Marvel has gone vegan of late, with their summer event Empyre invading Earth-616 with leafy invaders. As Al Ewing writes the main Empyre title, the fallout of the event is extending through Marvel's publishing catalog, creating a laundry list of tie-ins including Emperor Hulk, Empyre: Captain America, and Empyre: X-Men. Under writer Jonathan Hickman's reign, all of the X-Men titles got a completely fresh slate and very much have their own tone, drive, and subject matter, making the Mutant-populated corner of the Marvel universe feel very much like its own, self-contained world… which is actually one of the themes of the various titles that Hickman is shepherding with writers Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, and more. How does such a title, then, jibe with another writer's event? Al Ewing spoke on exactly that in a conversation with Marvel.com yesterday.
Al Ewing, who writes Empyre from a story co-plotted by himself and Dan Slott, said of Empyre: X-Men:
"Their story certainly doesn't contradict any of the things going on in EMPYRE, and it's a heck of a lot of fun, especially for X-readers. We do refer to it in the main book – but more as a pointer in that direction if people want to check out how Marvel's merry mutants are weathering the crisis. I think people who like their X-books self-contained will still get a kick out of this tie-in. It's a wild ride!"
Empyre: X-Men does, indeed, tell its own story to great effect. The series hinges on an emotional moment for Scarlet Witch that has an actual impact, not only on the Empyre event but on the character and the X-Men world at large. Tie-ins often get derided as cash cows, but X-Men is indeed very much doing its own thing.
Speaking on doing your own thing, Al Ewing did exactly that when writing one of the breakout characters of the Young Avengers, Hulkling. Considering the character has essentially become the leader of two species that have joined together only to declare war on another in Empyre, it's understandable that readers are concerned the character might be going to the dark side. On that topic, Ewing said:
"Well, there were a lot of people out there worried that Hulkling was about to turn heel on us, and I'm glad that their fears have been laid to rest – at least for now. Personally, this is something I've been working up to for a while – since NEW AVENGERS #3, on and off – the moment where Hulkling takes the mantle and does it his way. So, it's nice to see that story tree bearing fruit."
Empyre, and Empyre: X-Men, are out in stores now.