Published July 17, 2020

How ‘Empyre’ #1 Launches an Intergalactic War

The Avengers and the Fantastic Four are in way over their heads in the comic event of 2020.

Warning! This article contains spoilers for EMPYRE #1, so read on at your own risk, True Believers!

“There came a day unlike any other, when Earth's Mightiest Heroes found themselves united against a common threat.” But this time, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four may be outmatched by the latest menace in the Marvel Universe. For centuries, the Kree and the Skrull races have been at war. Now, the alliance of the two empires is on a collision course with Earth...and it’s not even the real threat! Al Ewing, Dan Slott, and artist Valerio Schiti have ignited a new intergalactic war in this week’s EMPYRE #1. And the cosmos may never be the same.

Empyre #1 cover
EMPYRE (2020) #1

The recently released EMPYRE: AVENGERS #0 reunited the current team with Quoi, the Celestial Messiah, and the son of their former teammates, Mantis and the Cotati-possesed Swordsman. Thor last crossed paths with Quoi during 2001’s AVENGERS: CELESTIAL QUEST, and he has a great deal of affection for him. Similarly, Tony Stark AKA Iron Man was strongly motivated to protect the Cotati garden on the Blue Area of the Moon after vividly recalling the Kree’s genocide of the Cotati thousands of years ago.

As recounted in the classic AVENGERS (1963) #133, the Skrulls once posed a challenge to the two races that inhabited Hala: the Kree and the Cotati. At the time, the Cotati were a peaceful race, and they built a beautiful garden on Earth’s moon in the hopes of gaining the Skrull’s favor. Meanwhile, the Kree built a grand city in the Blue Area of the Moon. Regardless, the Skrulls decided that the Cotati had won the challenge. Incensed by the result, the Kree slaughtered the Skrulls and the Cotati, and kicked off several lifetimes of war.

That original sin haunts the pages of EMPYRE #1. But the classic Kree/Skrull War storyline also introduced the origins of the new emperor of the Alliance: Theodore Altman AKA Hulkling AKA Dorrek VIII. He’s the son of the Kree hero, Mar-Vell, and the Skrull princess, Anelle. EMPYRE #1 revealed that Hulkling is only a figurehead for the Alliance, but he believes in their cause. According to Hulkling, the Alliance armada isn’t coming for Earth, it’s out to destroy the Cotati’s new garden.

Empyre #1
EMPYRE (2020) #1

EMPYRE: FANTASTIC FOUR #0 brought Marvel’s First Family into the mix shortly after they took two children into their custody. The Kree child, Jo-Venn, and the Skrull, N'Kalla, were forced to fight each other for the entertainment of intergalactic gamblers before the Fantastic Four freed them. On their way home to Earth, the FF ran into the Alliance fleet and attempted to find a peaceful solution. But first, they sent Franklin and Valeria Richards back to Earth to keep Jo-Venn and N’Kalla safe.

Last year’s INCOMING! #1 featured a dark warning about the “trees.” In hindsight, this was clearly a reference to the Cotati. In this issue, the Swordsman helped She-Hulk reclaim herself from her ongoing rage issues while Quoi offered words of peace for a universe scarred by war. But the end of the issue revealed that Quoi and the Cotati aren’t the saviors they presented themselves to be. By fooling the Avengers into aiding them, the Cotati have launched “The Flowering” and the Death Blossom. Their war is against all “animal worlds” regardless of the Avengers’ ties to Quoi. The Celestial Messiah has reinvented himself and his people as galactic conquerors and a new Empyrean. Unfortunately for the Marvel Universe, Quoi and the Cotati have just easily defeated the Alliance and two of the greatest Super Hero teams – and the people of Earth may be the next target of the Empyre’s wrath.

You can pick up EMPYRE #1, written by Al Ewing and Dan Slott with art by Valerio Schiti, at your favorite local comic book shop or digitally today! Be sure to ask your local comic book shop about their current business policies to observe social distancing or other services they may offer, including holding or creating pull lists, curbside pick-ups, special deliveries and other options to accommodate. Find and support your local comic book shop at or by visiting

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