The Kree/Skrull war is over. Get ready for the Kree/Skrull Alliance! Your Major Spoilers review of Empyre #1 from Marvel Comics awaits!
Writer: Al Ewing & Dan Slott
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: July 15, 2020
Previously in Empyre: The Kree and the Skrulls have united under a new emperor and their war fleet is on a collision course for our world. On the moon, the Avengers are ready to strike with the full power of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Approaching from outer space, the Fantastic Four are seeking a diplomatic solution. If the two teams can’t work together to save the day, things can only get worse…
HEROES ON OPPOSITE SIDES
In deep space, the members of the Fantastic Four have once again run afoul of the Skrull Empire, finding that their long years of war with the Kree are over, but the threat still remains. A combined Kree/Skrull fleet, under the command of Young Avenger Hulkling is headed for Earth to wipe out the Cotati, the plant-based race that the Kree nearly wiped out, centuries ago. Hulkling is being aided by The Pursuer and the Super-Skrull, but both insist that they’re on the up-and-up, acing in the best interests of our world. On Earth’s moon, The Avengers have allied with Sequoia, leader of the Cotati and Celestial Messiah, putting them on the opposite side of the FF, who carefully agree to accompany Hulkling to Earth. It seems at first like we’re going to see Stark Vs. Richards: Round 157, when suddenly…
…the unexpected happens.
I’M STILL WORRIED ABOUT HULKLING
Normally, I give the side-eye to big crossovers and cosmic world-changing plots, but the Avengers #0 issue was so good that I was cautiously looking forward to this one. This issue took that expectation and threw it over the side of the metaphorical boat early on, taking me to unexpected places while high-lighting the fun continuity bits that both writers excel in. The dueling narrative captions from Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man are fun, giving us perspective on both sides of the conflict that makes it seem like either team could be on the right side… only to discover that everyone had it wrong. Schiti’s art is remarkable, too, especially his Thing, but I appreciate and enjoy that he is able to make throne-room drama visually exciting, as well as deliver on the promise of space ships and aliens and cosmic explosions. (Ghost Rider empowering a “Ghost Quinjet” is remarkable and ingenious.)
BOTTOM LINE: *THAT* WAS UNEXPECTED
Above all, Empyre #1 not only doesn’t dash my hopes of a great story, it surprised me by delivering a completely different story that my genre-savvy brain was expecting, with strong art and some great characterization earning a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars overall. If nothing else, this may stand out as one of the better crossovers of recent years, with everyone involved acting responsibly, believably and (best of all) IN-CHARACTER in the face of a terrible threat that actually feels terrible enough to cause all this tsuris. Here’s hoping it’s all this good.
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