Empyre: X-Men (2020) #4 by Jonathan Hickman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After a dip in quality in #3 I wasn’t too enthusiastic when I picked this up to read it…but I shouldn’t have worried because Hickman is back to finish off the series and he knocks it out the park!
Issue three suffered greatly from too much going on at once, and so Hickman wisely pulls back from the main action and focus on two characters, one new and one we haven’t actually seen since the beginning of the first issue. We open with the Scarlet Witch, who’s gone to Doctor Strange to help her fix the mess she’s created. He tries to teach her that you can’t undo your sins, you have to do good to balance them out, but seems fairly sure that Wanda isn’t going to learn that lesson. It could have been really heavy going, but instead it’s played mostly for laughs, and that feels like the right tone for this series. And then we switch focus to Explodey Boy, a new young mutant who died on Genosha and was resurrected on Karkoa, and the short time he spends with his own reanimated corpse. And, wow, it’s brilliant. Very funny, and but also touching and poignant. I hope we get to see more of Explodey boy in future!
Overall, this series was…inconsistent. It got off to a somewhat shaky start, then rallied with the second issue, the third issue was a mess, and then this final issue is simply superb. On the whole, a decent series, but probably better read as a trade papaerback collection than as single issues.