When I heard that Marvel was yet again doing a universe-spanning event, I rolled my eyes. Yet another attempt for Marvel to do a cash grab by throwing in some new number ones for certain titles and increasing the page count or adding cardstock covers so they can charge $5.00 or more per issue.
Here comes Empyre, the next chapter in the Kree/Skrull war and they’re bringing the battlefield to Earth. Why, you might ask? For all the reasons above, of course.
I am a fan of the Fantastic Four and Empyre starts here with Fantastic Four #0. I decided to give it try since it involved the first family of comics. Writer, Dan Slott, who is hit and miss for me, penned the story, (or lack thereof) and though my expectations were low, I should have lowered them further.
Gone are the days of the comic editor and it is quite apparent here. (Spoilers begin.) On their way back to Earth, the Fantastic Four run out of gas (Fuel of the cosmic kind) and are forced to land on a planet where there is an intergalactic casino, but when they try to pay for the fuel, they find that their currency is no longer good at that establishment.
Yes, there are few similarities to The Last Jedi. So, they decide to enter Ben into an arena battle, where they can win the money. At this point, I wasn’t sure if I was still reading a Fantastic Four book. There was absolutely no creativity, with a plot borrowed from a hundred different movies.
Franklin and Valeria are left outside to watch the car, but Valeria has other plans – more on this later. When the rest of the family gets inside, they realize that a Kree and a Skrull are already fighting in the arena (Just FYI, it’s live – not on a screen, hologram, etc. This becomes important in a moment.)
Reed decides to put a stop to it and enters the control room. The casino is run by the Grandmaster’s sister, the Profiteer. Reed calls out her name as he enters and then she says, “Didn’t I mention. I’m also known as the War Profiteer.” Wow. Some witty dialogue there.
Meanwhile, Valeria sells the car to get money to gamble. Since she’s the smartest person in the world, she can beat the house and win the car back, gas, and a set of spinning rims. Thankfully, this doesn’t work out and she loses most of the money, until Sue, being invisible, cheats to win them the entire casino. First of all, what? Secondly, the Profiteer knows all about the Fantastic Four, right down to calling Ben “the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing,” and she never even considered that Sue cheated? Too much of a leap for me.
Back to the Kree and Skrull fighting in the arena. They are children, and I don’t mean teenagers, they look like they’re eight years old. The Skrull can shapeshift, so I give it a pass there, but in the previous pages, the Kree looks like an adult with a muscular body, height, etc. Now, suddenly, he’s five foot nothing and only when Ben and Johnny remove the Kree’s helmet do they realize he’s a child.
In my opinion, this was a sloppy issue (also $5.00, by the way) and if this is the entry issue into a six-month Marvel-wide event, you can count me out. Feel free to let me know your thoughts.
About Frank Zanca
…began working in local television at the age of 22 when he became a Promotional Producer for Channel 9, the Orlando ABC affiliate. During this time he wrote and produced thirty-second spots for the newscast and syndicated shows such as Geraldo and Sally Jesse Raphael. Later he worked as a Production Assistant on NBC’s Gonzo Games and Dick Clark’s Sea World Summer Spectacular. Frank created and wrote his first comic book, which was distributed internationally under the name of Shadow Raven. For a number of years, Frank worked in Sales and then moved into Marketing where he became CFO and later President of two Independent marketing firms that were later sold for several million dollars. Recently Frank helped design Shadow Raven: the Combat Card Game, which was distributed internationally and has written the Shadow Raven novel (to be released next year). Frank is currently producing Shadow Raven: Fading Thoughts, a thirty-minute pilot, which is designed to become a feature film or television series.