After 3 months of delays, Marvel’s biggest event of 2020 is here! Empyre is shaking up the fate of the Marvel universe over the next few weeks and it all starts with this first issue.
After their adventure at the Casino Cosmico in Empyre #0, the Fantastic Four discover a fleet of Skrull and Kree warships heading toward Earth. The Fantastic Four discover that Hulkling, a Kree-Skrull hybrid who is a former member of the Young Avengers, is the new leader of both the Kree and the Skrulls. They also learn that the two armies are planning an attack on their mutual enemy, the Cotati. The Cotati are residing on the Earth’s Moon, forcing the Avengers involvement in the imminent conflict.
Written by Immortal Hulk writer Al Ewing and Fantastic Four writer Dan Slott, Empyre #1 begins with the Fantastic Four and the Avengers attempting to negotiate between the Kree-Skrull army and the Cotati. The negotiations do not go well, and a battle between the Kree-Skrull forces and the Avengers commences. Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) is staunchly against the conflict as he does not fully understand why the Kree and Skrulls see the Cotati as a threat.
Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers, consisting of Captain America, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Thor, She-Hulk and Ghost Rider, believe the Cotati are a peaceful nature-loving people with no desire for war. Reed does not fully understand the Kree and the Skrulls’ distaste for the Cotati, but he believes there is a good reason for it. This disagreement, not just between the Kree-Skrull armada and the Cotati, but between the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, leads to a major conflict on the Moon.
The art throughout the conflict is great, providing a clear view of the battle’s size. Valerio Schiti’s artwork is dynamic, drawing focus to the grandness of the event with the wide panels showcasing the Kree-Skrull fleet or the page showing off the Ghost Quinjet in all its hellish glory. Most of that beautiful glory, though, is thanks to colorist Marte Gracia, who brings the beautiful colors of each character to life through their surroundings. The best example of this is the bright light that shines when Hulkling manages to deflect Mjolnir with his sword.
However, the action is not the main centerpiece of the issue. The moral conflict between each character is clearly represented through Schiti’s panels. The mixed perspectives within the pages of the Fantastic Four’s conversation with Hulkling paints the picture of a strong leader who will do anything for his people.
Empyre is an enthralling event. It is interesting to see the Kree and Skrull united, but it seems that the Avengers are on the wrong side for a change. The Cotati do not seem to be what the Avengers believe. The ending of this first issue sets the stage, not just for the event, but for the Marvel universe going forward. I am excited to see how much of an impact this event will have in Marvel’s ongoing series. One thing is for certain though, Slott and Ewing definitely know what they are doing.