Spoilers ahead for Empyre # 4.
If you've been following Marvel's ongoing summer event saga, which pits the empire against Combined Kree / Skrull à la Cotati, you knowez that the herbal Cotati are on a mission to wipe out what they call "animal life" all over the universe - starting with Earth where they are trying to gain a foothold in Wakanda, whose soil rich in Vibranium would allow them to invade the entire galaxy with flora.
At the opening of Empyre # 4, Carol Danvers, the Kree accuser, and Kl 'rt, the Super Skrull, argue over how to handle the crisis, Emperor Dorrek VIII / Hulkling arrives and announces that he will prepare to destroy the Earth's sun and raze the galaxy to stop the Cotati before he allows them to take Wakanda. Carol, horrified, objects like Johnny Storm - she even uses her Universal Weapon to scan the Emperor's DNA, verifying he's Teddy Altman / Hulkling / Dorrek VIII. Carol and Johnny are transported as the Emperor relieves Carol of her accusation duty.
Back on Earth, Black Panther debates what to doabout the Cotati invasion, considering a scorched earth defense that would inhibit the Cotati, but decimate Wakanda. Reed Richards and Tony Stark are discussing (or more accurately arguing) about how to deal with Hulkling's threat of blowing up the sun, and it is revealed that he's building blue armor with the Fantastic Four logo on the chest.
(Image credit: Marvel Comics) figcaption>
As the forces of Earth gather in Wakanda and debate their next move, Mantis pays a visit to What on the Blue Zone of the Moon to implore his son to put end to his campaign against non-plant life, accompanied by Sue Storm, Ben Grimm and She-Hulk. What refuses to surrender at his mother's request to end his war, saying he's not the bad guy. She-Hulk incredibly agrees with him - and suddenly unleashes a massive Gamma explosion on everyone around her, sending them scattering across the stage.
Sue Storm comes together, having used her force fields to protect as many people as possible. she could, and confronts She-Hulk - who reveals that she is not She-Hulk at all, but a Cotati plant controlling the spirit that killed She-Hulk and taken control of her body, similar to the fate of the swordsman whose corpse linked to a Cotati clone.
It meansthat She-Hulk is dead - although we can probably expect her to come home to roost in the Post-Empyre Immortal She-Hulk # 1 , which is related to Immortal Hulk, Empyre co-author Al Ewing, who aa shown that Gamma mutates as the Hulk and She-Hulk always come back to life when ki lled, even under the most extreme circumstances.
The Cotati She-Hulk hybrid crushes Ben Grimm, defeating the heroes, while What leaves the zone.
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)
Back on Earth, Captain Marvel and Johnny Storm discuss Hulkling's plan to destroy the sun with Wiccan - who reads Carol's mind, and assesses that the Hulkling who gave the order isn't the Hulkling he knows, judging by his body language and more.
Carol wonders if that's possible, given the Universal weapon DNA scan - but she apparently doesn't remember that in Secret Invasion , the Skrulls have learned to mask their DNA to completely hide their alien identities. And, given that we've already seen She-Hulk replaced by a Cotati, with what explaining that the Switch was hidden because She-Hulk already has green skin, it's not impossible that the green-skinned Hulkling could be a Cotati too.
(Credit from image: Marvel Comics)
"I know Teddy Altman better than anyone on this Earth - or outside, " says Wiccan. "And that guy up there ... He 's not the man I married.>
And with that, Empyre # 4 ends with a flashback of this which was apparently the secret marriage of Hulkling and Wiccan - something that was teased in Marvel Comics # 1000 of 2019. It shows that while She-Hulk and non-Wiccan was the Avenger for betraying Earth's heroes that was mentioned in solicitation of the problem, Billy Kaplan was sha ringing a secret with the Emperor.
Empyre # 5 is due out August 12.