Avengers: Empyre Aftermath #1 Review: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Avengers: Empyre Aftermath #1
Avengers: Empyre Aftermath #1 sees the full team behind Marvel's Empyre event wrap up the series and look toward the future.

While it's billed as the "aftermath" of Empyre to get that precious #1 on the cover, Avengers: Empyre Aftermath #1 is essentially Empyre #7. The full creative team of writer Al Ewing, artist Valerio Schiti, colorist Marte Gracia, and letter VC's Ariana Maher return for this epilogue issue. It wraps up the whole event with a second, more planned wedding for Hulkling and Wiccan while also alluding to a dark future coming for the Marvel heroes.

Avengers: Empyre Aftermath #1 cover. Credit: Marvel
Avengers: Empyre Aftermath #1 cover. Credit: Marvel

Empyre as a whole struggled with character in the first half, delivering rushed moments that kicked the action off quickly but left some of Marvel's icons with weird, out-of-character moments. Ewing righted the course with the last two issues, giving Iron Man, the Thing, Hulkling, and especially Black Panther big character moments in the explosive final battle against the Cotati. Now, Avengers: Empyre Aftermath #1 continues that by delivering an issue-based fully in character, with intriguing teases for the future as well as callbacks to the past that would make any modern Marvel reader smile. It's a very Young Avengers-centric comic, delivering a distinct feeling of the torch being passed from the classic heroes to these… well, not-so-young-anymore Avengers. The best moment of the issue sees Captain America look back at a time when he tried to stop the young heroes from following in his path, thinking that he should have maybe helped them, trained them… To which Tony Stark replies, "…or Registered them?" before throwing putting his hands up, smirking in a perfectly Stark moment. It's a hilarious moment between these heroes that harkens back to what feels like a recent story still but is truly becoming history in the Marvel universe. It shows how far these characters have come, and it's moments like this that underline the history and the growth that makes Marvel comics special.

The art by Schiti and Gracia, as well as the letters from Maher, is every bit as good in Avengers: Empyre Aftermath #1, as in the rest of the series. Overall, the Empyre team delivered an epilogue that functioned perfectly to enrich the previous issues, wrap up loose ends, and tease the next big event.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.