I promised a reading guide for Empyre this month, and I’ve finally had the time to get writing it, so let’s get right into it!
Empyre relies on at least a little bit of background knowledge, so make sure you’ve read at least one of these before you dive in!
A conflict of star-spanning proportions – with Earth caught in the crossfire! For those eternal intergalactic enemies, the merciless Kree and the shapechanging Skrulls, have gone to war, and our planet is situated on the front lines! Can Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers, bring about an end to the fighting before humanity becomes a casualty of war?
The first event involving the Kree and Skrulls, so there’s no better place to get some background knowledge than this!
In the wake of Avengers Disassembled, a mysterious new group of teen super heroes appears. But who are they? Where did they come from? And what right do they have to call themselves the Young Avengers?
Definitely read Avengers Disassembled first (and then the rest of House Of M, because it’s so good!), but this introduces Teddy, aka Hulkling, and Billy, aka Wiccan, his boyfriend. They’re both involved in the Empyre event, so it’s definitely a good idea to get to know them first.
The shape-shifting alien race known as the Skrulls has secretly infiltrated every super-powered organization on Earth with one goal – full-scale invasion! Filled with shocking revelations and powerful action, this adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat as Marvel’s greatest heroes and villains ask – Who do you trust?
A more modern look into the Kree and Skrulls, and the havoc they’ve caused Earth and the Avengers! (And, generally a good event to read before the Secret Invasion tv show, just saying!)
The Main Event
Now that you’ve got your pre-reading in and you’re all caught up with Kree/Skrull relations, it’s time to jump into Empyre itself!
There’s a few ways you can read the event, such as going in issue by issue, but I’m focusing on the bind up versions, as that’s the easiest way to go about it.
Way One: The Omnibus
The entire intergalactic event! When the long-warring Kree and Skrull races unite under a new Emperor and set course for Earth, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four stand in the way! But another alien race is working in the shadows — and soon the galaxy will face a far deadlier threat than its two most powerful empires combined! As a three-way war rages across Earth, the effects are felt by Captain Marvel, Venom, the X-Men and more — and the fallout will be huge for the Avengers and FF!
The omnibus, like the name suggests, contains everything in the event. As in, the main event and all the tie ins. So, if you’re looking for a one stop shop for Empyre, this is the way to go.
But, this way is pricey, and can take up a hefty chunk of space on your shelf (and cause serious hand cramp from holding it), which leads me onto the second way:
Way Two: Collected Editions
The collected editions method is exactly as it says: each volume collects each individual team’s story within the event. If you choose to go down this route, it means you can read exactly what matters to you, be it just the main run, the main event plus tie-ins, or the main event with a focus on the characters you love most.
The tie-ins are completely optional with this event, as they are with all other Marvel events – tie-ins just expand on the main story and give you an insight into the other characters involved in the conflict.
So, like I said, if you just want the main event, then go right ahead, or if you want to focus on certain characters, then do that. There’s no right or wrong way when it comes to events – as long as you read the main run, you’ll be absolutely fine.
And with that, let’s get into it:
The Main event
Get ready for EMPYRE – the cosmic saga set to rock the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the entire Marvel Universe! A mysterious murder brings together an army of heroes in the search for a killer – setting the stage for the conflicts to come! When everything suddenly changes for the Kree and Skrull empires, that leaves the Warner family from MEET THE SKRULLS out in the cold on Earth. They need to work out how this cosmic crisis affects the future of their family – and their race! And that means Mom and Dad educating their kids on just how the Kree and the Skrulls first went to war! Plus: Get all the facts on the major players in this epic event with the official handbook to EMPYRE!
Road To Empyre gives you a pretty good background in who the main players are and just what’s gone on in the past with the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the Kree/Skrull war, so it’s a definite must read.
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Marvel’s First Family star in an intergalactic event that threatens to reshape the Marvel Universe! Old allies make a distress call to the Avengers with news of a terrible enemy that could wipe out humanity itself. The Celestial Messiah has returned – but is Earth ready to hear his message? Meanwhile, in the most unlikely of places, the Fantastic Four witness the final conflict of the Kree/Skrull War…and a long-hidden Elder of the Universe stands revealed! With the Kree and the Skrulls united under a new emperor, their war fleet charts a course – for Earth! The Avengers are ready to fight, while the FF seek a diplomatic solution. But if the two teams can’t work together to save the day, Earth may not survive…
This edition is the main run – it’ll give you the main story line of the event, and the immediate aftermath!
The tie ins
Alien plants versus mutant zombies! Plant people from outer space have come to Earth as part of the cosmic events of EMPYRE – but wouldn’t you know it, they happen to arrive just as millions of deceased mutants rise from the grave as undead creatures hungry for human flesh! What are the odds? And can even the X-Men handle two simultaneous crises? The X-Men return to the graveyard island of Genosha in a tale so crazy, it’s taking the entire writing crew of the Dawn of X line to tackle it!
I’d recommend checking out Dawn Of X before reading this tie-in, just to make sure you know where all the X-Men are and what they’re up to in the lead up to the event.
Emperor Dorrek VIII is the son of Kree hero Mar-Vell and the Skrull princess Anelle. For years, he lived on Earth as the heroic Young Avenger called Hulkling, evading the clutches of both bloodthirsty empires. But his long-avoided destiny has caught up to him – and now Hulkling must take the throne! Elsewhere, the young Cotati called Quoi faces his hour of ascension! Will he become the Celestial Messiah, the role he was prophesized to play – or will his mother, Mantis, stand in his way? Plus: The Avenger called Swordsman may be long dead, but his shadow looms large across the galaxy! And when the Kree/Skrull armies target Earth, they’ll encounter resistance – in the form of the Squadron Supreme!
If you’re looking for more on Hulking, then this is the way to go!
When the united Kree/Skrull army targets Earth, Captain America sends out a call for heroes to meet its global invasion! Which Avengers will assemble to fight a war on three fronts? In New York, a villain from the past is super-charged with alien energy! In Mexico, old hatreds turn allies into enemies! And in the Savage Land, the soul of the jungle has been stolen – and Shanna the She-Devil’s life hangs in the balance! Prepare for mystery, magic and mayhem in the Mighty Marvel Manner! Meanwhile, in South America, Conan the Barbarian is targeted by slavers from beyond the stars – and they’ve got a singular and savage end in store for the time-displaced Cimmerian. It’s a grisly fate that only Venom can help him avoid!
More on the Avengers and Cap dealing with Empyre.
Empyre rocks the world of the Fantastic Four! First, the Mole Man and his biggest monsters return to the surface, with all their righteous wrath aimed at one man: Wyatt Wingfoot! Can the Human Torch and Sky possibly save him? Y’know, this really would’ve been a good time to have brought all of the FF! Elsewhere, a never-before-seen Elder of the Universe steps into the light! Who is it, and how will they change things for Marvel’s First Family…forever? As the FF find themselves in deep space, neck-deep in the events of Empyre, who can the Richards kids Powerhouse and Brainstorm call on to help them deal with a looming crisis back on Earth? How about a couple of former members of the New Fantastic Four -Spider-Man and Wolverine!
More on the Fantastic Four’s side – this is volume 6 in an on-going series by Dan Slott – the first ones being: Fourever, Mr And Mrs Grimm, The Herald of Doom, Thing Vs Immortal Hulk and Point Of Origin.
Even super heroes need some downtime! It’s poker night at Carol Danvers’ house -but with Wolverine, Monica Rambeau, Spider-Woman, Hazmat, Jessica Jones and Ms. Marvel all in the game, Carol might just lose her shirt. Can she bluff her way out of this high-stakes situation or is victory just not in the cards? But as usual, Carol’s much-needed R&R is ruined by an unexpected emergency. Who -or what -is the Nexus? Plus: As EMPYRE rages, Captain Marvel finds herself with a bold new role and a brand-new weapon -the Universal Weapon, in fact! Get ready for Carol Danvers, the Supreme Accuser! And when a Kree soldier bombs a unified city of the Empire, Emperor Hulkling sends his accuser to bring down the hammer of justice…and Carol finds herself torn between two worlds!
Focusing more on Carol’s journey, the previous volumes in her series are: Re-Entry, Falling Star and The Last Avenger.
And that’s the entire event, including tie-ins! I hope this helped, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
What event would you like to see me cover next? Leave me a comment below and let me know!