The current Empyre: X-Men tie-in to the main Empyre summer event at Marvel is written E Street Band style… or, more appropriately, almost like a rap cipher with different teams doing their bit and then passing the focus down to the next writers. Tini Howard and Jonathan Hickman duoed the first issue, with writers Gerry Duggan, Ben Percy, and Leah Williams coming in with a trio on the second issue. Now, Vita Ayala, Zeb Wells, and Ed Brisson are here for the third. After a rambly second issue followed the stellar debut, can this team of writers get Empyre: X-Men back on track?
Empyre: X-Men #3 is a concise, dynamic, and thrilling chapter that loses the ill-placed banter of the second installment and replaces it with well-chosen character and action beats. Throughout this tie-in event, the Hordeculture have been a fun focus, and that continues to even better effect here under the pens of Brisson, Wells, and Ayala. Vita Ayala, in particular, has been a writer to follow with their superhero titles as well as their indie work with Black Mask on The Wilds and Vault with Submerged. Vita has a human touch to their stories, with breezy narratives strung together by well-chosen, brief scenes that speak to Vita's restraint and focus as a writer. That is on display here in this collaboration with Brisson and Wells, as the trio of writers creates a thrill ride of a comic.
The art by Andrea Broccardo, colorist Nolan Woodard, and VC's Clayton Cowels is great, as the pencils combine with horror-style colors and creepy sound effects to pull off some truly chilling scenes. Empyre: X-Men delivers explosive superhero action combined with some truly dark, horrific moments, culminating in the birth of a nasty threat that wouldn't look out of place in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run.
Empyre: X-Men #3's writing team is a welcome change of pace for this Empyre tie-in, as Vita Ayala, Zeb Wells, and Ed Brisson handle this huge cast and especially strange situation with expertise.