Review: ‘Empyre: X-Men’ #2 Explodes Into Gleeful Chaos

by Tony Thornley
Cover by Stephen Segovia & Sunny Gho

Empyre: X-Men is one of the most interesting experiments in comics we may have seen ever. With the X-Men writers’ room gaining a reputation as one of the most unique families of creators, this series became a round robin in their hands, with each writer seeking to one-up the last. It’s made for an interesting read, but does it work?

This issue is perhaps the most dense the series will be, with three writers, but it creates a perfect sort of chaotic energy for an alien invasion. It comes to us from Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, Nolan Woodard, Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller.

Angel, Magik and Penance are in over their heads, with threats from three sides all coming at them at once. Horticulture only seems to want to understand (and maybe exploit) the Cotati. The Cotati want to destroy all meatbags. Meanwhile, Genosha’s zombie mutant population just want to live in peace. Naturally, things get out of hand…

Like I said, this is just a gleefully chaotic issue, and it’s a lot of fun. However, the differences in writing styles are readily apparent here. Duggan and Williams both embrace the chaos, with tongue in cheek silliness mixed into the action, leading to some fun moments and great interpersonal dynamics. However, Percy’s writing style is much more dry, with a more droll sense of humor. It makes for a middle section of the issue that’s more somber than its bookends, and sticks out because of it.

Werneck is a welcome sight in the issue. Though his style is a bit more “house style” Buffiagni last issue, he quickly captures the spirit of the characters and puts it on the page. He also does some really great things with facial expressions, which is always such a delight to see. His depiction of Angel in particular is an absolute delight, with a presence on the page that fits the character’s personality. Woodard’s colors work really well, with a core palette of earth tones, which makes the X-Men with their brighter colors pop off the page.

With this gleeful chaos, I can’t wait for the next issue. Even with its warts, I hope we see more series like this in the future.

Empyre: X-Men #2 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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