Writer: Al Ewing and Dan Slott
Art: Valerio Schiti
Color: Marte Gracia
So it’s that time again. Time for the massive summer event. That wondrous time of the year when the major publishing companies trot out a storyline so huge, so all-encompassing, that it consumes every last title and will have an impact for years to come.
It’s that time of year again where major comic publishers milk the comic reading public for every last penny in their pocket with an over-hyped, over-bloated story that ultimately has no impact in the status quo beyond the end of summer…because HEY! IT’S COMICS! And the deaths don’t matter! And if we do something that the fans don’t like we will immediately re-boot, recon, relaunch the entire thing anyway! YAY!!!
So as you can tell I’m a little burned out on the summer event comics. It’s old. It’s tired. It’s overpriced. Sure you can try to avoid it and not read all the mini-series, one-shots, tie-ins, and supplemental material, but good luck when an event like this is going to bleed into every title released this summer. So let’s get this new round of hype started and see what Marvel has to say for themselves. Remember this is one comic in a series of stories that will span 52 single issues before it is wrapped up. The main Empyre series is carrying a $5.99 cover price!
• 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…
So this is a big old space war. On one side you have the Skrull and Kree joining together to take down the Earth. On the other side, you have the Avengers and the Fantastic Four holding back the oncoming invasion. That about sums it up. There is a misunderstanding. A fight breaks out and we are off and running.
The art in this issue is what carried my interest. Schiti finds a way to bring the size and scope of this battle into focus with large sweeping panels and doesn’t shy away from making the action feel epic. This is a good looking comic. As it should considering that this is the title Marvel is putting front and center of a line-wide event. Some may look at Schiti’s style as an amalgamation of the late Mike Wieringo and Oliver Copiel.
The plot and the narrative are where this initial offering falls flat. This surprises me considering that two of Marvel’s best veteran scribes are the ones penning this tale. The story seems flimsy from the start and by the time the issue wraps up it does so with a shrug. There doesn’t seem to be anything at stake here. Sure, there is the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, which should be more than enough for any tale, but going in I don’t really care. I know that the good guys are going to win, the Earth will be saved, and all of this won’t matter by October.
This has the feel of Marvel trying to cash in on the fan’s love of Endgame. Remember that Avengers movie in space that you all loved so much? Well here is an entire summer comic event just like it! BUY IT! You loved that, then you’ll love this.
But what is missing from Empyre was apparent from the start. Heart. No one cares who pulls through this fight. The consequences no longer matter. If Iron Man dies here, then Marvel will just bring him back next month. There is no drama when nothing is really at stake.
Marvel has already promised “shocking deaths” from this event… and to be honest, who cares?!? The reset button is ever looming at a publisher that launches more new products than NASA and Space X combined.
There will be those that will buy this because they would buy anything put out by Marvel. There might even be a few casual fans that get caught up in the story because COVID has the comic reading public so hungry for entertainment, but don’t mistake the interest as a mark of quality. This is already shaping up to be a snoozefest.
If issue #1 is any indication it’s going to be a very long summer.
Final Score: 6 out of 10.