Review: Exposition And Excitement Balanced Beautifully In ‘Avengers: Empyre’ #0

by Oliver MacNamee

(++ Apologies for this being a late review of a comic out last week but as we here in the UK are a little bit behind, I do hope you forgive me this one time ++) 

Any company wide crossover is going to be complicated, even before the Skrull and Kree are thrown into the mix, so I can see why Marvel have offered up not one but two prologues to next week’s Empyre #1 beyond the simply financial gains of selling as many tie-ins as possible. And, with Al Ewing still soaked in Marvel lore after his impressive choreography of last year’s Marvel Comics #1000, he’s definitely the right choice on this one-shot, Avengers: Empyre #0. And, definitely a reason that many will buy this particular book. 

As a devout DC Comics fan, I do like to dive into Marvel books every now and again and offer you an honest view by a reader lapsed in Marvel history. So believe me when I say that Ewing effortlessly weaves so many recent Marvel storylines – as a well as Marvel history – and beats into the exposition needed in this issue to get us up to speed and au fait with the Marvel history we’ll need the most to navigate this summer-wide saga. All the time making it sound like a natural dialogue between teammates and friends, never feeling forced. All narrated by Tony Stark, Iron Man.

By the end of this first of the two tie-in prologues I’ll be looking at, I felt up-to-date and ready for the main event. And, I’ll admit, the creative team on this book really sold it to me, even if the House of Mouse PR machine has come to a standstill where Marvel is concerned. 

Adding Pepe Larraz to art and you have a top flight book that certainly speaks to me as a big commitment from Marvel for this series to succeed. At least that’s the original plan. But, with the slow down that the pandemic caused, and the slow start-up by Marvel (dribbling barely a handful of printed books out a week), as well as some cancelled tie-ins, what started off as a good idea has lost its way even before it starts. Larraz has proven on the Dawn of X series’ of last year that he is a force to reckoned with in comics and can create a dynamic, eye-popping action scene one minute and offer up vistas with naturally and fantastically beautiful. He’s definitely an artist I have started to keep an eye on more and more.  

As the Avengers land on the Blue Area of the Moon we are reunited with the aforementioned Cotati-inhabited Swordsman who helps fill in the necessary gaps for the reader, and the Avengers, with the Celestial Messiah (Swamp Thing in space?) also adding pieces to the tapestry and setting up the conflict that will be central to this series. a conflict that’s only going to get messier as more and more tie-ins come out. Let’s see how I do with just the core mini-series, shall we?

Avengers: Empyre #0 is available now from Marvel Comics

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