Marvel Comics has released details and a new cover image for Empyre: Aftermath – Avengers #1, one of the follow-up one-shots to the currently ongoing Empyre event series. The updated contents for the issue by the Empyre team of writer Al Ewing, artist Valerio Schiti, and cover artist Jim Cheung had previously been withheld to avoid spoiling the ending of this week’s Empyre #4.
The following contains spoilers for Empyre #4. Do not read any further if you wish to remain unspoiled for the issue, in stores today.
Here’s the original cover image and solicitation text for the issue:
• The end of EMPYRE begins a new age for the Marvel Universe!
• In the aftermath of the cosmic conflict, the forces gather one last time… but why? And at whose bidding?
• New bonds will be forged, new families will be founded, and there’s a new role waiting for Earth… but new destinies bring new dangers – and new enemies!
• Welcome to the new Marvel Space Age, true believer – hope you survive the experience!
That “New families will be founded” point appears to be the lynchpin of the Empyre: Aftermath – Avengers one-shot, as an updated cover and promotional text reveal that the focus of the issue will be the nuptials between Young Avengers Teddy “Hulkling” Altman and Billy “Wiccan” Kaplan.
In the aftermath of the cosmic conflict known as EMPYRE, heroes will gather to celebrate the marriage of two of Marvel’s most beloved Avengers. Revealed at the end of EMPYRE #4, Teddy Altman, the Kree/Skrull hybrid Hulkling, and his longtime boyfriend Billy Kaplan, the powerful magic-wielding Wiccan, were married just before Hulkling took to the stars to fulfill his destiny of uniting the Kree and Skrull empires against the universal threat of the Cotati. With plenty of twists and turns still to come in this earth-shattering epic, be there when the dust settles to celebrate this joyous union when EMPYRE: AVENGERS AFTERMATH #1 hits stands in September!
The wedding of Hulkling and Wiccan, revealed on the final page of Empyre #4, was attended by the Young Avengers team of Hawkeye Kate Bishop, Patriot, America Chavez, Wiccan’s brother Speed, Marvel Boy, and Stature. Also in attendance were Allan Heinberg and Cheung, who co-created the characters as part of their initial run of Young Avengers. The characters quickly became fan-favorites, and their relationship made them (and still makes them) one of only a few high-profile same-sex couples in the Marvel Universe.
With no time for a reception before heading off into space, it sounds like Empyre: Aftermath – Avengers #1 will rectify that situation — assuming both Hulkling and Wiccan get out of the series alive (There’s still two issues left, after all). We’ll find out what happens when the issue hits stores next month.