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Empyre: Avengers #2: Review

Aug 2020
Jim Zubkavich, Carlos Magno

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Empyre: Avengers #2 Review by (August 16, 2020)
Samuel Smithers started Marvel life in Strange Tales (Human Torch) #113 as villain Plantman whose raygun could control plants. Amongst other apps, during Namor The Sub-Mariner #16-25 he was involved with a different species of alien plant invaders the H'ylthri, but he turned against them to save Earth. He gave up his plant-ray there but in Web Of Spider-Man #100 he could control plants himself. By the time he was on the run with Hawkeye in Thunderbolts #57-65 he was already part plant and in touch with the 'Verdant Green' and considered himself an elemental. In #65 Machinesmith examined him and declared him 40% vegetable. In that issue he joined Hawkeye's new hero team as Blackheath, but gradually lost contact with his human side through to #75 and the Avengers/Thunderbolts mini-series in 2004. He's had very few apps since then, the last
being the Year Of Marvels September Infinite Comic.

Maybe Ka-Zar's death will give Shanna her wish if he too gets resurrected with Man-Thing blood and joins her in her connection to the Land. But Maybe it's not Ka-Zar. It was stated earlier ikn the issue that Kevin and son Matthew look very similar. Shanna obviously believes it's her husband who gets stabbed, but maybe it's Matt who's lost his headband in the fighting and, less likely, swapped loincloths with his father. Maybe we'll find out next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Empyre: Avengers #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
A mixture of Avengers, Agents Of Wakanda and other allies have gathered together to oppose the Cotati, who intend to wipe out all animal life from Earth, and have split into teams to handle 3 specific threats.

But before we get back to them we see some other folks fighting on some other fronts. The Wakandan Hatut Zeraze take on Cotati archers near Khartoum. The Warriors 3 defend Little Asgard in Broxton. And Captain America helps soldiers hold Washington DC (as seen in the Empyre: CA mini-series). Okoye reports other incursions in Caracas, Lisbon, Manila and Yokohama to Black Panther.  He says he'll send reinforcements if asked, but now he's taking the Wakandan helicarrier back home. Wakanda has not been attacked yet, but he is convinced that they will be a target soon. (This obviously occurs between Empyre #1-2, where BP was in space, and #3 where he is defending his country against Cotati attack.)

Now we return to the scheduled battles.

Central Park Reservoir has been overrun by a fungoid growth. Vision has gone down inside to investigate, and reports up to Dr Nemesis and Luke Cage that he detects something like a heartbeat. He might say that it matches that of Luke, but his signal breaks up. As does the surface of the lake as a green being bursts forth, closely followed by the synthezoid who informs them that they face Plantman, who used to be human Samuel Smithers but has become a plant elemental servant of the Verdant Green. And he's now willingly allied with the Cotati to rid the planet of meat. The Cotati have shown him how to further enhance his powers, and now he creates an army of vegetative soldiers.

Near Navojoa Mexico Mockingbird, Quicksilver and Wonder Man have helped a Kree/Skrull force defeat a Cotati army, but they objected when the Alliance started killing prisoners. Now the aliens have Bobbi Morse and Pietro Maximoff at their mercy and threaten to kill them unless ionic Wonder Man surrenders. Instead pacifist Simon Williams talks his way out of the problem. He gets a leading Skrull to admit to the Kree that he doesn't really believe in their Alliance, and when this war's over the Skrull Empire will beat heck out the Kree. The boss Kree declares the Skrull unfit to lead the combined force, and the 2 sides forget about the Avengers to fight each other.

The remaining more-than-half of the issue concerns the 3rd group in the Savage Land. Last issue Black Knight, Dr Voodoo, Ka-Zar and Scarlet Witch went there to protect KZ's wife and son against the Cotati, but when they got there they found that the aliens had 2 allies:- the vegetable Man-Thing and KZ's wife Shanna.

Dane Whitman wakes from being drugged by alien spores to find himself without his sword sharing a cave with the smilodon Zabu and a loin-clothed man who turns out to be not Ka-Zar but his son Matthew Plunder. Through a grill of stalactites and stalagmites they see the Cotati surrounding Jericho Drumm and Wanda Maximoff both unconscious at Man-Thing's feet while a green-skinned Shanna holds her husband aloft in a powerful grip. Some time ago in Savage Wolverine #3-4 she died and was resurrected with blood from the local Man-Thing and now she is linked to the Savage Land and it's Man-Thing with extra powers (but she didn't turn green). (And I guess this here is the Savage Land Man-Thing.) Now she has allied with the Cotati who also respect the Land, and she wants Kevin Plunder to join her.

Voodoo and Witch's bodies may be immobilised by Cotati plant magic but Jericho Drumm's astral body visits Matthew and the Knight while Wanda enters Shanna's mind, where she finds a non-green Shanna meditating. As soon as she makes herself known the She-Devil goes feral and attacks her. As mental Shanna slices her arm with a blade, Wanda's real body spasms. To distract the Cotati's attention Voodoo enters Man-Thing's 'mind', and the combination breaks Black Knight, Matthew and Zabu free. Wanda brings Ka-Zar into his wife's mind to try to reason with her. Shanna complains about Kevin dashing off to join the Agents Of Wakanda, and before that not listening when she told him how since her resurrection she felt everything that happened in the Savage Land. The Cotati have shown her how to control that power and not go mad.

In the outside world Knight, Matt and Zabu are battling the Cotati. Their wizard throws some magic spores, but Voodoo gets Man-Thing to absorb them and knock the sorcerer out. And as Kevin and Shanna embrace in her head, Shanna's body loses it's green. But a Cotati who never trusted Shanna as an ally sees what's happening and strikes. As Shanna returns to her senses she sees him impale Ka-Zar on his sword.

Carlos Magno
Carlos Magno
Espen Grundetjern
Paul Renaud (Cover Penciler)
Paul Renaud (Cover Inker)
Paul Renaud (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Ariana Maher.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Doctor Voodoo
Doctor Voodoo

(Jericho Drumm)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Cotati, Doctor Nemesis (Michael Stockton), Matthew Plunder, Okoye, Plantman (Samuel Smithers), Shanna (Shanna the She-Devil).

> Empyre: Avengers: Book info and issue index

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