We mentioned this last night and everything seemed to explode. The big revealed ending for today's Empyre #4. An issue that saw Hulkling take some rather regrettable decisions, as the new emperor of both Skrull and Kree empires in an assault against the genocidal Cotati alien race, as it seems that one good genocide deserves another.
But we learn that all may not be as it seems, with one other traditional Marvel hero revealing that they are not what it seems. And so it may be with Hulkling, as Wiccan gets a view as to what he has become.
What, Billy? What could it be?
The marriage of Hulkling and Wiccan, and one that has been established for a short time now. Looks like the invites were close family and Young Avengers.
Reaction was swift.
No one tell Spider-Man though, today's Fantastic Four suggests that he might be getting marriage non-invitation paranoia.
Will this be enough to hit the headlines? It's certainly possible.
Wiccan (William "Billy" Kaplan) and Hulkling (Theodore "Teddy" Altman) were created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, in Young Avengers, published in 2005.
Wiccan's appearance is patterned on Thor and Scarlet Witch, and he and fellow teen hero Speed are long-lost twin sons of Scarlet Witch and Vision. Hulkling's character is patterned on the Hulk, but is a Kree/Skrull hybrid with shapeshifting abilities, and superhuman strength.
On initial publication, exchanges between Wiccan and Hulkling had led to speculation that the two teens had a much more intimate bond than mere friendship and Allan Heinberg confirmed this speculation, stating that his intent was to reveal the relationship, and he was surprised that his subtle clues were picked up on so quickly.
According to Marvel executive, Tom Brevoort, "Originally, Allan pitched Hulkling as a female character using her shape-changing abilities to pose as a man. I suspect this was as close as Allan felt he could get to depicting an openly gay relationship in a Marvel comic. But as we got underway… he started to have second thoughts and approached me about maintaining Hulkling and Wiccan as two involved male characters". The pair became superheroes' most prominent gay couple.
Recently, Hulkling became a key player in the Empyre series, detailing a war between the Skrull, Kree and Cotati, with humanity in the way, called on to become emperor and is forced to denounce Wiccan before privately reassuring Wiccan that he didn't mean it and had his fingers crossed.
Now we see why the pair were so confident that their relationship would survive such a separation.
EMPYRE #4 (OF 6)
(W) Al Ewing, Dan Slott (A) Valerio Schiti (CA) Jim Cheung
THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER…
• Tensions mount as the action heats up!
• As the attack on Wakanda intensifies, the heroes find themselves under attack from their enemies – and their allies!
• In a war where nobody can be fully trusted, betrayal cuts deep – as the alien invasion claims its first casualty!
• In this issue: The shock ending you never expected! You'll want to frame it for your wall, True Believer! Rated T+In Shops: Aug 05, 2020 SRP: $4.99
I bought mine from Piranha Comics in Kingston-Upon-Thames. Piranha Comics is a small south London comic store chain with a small south-east store in Kingston-Upon Thames's market centre, which runs Magic The Gathering nights on Fridays, and a larger south-west store in Bromley, which also runs Magic nights and has an extensive back issue collection and online store. If you are in the neighbourhood, check them out.