Story: Al Ewing & Dan Slott
Script: Al Ewing
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
For millennia the Kree and the Skrull have been at war; a war that dates back to their first meeting and a contest that pitted the Kree against the plant beings known as the Cotati over who would have trade rights with the Skrull. When the Coatati won that contest by growing a beautiful garden on the blue area of the moon the Kree slaughtered them, appalling the Skrulls, and starting a conflict that would wage for generation after generation. Now the war is over, the Kree and the Skrulls have aligned under one banner, under one Emperor- the Young Avenger Hulkling. Hulkling’s mother was Skrull princess while his father was the Kree’s greatest soldier, Mar-Vel aka Captain Marvel. With blood ties to the Skrull throne and the heir of the militant Kree’s greatest warrior Hulkling makes perfect sense to be the unifying force that would draw these two sworn enemies together. But what is their intent? Why is their armada heading toward earth? Is there anything earths super heroes can do to stop what whatever is coming? Welcome to Empyre #1.
Empyre is Marvel’s latest event and one that has its roots in the silver age history of Marvel cosmic. The Skrull and the Kree are two of Marvel’s oldest alien races and their long-standing feud has been the core of hundreds of comics over that last sixty plus years. Therefore, it is a bit disconcerting to see them together and at peace, an uneasy peace, but still peace. This new alliance and the massive armada obviously sparks the interest of Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four, who quickly take a detour from their journey home to investigate the new alliance and see if it’s for real or not. The Avengers on the other hand are less than willing to wait and see what the intent of Kree/Skrull armada is as they have already aligned themselves with the remaining Cotati (in Empyre: Avengers #0) who have returned and restored the garden in the Blue Area of the Moon. Yet this brashness and rush to aid may only inflame the conflict and draw everyone into a war that no one truly wants or that no one can walk away from unscathed.
I was excited for Empyre with its classic Marvel roots and its ties back to Steve Engelhart’s Avengers stories, which are some of my all-time favorites. I also enjoyed Empyre: Avengers #0 and Empyre: Fantastic Four #0, both of which did an excellent job of setting up this issue and Empyre #1 didn’t disappoint. I also applaud Marvel for pushing this event in a manner that makes the reader feel or insinuate the new combined empire is the threat but that might not be the case. It’s nice that Al Ewing is finally getting the event limelight, with the help of Dan Slott on story plotting, as Ewing is one of Marvel’s most underrated writers and its nice for him to get his due. Valero Schiti is a nice artist, having distinguished himself on Iron Man for the past few years. His cartoony style is a good fit for the cosmic settings this event is based upon and his action sequences and aliens were wonderful to behold. This creative team has the potential to tell an amazing story that might not be world shattering but it should be fun, and fun is what we need right now.
Verdict: It may have been delayed due to the current pandemic but Empyre #1 is a great opening salvo for Marvel’s latest event. With a fun story and stylish artwork this new cosmic event is a wonderful read and a Buy in my opinion.