?

Empyre is a weird crossover, y’all.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. If you missed the last one, read this.


Empyre #6

Mr. Fantastic battles Quoi, wearing a stretchy Iron Man suit in Empyre #6, Marvel Comics (2020). Al Ewing, Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti/Marvel Comics

Empyre introduced the Kree-Skrull alliance, lead by Emperor Teddy “Hulkling” Altman, and in the end ... it’s still around, and Teddy’s still in charge. He did get married to his long-time fiancé, Billy “Wiccan” Kaplan, so that’s nice. Captain Marvel got a big hammer.

I think that’s why Empyre #6 feels weirdly anticlimactic. The biggest changes the event carved out — the joint Kree/Skrull alliance and its promise of a major reorganization of Marvel’s space setting was already established at the beginning of the story.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy

Gar/Beast Boy takes a selfie with a friendly python wrapped around his body in Teen Titans: Beast Boy, DC Comics (2020). Image: Kami Garcia, Gabriel Picolo/DC Comics

Teen Titans: Beast Boy is definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of the character, but you don’t have to take my word for it: We’ve got a full review.

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1

Eyes open, the massive corpse of a beautiful armored female god drifts in space, as a fleet of tiny space ships approaches in We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1, Boom Studios (2020). Image: Al Ewing, Simone Di Meo/Boom Studios

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead is a new original series from Immortal Hulk writer Al Ewing and artist Simone Di Meo. It’s set in the future, and in space, in a time when humanity has mined all the resources out of the galaxy. We survive on meat, metals, and other substances harvested from, and I cannot emphasize this enough, massive, dead, armored bodies that keep drifting in from deep space. No one has ever seen one alive, but Captain Georges Malik and his crew plan to smash the status quo by daring deep space to find a living god.

It’s a very cool comic, is what I’m saying.

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #2

Ruin, a nightmare, describes seeing his first charge and instantly falling in love, unable to perform his function of giving the beautiful man a nightmare, in The Dreaming: Waking Hours #2, DC Comics (2020). Image: G. Willow Wilson, Nick Robles/DC Comics

I feel like I’ve been waiting ages for Nick Robles to draw a DC Comic, and Waking Hours feels like he’s just unleashed, delivering beautiful detailing, creative layouts, and his signature: hot guys.

Guardians of the Galaxy #6

In an issue that felt a bit like a pastiche on Heroes in Crisis, Nova went to therapy in this week’s Guardians of the Galaxy, where he confessed unrequited and unvoiced romantic feelings for Star-Lord. Let’s all give a big welcome out of the closet for Richard Rider, and please, at least keep your “Dick Rider” jokes out of his earshot.

Batman #98

“But how...” Punchline says when she realizes that Batman has shrugged off her deadly toxin, “That’s not possible. In answer, Batman says “I’m Batman” with the “Batman” rendered as a huge word spashed across the silhouette of his splayed cape, in Batman #98, DC Comics (2020). Image: James Tynion IV, Jorge Jimenez/DC Comics

“I’m Batman” is about the stalest thing for Batman to say, and so I want to give a shoutout to Batman #98 for pulling it off with a cool art twist. Sadly I cannot remember what this is called, when the comic’s lettering is incorporated into the art as elements of the characters or environment, but Will Eisner was kinda famous for it, and it is COOL.