Return of the Celestial Messiah - Empyre: Avengers #0

The Kree and the Skrulls have joined forces, becoming The Alliance!

Under new leadership and with a new goal in mind, they’ve set their sights on Earth and its inhabitants. What's an Avenger to do with that not-so secret invasion? Let's find out together in Empyre: Avengers #0.

We open the issue with a flashback to the day the Kree slaughtered the Cotati in an attempt to win favor with the Skrulls, sparking a war that has raged on ever since. For more info on this check out our review of Road to Empyre: The Kree/Skrull War.

Turns out it wasn’t a flashback, but a nightmare as Tony Stark wakes up in the Avengers Celestial base. It was more or less both a nightmare and a flashback due to Immortus giving Tony these visions of how the Kree / Skrull War started way back in the day. This has Iron Man confused for the rest of the day and even more so as the Avengers get a distress call from the Blue Area of the Moon. Once on the surface they find it a lush green forest, very much like the garden the Cotati grew and Stark saw in his vision.

The former home of both Uatu the Watcher and the Inhumans is now overgrown with beautiful foliage. Captain America is suspicious of the tranquility of the area, having fought in jungles before and expects such an environment to be rife with animals and noise. Right on cue a Kree Sentry with an organic alien head attacks the Avengers and almost kicks their butt if it wasn’t for the intervention of everyone’s favorite Avenger, Swordsman! You remember Swordsman, right? Mentor and father figure of Clint Barton / Hawkeye, one-time villain, Avenger, resurrected Cotati-human hybrid, husband of Mantis / The Celestial Madonna and father of Sequoia / The Celestial Messiah? Anyway he rallies the Avengers against the Sentry and helps them defeat it by cutting off its head.

In the aftermath of the fight, the team catches up with Swordsman / Jacques Duquesne and gives Ghost Rider / Robbie Reyes (and everyone reading) a refresher on his and the Celestial Messiah’s backstory. Sequoia, the Celestial Messiah, now all grown up, arrives and educates the Avengers on his mission of bringing balance and peace to the universe. His first step is bringing back the garden that the Cotati started with the help of Thor making it rain on the barren part of the Blue Area of the Moon.

Iron Man is pretty skeptical of the events transpiring in front of him and the team then has a “Kumbaya” campfire moment where the Avengers try to get answers about the Sentry that attacked them. Sequoia and Swordsman reveal that it was a hybrid Kree-Skrull Sentry and that the Kree and Skrulls have buried the proverbial space hatchet and joined forces under the leadership of former Young Avenger, Hulkling. Also there’s an armada headed towards Earth with plans on conquest and eradicating the last of the Cotati.

Black Panther and Captain Marvel confirm that both Wakanda and Alpha Flight are prepared for war, but they would rather try a diplomatic solution first. The Cotati don’t think this will work hence the reason they are asking the Avengers to intervene. Carol reminds Tony of the last time the Kree and Skrulls seemed to be working together with Bel-Dann and Raskor, who both met their ends in “tree related” deaths with one leaving a note saying “beware the trees” (see Incoming #1).

Thanks to the “religious experience” Tony’s been having throughout the comic, he decides to pledge the Avengers' help to the Cotati and vows to take a stand against this tyranny no matter what gets in the way. Those words end the comic with a foreshadowing full page shot of the Fantastic Four who may or may not have already met up with the Kree-Skrull Alliance.

After a comics hiatus due to COVID-19, the Marvel summer blockbuster event Empyre is finally off to the races again and Empyre: Avengers #0, was a good start. As far as preludes go, this issue was pretty good, bringing together information to prep us for the event at hand as well as some more insight to character motivations and a who’s who of power players. I will say that at times the book is a bit “been there, done that” with the info because if you’ve already read the Kree / Skrull War one-shot that came out before the hiatus, you know most of the information behind the event. That being said, the issue is still fun and a good refresher seeing as how it’s been 2-3 months since Road to Empyre: The Kree/Skrull War came out.

Al Ewing brings some cool new things to the table like Tony coming to terms with faith and destiny throughout the issue and the complexity of the situation between the Kree / Skrull alliance and the Cotati. I was not expecting any grey areas to be brought up. The fact that maybe the Cotati are not all divine and peaceful and have a grudge they’re willing to settle no matter what with the Kree / Skrull alliance or that the Avengers may or may not be okay with that were all points that should be noted. Tony’s experience was an intriguing addition to the text, one that I was first perplexed with but then slowly fascinated by. I’m not a big Iron Man fan, so I have no idea if this is a good or bad turn for the character but I’m interested to see what happens and if he ends up reverting back to his old world view after realizing that the Celestial Messiah may be a false god.

On the art side, Pepe Larraz does some amazing work here. No joke, everything he draws is breathtaking. Empyre: Avengers #0 is a fun and great looking prelude for the upcoming event. I can’t wait to see how the Fantastic Four deal with Hulkling’s side of the story in Empyre: Fantastic Four and I can’t wait to see what Al Ewing and Dan Slott deliver when Empyre #1 drops in July!

Verdict 7.5/10 Kree/Skrull Sentries

#Kree #Skrull #Skrulls #RoadToEmpyre #Empyre #EmpyreAvengers #PepeLarraz #AlEwing #DanSlott #Marvel #MarvelComics #KreeSkrullWar #MeetTheSkrulls #Comics #ComicsReview #ComicBooks #Writers #ComicsCreators #Creators #WeAreTheVariant

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