Previously, in Empyre: Fantastic Four #0:
The Fantastic Four rescue two Kree and Skrull children from fighting to the death at the Profiteer’s Casino Cosmico while also learning of a new truce/alliance between the Kree & the Skrulls. The FF now know a little bit about the cosmic situation they’re coming into as the Avengers did in their one-shot and now it’s time for everything to come together. The Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the Kree, the Skrulls, and the Cotati all converge in Empyre #1. What will happen? Who will win the day? What of Hulkling and Wiccan’s relationship? Why am I asking you? Let’s find out all this and more!!
In Empyre #1 we pick up right where Empyre: Fantastic Four #0 ends as Marvel’s first family come face to face with the Kree / Skrull Alliance armada that’s on its way to Earth. Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman send Franklin and Valeria in an escape craft back to Earth with the Kree and Skrull children, Jo-Venn and N’Kalla for safety’s sake. Sue cloaks the ship with her invisibility powers so that they can take a look around the armada and maybe find out why the Kree and Skrulls have buried the proverbial cosmic hatchet and teamed up. To their amazement, they find Teddy Altman, A.K.A the half-Kree / half-Skrull, Young Avenger Hulking on the ship’s bridge, accompanied by Kl’rt the Super Skrull and Tanalth the Pursuer (the former rulers of their respective Kree / Skrull empires).Unfortunately, Kl’rt’s powers are derived from the FF so he can detect and uncloak them, opening up communications between the two ships.
Over on the Blue Side of the Moon (and picking up where Empyre: Avengers #0 left off), the Avengers are setting up to repel the incoming space armada and protect the Cotati and their garden that has overtaken the Blue Area, which is now green. Iron Man armors up and the Cotati help She-Hulk channel her rage so that she can become her normal Jennifer Walters self but with all her Hulk-ish-ness intact. Captain Marvel grabs a cosmic megaphone and warns the Alliance that the Earth is an Avengers World and that it and the garden are under their protection. Before Iron Man can chime in he’s contacted by Reed Richards who is now on board the Alliance capital ship and attempts to educate Tony on the situation and why Hulking is now Emperor of the Alliance. Reed explains that both Kl’rt and Tanalth started the Alliance but Hulking is the figurehead of their leadership. Teddy corroborates Reed’s hypothesis that he basically agreed to become “Emperor” because it would stop the Kree / Skrull hostilities (as well as the most recent Kree Civil War) and unite the two peoples. He stopped two wars in one day with his actions.
The Avengers question the Alliance’s motives regarding the Cotati and their space garden but Hulking fully trusts his viziers’ judgement and recognizes the garden as a threat to the galaxy. Iron Man calls shenanigans and berates Hulking for trusting Kl’rt and Tanalth and failing for what he calls a PR stunt, opting to hit the armada with some of the Avengers’ heavier hitters.
Robbie Reyes / Ghost Rider turns the quinjet into a "Ghost Quinjet", (hellfire and all), and launches towards to armada. Before the Alliance can retaliate, the FF try to intervene and stop any violence. Reed somewhat agrees with Tony but mostly he’s just trying to figure the situation out diplomatically. Hulkling sends out Super Skrull and Captain Glory to non-lethally take down the Avengers while he and the rest of the bridge’s crew take on the Fantastic Four.
Captain Glory and Captain Marvel duke it out and Black Panther dons a new mech suit to fight the Super Skrull while She-Hulk fastball specials Swordsman at Kl’rt. In the chaos of all the fighting, Tony attaches a hacking device to Mjolnir which Thor throws and hits the capital ship’s bridge. Mjolnir is stopped by Hulking and his sword but not before the hacking device hacks and shuts down the entire armada leaving them floating in space like sitting ducks.
With the fleet down the Cotati take a moment to reveal themselves to the universe. Apparently the plants they’ve been growing are like beacons that enhance their powers and give Sequoia a new menacing warrior look. With their enhanced power, the Cotati start to attack the FF and the Kree / Skrull Alliance with plants and the Avengers begin to regret helping Sequoia. The issue ends with Sequoia proclaiming the rise of the Cotati against the animal worlds and the beginnings of their Empyre.
Boy, I did not see that coming…
Well actually, I kinda did.
They hinted at the moral ambiguity and overall cult-like mission of the Cotati back in Empyre: Avengers #0 but I didn’t think they’d pull the rug on the reveal this early on. While I did see this coming, this is not to say that this heel turn was lazy or bad, far from it. It was very well executed and had me a bit surprised. It was a fun twist and I’m excited to see how this will direct the story going forward. Also, the Kree and Skrulls being right and possibly not the villains for the event was a nice twist as well. I enjoyed seeing the Avengers realize that they backed the wrong horse, so it will be fun seeing them try to atone for that. Speaking of Avengers, She-Hulk is back to being herself! Yay! It was only through the help of the Cotati so she’ll probably end up being a mind-controlled agent of theirs or something.
Empyre #1 hit the ground running for this event and gives us a great story to boot. Al Ewing and Dan Slott really know how to play on Marvel continuity and use it to strengthen this story, both as a guide and as a basis to twist the plot. The two create a great cosmic story with Fantastic Four and the Avengers and will hopefully continue to do so in the rest of this event. Valerio Schiti’s art is really great and matches the story with Marte Graica’s colors to complement it nicely. I’m definitely looking forward to more Empyre!
Verdict 8.5 / 10 Kree-Skrull Alliance Warships