Appearing in 1st story
- Fantastic Four
- The Alliance
- Empyre (Main story and flashback)
- Captain America (Steve Rogers) (Mentioned)
- United States Army (Mentioned)
- Galactus (Mentioned)
- Thor (Odinson) (Mentioned)
- Dora Milaje
- Hatut Zeraze
- Hulk (Jen Walters) (Corpse possessed by a Cotati in main story and death in flashback)
- Jacques Duquesne (Mentioned)
- Allan Heinberg (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Jim Cheung (First appearance) (Only in flashback)
- Young Avengers (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and flashback)
- Skrull-Kree Hybrids (Main story and flashback)
- Human-Kree Hybrids
- Space Phantoms (Mentioned)
- Mutants (Main story and flashback)
- Cotati (Main story and flashback)
- Celestials (Corpse)
- Cotati-Human Hybrids
- Kree-Cockroach Hybrids (Only in flashback)
- Milky Way (Main story and flashback)
- Solar System (Main story and flashback)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- United States of America (Main story and flashback)
- Arctic Ocean
- Lake Victoria
- Earth Orbit (Only in flashback)
- Sun (Mentioned)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- Solar System (Main story and flashback)
- Tarnax IV, Tarnax System, Andromed Galaxy (Mentioned)
- Kral System, Andromeda Galaxy (Mentioned)
- Fantastic Four Uniforms
- Universal Weapon
- Captain Marvel's Suit
- Kree Militia Uniforms
- Pyre (Mentioned)
- Wiccan's Suit
- Mister Fantastic's Armor (First appearance) (Under construction)
- Panther Habit
- Swordsman's Sword
- Hulk's Vibranium Containment Suit (Main story and flashback)
Synopsis for 1st story
Aboard the Alliance flagship, Hulkling returns from resting to suddenly reveal that he agrees to deploy the Pyre on Earth's Sun. Captain Marvel and the Human Torch are taken aback by this sudden shift in Teddy's personality, especially after Carol uses the Universal Weapon to scan him, but it only verifies his identity. After trading blows with Captain Glory and Super-Skrull, they are teleported away by Mur-G'nn to Wiccan's apartment.
In the Avengers Mansion, Tony Stark is working on a Fantastic Four-inspired armor, still worrying Mister Fantastic. In Wakanda, Black Panther wields the Star-Sword to hold the line against an overwhelming army of Cotati at the foot of the Great Mound. The Invisible Woman, The Thing and the Hulk accompany Mantis to Quoi and the Swordsman's output in Lake Victoria, and she attempts to convince her son to give up on his plan of genocide. The Hulk suddenly turns against her allies, revealing that she is actually a Cotati who had taken over the Hulk's body when the Avengers were on the Moon. Meanwhile back at Wiccan's apartment, Billy uses magic to see the Hulkling that Carol saw, and determines that there is no way that person is the man he had married, revealing that he and Teddy had previoulsy held a wedding.
Inside the Alliance flagship, Captain Marvel is reporting to Super-Skrull the difficulties Captain America is experiencing to pull together the human forces. Super-Skrull sympathizes with her, mentioning how the Alliance's troops are not united due to the grudges of their empires. He also complains about Tanalth the Pursuer sequestering herself for a Kree ritual, and suggests waking up Emperor Hulkling. Carol disagrees, arguing they spent too much convincing him to rest and that they need him fresh due to the Cotati's amassing of their troops in Wakanda to take the Great Mound. Throughout this discussion, an inner monologue belonging to the Black Panther wonders whether his highest duty as a king is to his people or to the world, and asks himself what kind of sins he is willing to commit for them; posing the question of what makes a king. Hulkling steps into the scene accompanied by Captain Glory and states that he is ready to take over. He declares that he is ready to make the necessary sacrifices, and elaborates by ordering the deployment of the Pyre in case it becomes necessary to activate it. Captain Marvel and the Human Torch are surprised, and Carol orders her Universal Weapon to make a full genetic scan of Hulkling and find out if he's been replaced with a shapeshifter. Glory objects to it, but Hulkling allows her to perform the scan, which identifies Hulking as whom he's supposed to be, to Carol's shock. Hulkling malevolently asks Carol if that settles everything, but both her and the Human Torch take a stand, with Johnny flaming on. Still doubtful of Teddy's identity, Carol objects to the destruction of the Earth. Captain Glory punches her, arguing that if the Cotati take the world, they will have the power to murder a galaxy. Johnny reminds him that both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers have had experience against impossible odds. Super-Skrull holds Johnny from behind, absorbing his flame while reproaching that the Fantastic Four were nowhere when Galactus consumed the Skrull throneworld. Johnny warns Super-Skrull that despite the use of his powers to siphon his own, he will set ablaze again. Johnny falters, to which Kl'rt reveals he is using his hypnotism on him. He is interrupted when Captain Glory is lunged at him from behind by Carol. Hulkling orders Mur-G'nn to use her magic to teleport the two away, and she reluctantly concedes. Mur-G'nn informs Hulkling that was a spell she had prepared in case of evacuation. Captain Glory complains both that she didn't execute them and that she let Danvers get away with the Universal Weapon. Hulkling brushes that off, but ponders where did Mur-G'nn teleport them. Carol and Johnny materialize in the middle of an apartment, which Johnny notices is in New York. Carol recalls that magic responds to intent, and it's possible Mur-G'nn had doubts about Hulkling as well. The two are then approached by Wiccan, revealing they are at his home, where he has briefly returned home between fighting the invasion. He asks if Teddy sent them, and Johnny decides to be blunt and tell Billy that his boyfriend wants to detonate the sun, and asks Wiccan for his phone.
At the Avengers Mountain, Mister Fantastic hangs up after talking with Johnny, and tells him to stay with Carol. Reed approaches Tony Stark approaches him to tell him the news about the Alliance's use of the Pyre in case the Cotati are not stopped in Wakanda. They both theorize the Kree and the Skrull could still do it even if it's not necessary. When Tony notes that this emergency is another item for their to-do list, Reed brings attention to the fact that Tony is working on a suit, gesturing to an incomplete blue and white Iron Man-like armor with the Fantastic Four chest emblem. Reed questions if Tony should be spending his time on it. Tony asks Reed if he is serious, and rebukes him, pointing out that he sent Thor on a quest because it is his process of solving problems, whereas building an armor is his own process since he thinks in suits. He walks away, asking Reed to let him think. In his inner monologue, T'Challa poses the question of what makes a leader. He reveals that Reed opened with his worries about Tony in a communication to inform him about the Pyre.
In Wakanda, T'Challa wields the Star-Sword to hold the line against and endless swarm of Cotati soldiers at the base of the Great Mound. He is fighting alongside the Dora Milaje and the Hatut Zeraze. T'Challa recalls telling Reed to work on his priorities. Continuing his narration, Black Panther explains that the Cotati managed to beach Wakanda's defenses through a mix of telepathic manipulation and brute force, and that his own troops are one step behind against the Cotati's ability to communicate at the speed of thought. T'Challa admits that he should be focused, but wonders what are his own priorities, reiterating the question of what makes a king. He contemplates the idea of ordering the entire Wakandan area to be irradiated to prevent further growth of anything in the soil. He admits that it's a seductive thought that would show his determination as a king, whereas the Cotati would only be inconvenienced and would seek another place of power elsewhere in the universe. T'Challa tells himself that victory will not come from hollow shows, and that a king's true priority is peace.
In Lake Victoria, Quoi expresses his confusion that Wakanda still stands. As he observes the battle from an amber orb, the Swordsman reminds him that T'Challa is a master strategist, and warns him about strategies they can't see. The Swordsman realizes there are combatants missing from the battle, including the Invisible Woman, prompting Quoi to wonder if they should expect an attack where they are. Mantis tells him no as the Invisible Woman turns her visible from within an energy field, alongside the Hulk and The Thing. The Swordsman draws his sword, but Quoi agrees to her his mother out. Quoi recalls that his mother tried to communicate with him through a construct before, and tries to goad her, treating her as a hypocrite. Mantis admits that she might not always do what is best for Quoi, but tells him that her wrongs can't justify his. She warns him about the burden of committing genocide, but Quoi brushes it off since he believes he will bring days of peace, something he accuses animals of being incapable of. Mantis uses the Kree/Skrull alliance as an example of the contrary, and asks Quoi why must he hold on to his grudges. He sardonically supposes they united to bring apologies to the Cotati. He brings up the destruction of the Kral System, and assumes they are ready to do the same again, using that to ask his mother if he isn't this world's savior. The Invisible Woman tells him that nobody has done anything and that there is still time to talk. The Hulk interjects, revealing that the Alliance has deployed the Pyre, and suggests Quoi to press his attack immediately. When The Thing expresses his confusion, the Hulk detonates a gamma blast in response, sending Mantis, Ben and Sue flying away. Mantis and Sue manage to survive with a force field. Ben lands away from them, and the Hulk jumps in front of him. She expels vines out of her mouth, and explains that when Cotati assimilate a human's dead body, they turn their skin green, so they took advantage that the Hulk already had a green skin to take her over when the Avengers were on the Moon. The vines form a face on top of the Hulk's head and begin to extend to the rest of her body. The Hulk Cotati emphasizes that she is wearing Jen's dead body like clothes and warns The Thing that she is going to send him to meet her, delivering a devastating blow to his face. Back in Lake Victoria, the Swordsman rejoices on the turn of events and the fact that their Hulk will kill the heroes. When Quoi points out that one of them is her mother, the Swordsman admits that he shares feelings for her due to his human template, but asks Quoi if they can join weakness like animals. Mantis reaches out to Quoi telepathically and begs him to stop, but he shuts her out and concurs with his father. The Swordsman walks into a portal gateway, telling Quoi that this location has served its purpose as a lure, and assuring him that when they meet Earth's heroes next it will be their moment of absolute triumph. In his inner monologue, Black Panther asks himself if he is a weak man, and asserts that it is impossible to win any fight by surrendering what you have fought for.
Back at Wiccan's apartment, Billy uses magic to see the Hulkling that Carol saw, and assures her that it wasn't the real Hulkling. He brings attention to his facial expressions, saying that even when possessed or mind-controlled, he'd see something of Teddy. Johnny and Carol explain that they verified his identity at a genetic level, but Wiccan insists that the man up there isn't the man he married. A flashback shot shows Teddy and Wiccan kissing at the altar in a chapel accompanied by the Young Avengers.
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!
- Young Avengers co-creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung make an easter egg appearance at Teddy Altman and Billy Kaplan's wedding, as the marriage officiant and the pianist, respectively.
- Marnell, Blair (August 5, 2020). ‘Empyre’ #4 Spoiler Session: Beloved Super Heroes Unite. Marvel.com. Retrieved on August 11, 2020.
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