If you’re like me and had no idea what Empyre, Marvel’s latest crossover event, was even about, then the publisher’s event-specific panel at this year’s C2E2 was the perfect place to catch up on what threats the Avengers and the Fantastic Four will be facing this summer. Ryan Penagos, Tom Brevoort, Al Ewing, and editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski were all in attendance to dish out details on their new crossover.
To begin things: Ewing had an issue with how Penagos was pronouncing the name of the story. It’s not Empyre… it’s EMPYRE!!!!!!! Small distinction, there. Anyone could have made the same mistake.
In Empyre, everyone’s favourite character Hulkling is now king of space, and the cosmos is angry at the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. To help shed some light onto why this is the case, the panel decided to showcase some events from Marvel history to show why Marvel’s heroes might not be in the right when it comes to their conflicts with the Kree and Skrulls.
In Fantastic Four #2, the FF turn some invading Skrulls into cows, which are thus promptly eaten.
In Avengers Annual #14, the World’s Mightiest Heroes remove the Skrulls’ shape-changing abilities and humiliate them, turning one of them into a lamp.
In Fantastic Four #257, Reed Richards decides to save a dying Galactus. After Richards saves his life, Galactus then hops off to the Skrull Throneworld and devours it.
And to cap things off, Norman Osborn kills Skrull Empress Veranke in Secret Invasion #8, and the Guardians of the Galaxy allowed the destruction of the Kree homeworld in Guardians of the Galaxy #25.
So… Earth totally has it coming, right? I totally see why the Kree-Skrull Empire is a little bit angry at our heroes. Cebulski mentioned that they’re always using the term “earth-shattering” when it comes to Empyre, but they chose that term for a specific reason.
The panel then began to highlight some upcoming comics leading to the event. Empyre: Avengers #0 by Ewing and Pepe Larraz (Extermination, House of X) will feature the combined Kree-Skrull Empire on their way to Earth. Meanwhile, Empyre: Fantastic Four #0 will show events from the FF’s point of view, and is apparently an instrumental issue of the overall story.
Ewing said that both the Avengers and the FF are approaching this problem from different angles; they both have their own way of dealing with things and thus are smacked right into each other. Some preview art shown depicts Ghost Rider possessing a Quinjet.
Carlos Magno (Invaders) is drawing a tie-in issue and the panel gawks at some of his displayed pages; they boasted that Magno is a beast, able to draw up to two and a half pages a day.
Emperor Hulkling #1 by Chip Zdarsky, Anthony Oliveira, and Manuel Garcia gets inside Hulkling’s head and why he’s doing the things he’s doing, providing a deep dive into the character.
Celestial Messiah #1 by Alex Paknadel and Alex Lins delves into the background players involved in the event. Ewing said that Paknadel is drilling deep into the emotional make-up of the story as well as the continuity that drives the narrative.
Swordsman #1 by Paknadel and Thomas Nichlik is much more action-packed than the previous two one-shots, and shows why the Swordsman is more of a slice first, ask questions later kind of guy.
To rapturous applause, the panel then touched upon the X-Men tie-ins. Jonathan Hickman and the X-team of writers will detail the X-Men’s entry into the story, where they will play a significant role.
Lastly, Captain Marvel #18 depicts Carol being promoted to Accuser. Like Ronan before her, she is judge, jury, and executioner of the Kree-Skrull Alliance. In this story, she’ll deal with her new responsibilities as well as her past and connection to her Kree mother.
And that was it for the panel! It felt a little shorter than what I was used to but since this was focused on one particular story, there wasn’t much else to dive too deep into.