In Marvel’s latest crossover event, two of Marvel’s greatest teams unite to prevent a major intergalactic threat. Old allies make a distress call to the Avengers with news of a terrible enemy that could wipe out humanity itself. The Celestial Messiah has returned – but is Earth ready to hear his message? Meanwhile, in the most unlikely of places, the Fantastic Four witness the final conflict of the Kree/Skrull War… and a long-hidden Elder of the Universe stands revealed! With the Kree and the Skrulls united under a new emperor, their war fleet charts a course – for Earth! The Avengers are ready to fight, while the FF seek a diplomatic solution. But if the two teams can’t work together to save the day, Earth may not survive…
This is one of the strongest Marvel crossovers in recent memory largely due to its strong focus and harkening back to classic Marvel storylines. It helps that the two writers are very well versed in Marvel lore. Al Ewing has demonstrated countless times in his previous works (Immortal Hulk, Ultimates, Rocket Racoon just to name a few) that he’s peerless in this department to the point that he was given the mammoth task of coordinating Marvel #1000 (the centrepiece of Marvel’s 80th Anniversary). Dan Slott is no slouch in this department either, with both his recent Fantastic Four and his long Amazing Spider-Man run playing heavily on the history of both series. They are therefore the perfect writers for revisiting the Kree/Skrull conflict.
As well as calling back to classic encounters both The Avengers and Fantastic Four have had with the Kree and Skrulls, Empyre also builds on recent events with the fan-favourite Young Avengers characters. With Hulking (Teddy Kaplan) finally accepting his role as Skrull royalty at the cost of his long-standing relationship with Billy Kaplan and discovering just what the role entails. It also delves further into Teddy’s history and Skrull parentage which leads to him developing an edgier side we have seldom seen in the previous Young Avengers series.
In addition to bringing something fresh to the Kree/Skrull war with their new allegiance, it is brilliant to see the Fantastic Four being re-established as being key-players in the Marvel Universe on the same level as The Avengers. Their long absence has been hard to endure, so it’s encouraging to see them taking their rightful place at the top once again.
Valerio Schiti has worked on several major Marvel titles over the years including Guardians of The Galaxy, Avengers and Iron Man. This makes him the ideal choice for this battle-heavy series and he gets to flex his skills with several major Marvel characters along with some tremendous sequences and designs. He also must be given credit for the extra edge Teddy develops in this series with his usual lovable demeanour shredded for a darker approach.
Fans of old-school Marvel will appreciate the call-back to the classic Kree/Skrull war stories of the past and Empyre is perfect for those who love their event comics. This is one Marvel fans should definitely have on their shelves.
Empyre is out now from Marvel (9781302924386, p/b, £33.99)
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