Golgoth, the worst super-villain of all, did the unthinkable when he successfully took over the world. Now, his own advisors may be turning against him, and the orderly world that he created is starting to crumble. Your Major Spoilers review of Empire: Uprising #1 awaits!
Previously in Empire: Uprising: Originally published by Gorilla Comics, Empire only got a couple of issues out before the imprint folded. Those issues were reprinted at DC Comics a few years later, and the story was continued into a six-issue miniseries wherein Golgoth’s hold on the world he has conquered seemed to be slipping. His own daughter seems to have unknown intentions, while nearly all of his advisors have agendas of their own, and his supply of the highly addictive Eucharist drug (excellent for controlling the minds of the populace) may not be as secure as he once thought. Is this the end of Golgoth’s reign?
ONE YEAR LATER
OMIGOD EMPIRE IS BACK YOU GUYS!!! I am pretty excited for this one since, when it came out back in 2000 or so, there was really nothing like it around. The super-villain Golgoth succeeded in taking over the world, seemingly murdering his superheroic counterpart and establishing a totalitarian society over which he reigns supreme. The previous Empire series ended with the murder of his daughter, Delfi, who seemed to be just a sweet young woman, but actually had a lot more of her father’s capacities than it seemed at first glance. Now, one year later, the world still turns, and everyone is still under Golgoth’s armored thumb, as they observe the one-year anniversary of Delfi’s death. It’s a brutal sequence that introduces readers perfectly to the world of Empire, especially as the shock troopers move in to officially execute ANYONE who makes so much as a peep during the three minutes of silence. (A scene set in a nursery, with terrified nurses carefully keeping newborns from crying by any means, is a skillful use of the difficult-to-use “put a child in danger to set the stakes” trope, proving Waid’s skill as a writer.) By the time the issue ends, though, Golgoth’s inner circle has begun to quietly question his resolve, setting up questions about whether or not the loss of his daughter has affected his iron will…
DISTURBINGLY BEAUTIFUL ART
Barry Kitson’s work is always delightful, even on books that I otherwise don’t care for (like Marvel’s ‘The Order’) and this issue’s crowning achievement of creepy is the sight of rebels with weapons wearing 3-D printed images of Delfi’s face, a super-creepy visual effect. Kitson also manages to carry off the brutal violence of life in the Empire without veering into torture porn territory (which is a more difficult feat than you might think) and his unique character designs are still neat 15 years later. (The vicious little hooks in Golgoth’s armor, for instance, are a cool visual, but also thematic to the character’s attitude and bearing.) I had worried that too much time might have passed for this one to still feel as fresh and exciting as it did at the tail-end of the excesses of the 1990s, but Empire has still got it. Even the myriad of nefarious characters all get a moment to remind us who they are without disturbing the flow of the narration or seeming overly expositiony. I’m uncertain whether this is a new ongoing or just a limited series (I believe it’s being offered as a digital webcomic on Waid’s comics portal, Thrillbent before publication), but either way, I think I’m onboard for the duration.
THE BOTTOM LINE: YEAH, I MISSED THIS BOOK
With so many familiar (sometimes identical) superhero fighty-fighty books on the stands, Empire is a welcome reprieve from Secret Wars, Convergences and summer crossover madness. Kitson’s art is subtle, but still bold and impressive, and Waid is… Waid, delivering a multi-layered and thoughtful script, leaving Empire: Uprising #1 with 4 out of 5 stars overall. It’s a book that I didn’t even realize that I’ve missed reading, and one I think you should definitely check out.