I’m just going to say it. I’m now hyped to learn more and how the Empyre story unfolds.
Marvel’s Road to Empyre issue # 1 was released last week on March 25, 2020. I practically missed its release because I was really not much of a comic book buyer. I love Marvel so much, but I’m not really the person who buys every issue and story. But Empyre is different, and I was waiting for it ever since I read Marvel Incoming.
My wait was totally worth it, purchasing the digital comics amidst the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines is the best decision I made so far this year. I was actually planning to go to the mall the next morning. And I remembered, Marvel is selling digital comics why an I stressing out mah self?
The story starts with a Skrull family living on earth. I thought I wasn’t going to be interested in their story. In fact, it made me have doubts whether I should even buy the issue or not. My original plan was to buy the main Empyre story which will be released on April 15, 2020. But after finishing this issue, it had me wanting more. I was drawn to this Skrull family’s story. They’re good characters to start a story and begin unveiling the history of the Kree/Skrull war. I also liked the part where they ended up meeting a new group of families.
Where it all started
Nothing made me want to turn the page more than to indulging the beautiful creations of Mattia de lulis and Javier Rodrigez. Just the history being unveiled in the issue and their compositions were blowing me away. Before reading this comic, I’d read articles on how the Empyre story will be told and I’ve thoroughly reviewed my Marvel comic history. And still, this amateur comic reader had his heart skip a beat while I was reading whole chapter unfolding. Like I said, knowing the history of the war is truly a page turner.
Road To Empyre was able to give me a refreshing origin story of Skrull, Kree, Cotati and the Avengers. It was short and sweet but more than enough to set up the Empyre story. And to be honest, I haven’t read a lot of old Marvel Comics covered in this history, such as the marriage of Mantis and Swordsman, because I kind of find them old and verbose. But reading them in summary online was a better experience for me. However, now I think I might read them once the Empyre series has ended.
Skrull is love
One thing that this comic book made me feel is the love for Skrull. When I was still new to reading Marvel Comics, I just saw Skrulls as ugly, frog-like humanoids who just wanted to conquer earth and/or do bad deeds. Take the Secret Invasion for example, I never felt any sympathy for them in that story. But in this issue, you’ll know that these frog-faced aliens have something more to offer than just taking your identity and holding ray guns! I believe the retelling of their story was a nudge to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Captain Marvel, they were the ones on the oppressed side. And I liked that approach. It adds some mystery to their race and ambiguity to their intentions. I’m now looking forward to how Marvel will handle the Skrulls in future films.
And I guess, if you are starting to love Skrulls, then this issue will make you smile and get more interested with them at the same time.
Alright, the biggest reason why I was waiting for the Empyre story to come out is because I’m a Young Avengers fan. YA is my first Marvel Comics I ever read. If you’re also a Young Avengers fan, and you’re like me, then you want to consume every story related to that team, especially a comic like this where Hulking seems to be the focal point of the story.
I was beginning to lose hope in any appearance, because he was not mentioned in the first part of the book. Besides, the story was good that I wasn’t really that mad. But when his name was added in the panel above, I jumped. Trust me, on how he was revealed was at the right moment. I might be exaggerating this because I’m a fan but Robbie Thompson timed it perfectly and it was a treat for Young Avengers fans like myself.
Where It Felt Off
SPOILER ALERT: there’s a panel where Wiccan and Hulkling kissed. I love them both, and same sex relationships don’t bother me, but this was the most predictable part of the book. For some reason, when this couple is used in a story, most comic book creators always seem to lock their lips. This happened in Incoming too. I’m not being a hater, but I find Hulkling’s character to be somewhat underdeveloped probably because he was a perfect boyfriend for Billy Kaplan.
Sure, Wiccan is one of my favorite Marvel characters, but does he have to be prominent in Empyre’s main story? Of course I want them to connect at some point, but I’m really hoping that this story event will develop Hulkling as a character more than focusing on his relationship with Wiccan. Give him his own voice outside of a relationship.
So there, seeing them in a panel kissing triggers my concerns that at some point Wiccan might steal the story from Teddy Altman. One reason I was hyped up on this event is because finally our half-Kree half-Skrull character would have his own spotlight. So get your own story Billy, is Avengers Children’s Crusade and Young Avengers vol 2 not enough for you?! LOL.
Here’s another SPOILER, you won’t get all the answers in this issue – and it’s not a bad thing. The question on why Hulkling’s armada is heading to earth is still a mystery. Who’s the enemy? Why Dorrek VIII accepts the role? Will Wiccan take over the story at some point? Overall, Road To Empyre: The Kree/Skrull War first issue was worthy beginning. I recommend everyone to get a copy and take their first step to the road to Empyre.