29th Jul2020

‘Empyre: The Avengers #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jim Zub | Art by Carlos Magno | Published by Marvel Comics

In my recent review of Empyre #1 I made the point that Marvel of late didn’t have the greatest track record when it came to these big crossover events. Empyre #1, though, was a pleasant surprise, and I am certainly looking forward to reading the rest of the main limited series. That, of course, is not even half the story, not by a long shot. I think at last count there were over 50 books that tied into Empyre, and this is the area where sometimes the quality can really nose dive. Sometimes the pressure to fit a book in results in a really weak issue that just annoys people. Yes, you get the five bucks for that book, but you lose the 50 bucks you would have gained from a reader if the quality remained high. So, I’m doing quality control so you don’t have to. I chose a tie in book at random, and here we are. Let’s check it out.

So I’m guessing you read Empyre #1 ( and possibly #0), and know what’s going on. The Kree and Skrull Empires have united under former Young Avenger Hulking to fight the Cotati, plant based aliens led by Swordsman’s son, Quoi. The Fantastic Four and The Avengers were the first to get dragged in, initially believing the Kree and Skrulls were the bad guys, but now realising that Earth is at risk from both sides. The Cotati want to take it for their own, the Kree/ Skrull alliance to possibly destroy it for the greater good. So, what do we need? All hands on deck. Avengers, Former Avengers, Kind of Connected to Them a Bit Avengers…..Assemble!

Captain America and Black Panther take command in the central hub, Tony Stark starts work on finding a tech solution to assist, and everyone else are boots on the ground. Luke Cage, Vision, and Doctor Nemesis head off to Central Park to deal with some plant infestation there, while Quicksilver, Wonder Man and Mockingbird head on to Mexico. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that although the Avengers and Kree/ Skrull are technically on the same side, they have differing views on how to conduct the war. The Avengers want Cotati prisoners, the alliance want Cotati dead. All of them. Tensions are running high alright. As Cotati incursions start happening across the globe, a particularly big spike in the Savage Land sees Doctor Voodoo, Ka-Zar, Scarlet Witch and Black Knight head off to check it out.

The Savage Land is obviously a prime target for the Cotati, who can control and change plants, trees, and vegetation to suit them. Turns out they can also control people with plant related abilities. I say people, but in this case things. A Man-Thing, to be exact. The Cotati use him to fight the Avengers to a standstill. That is, until a new Cotati ally appears at the end to throw everything up in the air. Shanna the She Devil herself, Ka-Zar’s wife no less. I’ve heard of marital difficulties before, but that’s just ridiculous. Not sure who I’m more scared for, the Earth or Ka-Zar.

This was a very nice read, and felt really organic to the main storyline. Not just a bolted on extra, but a solid issue that showed the steps the Avengers were taking to fight back against the growing Cotati threat. It was a little episodic in that we followed individual teams without any resolutions as of yet, following the old Justice Society story structure of breaking up the larger group into smaller teams before reassembling by the end. It was nice to see a good mix of Avengers too, not just A-listers. Zub’s script was solid if not exceptional, handing off the ball to the next person on the scripting merry-go-round. Magno’s art was very similar, big and expressive at times but mainly fitting the clean and detailed Marvel house style of late. He does make very busy panels easy to follow though, and that’s a skill in its own right.

So if you want to see just what Shanna does with a huge Man-Thing while a shocked Ka-Zar looks on, come back next issue. I sure will.

**** 4/5

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