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Aug 12

Empyre: X-Men #3 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“Staff Infection”
by Vita Ayala, Zeb Wells, Ed Brisson & Andrea Broccardo

We’re firmly into “quite silly” territory by this point, plus it’s mainly an extended fight scene, so this ought to be quite short.

COVER / PAGE 1. The Cotati on one side, the zombies on the other, and X-Men stuck in between. Cyclops, Polaris, Colossus and Magneto appear, none of whom are in the issue.

PAGES 2-3. Recap and credits. You’ll note that the writers have changed again, continuing the jam session.

PAGES 4-6. The Cotati who were killed by the zombies return from the dead as zombie Cotati.

They’re called “ghouls” later in the issue, to distinguish them from the regular zombies.

PAGES 7-9. The psychics join the fight.

Okay, now I understand what was meant to be happening in issue #2. Black Tom sent some Krakoan golem things (the “organic defense system”) through the gate to Genosha. They didn’t do all that well because they needed a local source of power. And Krakoa feeds particularly on psychic energy, so Magik has called in a bunch of psychics to help provide that local power source. Alright.

We get a different (though overlapping) selection of psychics compared to the ones who were seen arriving at the end of last issue, and Amahl Farouk is conspicuous by his absence. If he wasn’t going to be important to the plot then having him show up in a cameo last issue was a bit silly, given the sort of character that he is.

Anyway, the characters who do appear in this issue are:

  • The Stepford Cuckoos, all five of them.
  • Mister Sinister
  • Exodus
  • Selene
  • Karma from New Mutants
  • Mirage, also from New Mutants. If you’re wondering when she got her powers back, she seemed to have them in Matthew Rosenberg’s Uncanny X-Men run after being cured of the Transmode virus – after that point, she’s shown using her psychic arrows again.
  • Kid Omega from X-Force
  • Manon, one of the dodgy psychic twins from the supporting cast of New Mutants. Presumably her brother Maxime is there too, since they’re rarely separated.

PAGE 10. Magik takes Opal Vetiver to Krakoa to work with the Beast on her serum.

“Black oak”. Opal said “black walnut” last issue, but maybe Magik wasn’t paying that close attention.

PAGES 11-13. Explodey Boy blows up a bunch of Cotati.

PAGE 14. Opal and Beast work up their serum.

That didn’t take long, did it?

PAGES 15-20. Nightcrawler takes the serum to Genosha.

“Heiliger Strohsack” is broadly equivalent to “Holy crap”.

“Juhu” is “Yay.”

“Hoppla” is “oops.” Unusually wide range of German vocabulary from Kurt here.yay

PAGES 21-23. Magik finds the source of the zombies, and is turned into the Zombie Queen.

More about what this staff is in a later scene.

PAGES 24-26. More comedy with Madrox and Explodey Boy.

PAGES 27-29. Magik identifies herself as the Zombie Queen.

According to Magik, the staff she’s carrying is made up of “the World Tree Root, which bridges the realms of life and death”, “the Tri-Crown of the Chaos Godhead, which perverts the law of nature”, and “the eye of Alak-Rah, the Void Spider, who from blood weaves life.” We saw the Scarlet Witch collect these three objects and form the staff in the prologue to issue #1.

The World Tree, in the Marvel Universe, is usually Yggdrasil, from Norse mythology via Mighty Thor. It’s more a mystic symbol than a physical thing, but Thor being the sort of book it is, it’s kind of both. The other two seem to be new inventions.

PAGES 30-33. The zombies infect the giant “Cotatinaught”.

So now there’s a giant plant zombie in Genosha. Fun place.

PAGES 34-35. The Krakoan reads NEXT: A BIGGER BELL (with the smaller text “psychic showdown”).

Bring on the comments

  1. Taibak says:

    “Heiliger Strohsack” is a little big stronger than “leaping lizards”. It literally means a holy bag of straw, but idiomatically it means something more like “holy crap”.

  2. Paul says:

    Hmm, evidently the first translation site I tried was feeling euphemistic. I’ll change that – thanks.

  3. Taibak says:

    Eh. It’s pretty close. It’s just that it’s not quite as cute as “leaping lizards”. Even something like “holy cow” would be a good translation.

    Granted, that’s partly because nobody really says “leaping lizards” unless they’re Little Orphan Annie.

  4. Si says:

    Doctor Strange had a staff made from Yggdrasil as well, when he was trying to find ways around the magic famine that was going on at the time. I can’t remember what happened to it, but it might be the same one.

    I’m really not happy with the idea of the Native American character having a magic bow as her power in 2020. The talking to animals and the violent hunter personality are bad enough, but why return to retired racial caricatures? Especially considering how many different power sets she’s had over the years. The bow isn’t even her first, or second.

  5. Ryan T says:

    Isn’t there a bunch of canon about what happens when Maddrox’ dupes die and how that’s a major deal for him? Am I imagining that or is it just being hand waved here?

    Or maybe it’s only a big deal if he reabsorbs them? I just remember a bigger deal being made of it elsewhere and a ton of dupes dying for comedy seemed off from what I recalled his personal stakes as being.

  6. The Other Michael says:

    Let’s face it: no one’s actually respected Madrox since PAD’s tenure with him ended and he retired to live on a farm.

    First he comes back to die from the Terrigen Mists to establish a false sense of gravitas. “Yes, Madrox is dead. Really truly dead, and this was the original…”

    Then Rosenberg brings him back as a random dupe, subjects him to time travel bullshit where he’s mashed-up with other characters and winds up leaving a park full of corpses of himself.

    And then Rosenberg randomly kills off Madrox “for good” again in a pointless sacrifice.

    And now he’s just sort of… everywhere as common labor or as cannon fodder as needed, and killing a Madrox off has no consequences whatsoever. (Not that killing -any- mutant has consequences now.)

    Before you know it, there’ll be a booth at the next Krakoan carnival where you can kill a Madrox to win a prize.

  7. Josie says:

    He doesn’t do a lot of consistent work for Marvel anymore, but I think Joe Kelly would have interesting things to say about Madrox.

  8. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @The Other Michael
    I think Rosenberg wrote Madrox pretty well in the Uncanny run (I’m not commenting on his Madrox mini since I’m not sure I fully understand who was which dupe when…) – but on the whole I think he tried to simultanously respect David’s run without negating Death of X’s ‘it’s really me, the Prime, dying forever’ bit.

    Now, I don’t agree with the second part – I think it was a stupid bit and should’ve been overturned – but I get that it might be an unenviable position for a Marvel writer to basically write ‘your plot point was stupid’ of another Marvel writer who is still currently involved with the company. Or at least that it would be awkward and Rosenberg might prefer not to poo-poo anybody else’s work.

    As for killing him ‘for good in a pointless sacrifice’ – well, that happened to like, half the cast in that run. That hardly makes it personal.

    Having said all that, I too would prefer if Madrox’s first DoX starring role was in a more interesting capacity. Then again this book seems to be the place for showcasing several currently underused characters – Angel, Nightcrawler, M… though if that was the idea, I’m not sure why Magik would be front and center.

  9. Mikey says:

    So, not only did Scarlet Witch awaken an island of zombies and not tell anyone, but also, she left the magic staff there, too?

    Get it together, Wanda.

  10. The Other Michael says:

    The point is, ever since Madrox was given a dignified retirement, he’s been turned into something of a comedy character whose real use is to generate lots of expandable clones who no longer have an existence of their own. There’s no longer any consequence to one dying, much less 20 or 30 being blown up and fed to zombies.

    I miss the days when Madrox dupes had variable personalities, and even goals of their own. But maybe this is a secondary mutation, where Jamie can decide just how independent his dupes are. Maybe he can choose between “here’s a full-fledged other me” and “these dudes are basically just drones.”

  11. MasterMahan says:

    I thought Krakoa was being unfair to the Scarlet Watch over Decimation, but now? Her attempt to restore Genosha released a zombie plague so virulent it can infect alien plants, all because she didn’t think using “the Tri-Crown of the Chaos Godhead, which perverts the law of nature”, might have bad consequences. And then she didn’t tell anyone. Now that’s a fuckup.

    Conspiracy thought: Were Marvel dicking with Multiple Man because Fox announced a Madrox movie with Jamie Franco?

  12. Karl_H says:

    Wanda is obviously so embarrassed by her actions in this mini that she’s off in a different tie-in acting, as the rest of the Marvel Universe will, like she didn’t do any of it.

  13. Loz says:

    Well, waaaaay back in time, wasn’t the Madrox that died of the Legacy Virus *also* Madrox Prime? That was around the time I stopped reading so maybe when he came back after that it was retconned away.

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