A long-lost former member has returned, with grave news of a cosmic nature… Your Major Spoilers review of Empyre: Avengers #0 from Marvel Comics awaits!
EMPYRE: AVENGERS #0
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: June 24, 2020
Previously in Empyre: Avengers: Tony Stark wakes from strange dreams, as old allies make a distress call to the Avengers. In the new Green Area of the Moon, the Cotati are waiting with news of a terrible enemy that could wipe out both them and humanity itself. The Celestial Messiah has returned… but are the Avengers ready to hear his message?
AN S.O.S. FROM THE MOON?
We open in the bedroom of Tony Stark at Avengers headquarters, as Iron Man awakens from a terrible dream, a dream of being a plant-creature, murdered by Kree soldiers. It’s a moment he has occasionally dreamed of before, ever since being shown the events years ago during the Kree/Skrull war. An incoming message from Captain Marvel interrupts his ruminations, and soon, The Avengers are on their way to the Blue Area of the Moon, where the Watcher lives. Of course, now that it’s overrun by foliage, it’s no longer blue, and the team is greeted by an attack… and a former member! As a Kree Sentry with a strange biological head cuts them down, the Swordsman (or at least an alien plant-hybrid housing his memories) steps in and turns the tide. Once the strange composite Sentry is defeated, Swordsman explains the reason for his return, and it’s a doozy: The Kree and Skrull Empires have finally ended their endless war… but now they both have their sights set on defeated the Earth.
Oh, and he’s traveling with the Celestial Messiah, who is finally ready to end all evil throughout the universe.
THE BLUE AREA IS NOW GREEN
First and foremost, I have to compliment Al Ewing’s writing in this issue. Iron Man hasn’t seemed this accessible or this human in literally decades, balancing the arrogant futurist with a man who has finally seen something that makes him want to have faith. It’s the kind of thing that could feel awkwardly shoved in, but instead builds off previous stories in the best ways, even name-checking the trainwreck that was ‘Civil War II’ and making it meaningful. The issue ends with the revelation that the Fantastic Four are involved in this mess as well, but on the other side, which makes me excited for the oh-so-tired “heroes vs. heroes” plot. That alone is an amazing achievement. Larraz does equally good things with the art in this issue, delivering the best-looking Swordsman in the history of the character, making the lunar combat look really cool and giving each character clear and readable facial expressions. I haven’t been psyched about ‘Empyre’ as a whole, due to some Event Fatigue on my part, but this issue goes a long way towards warming me up about what’s coming.
BOTTOM LINE: ALL SETUP, BUT NOT IN A BAD WAY
This issue hits all the right notes for me, tying in threads from as far back as 1969 in interesting ways, and even though I’m still a little worried about ‘Empyre’ taking over everything, Empyre: Avengers #0 makes me want to know more, with strong art and very skilled writing pulling together an unexpectedly excellent 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. It’s an example of what a zero issue is supposed to be, a setup to draw us in for what is coming, and this ones succeeds on all levels.
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EMPYRE: AVENGERS #0