Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Dan Slott, art by R. B. Silva and Sean Izaakse, colors by Marte Gracia and Marcia Menyz with letters by Joe Caramagna. During their latest trip among the stars the first family of Marvel have run out of gas. After managing to signal for help, they get a lift to a nearby casino. However, they make some startling discoveries during their time there. Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 serves as an interesting example of one of the comic book medium’s greatest strengths, as well as it greatest weakness. Continuity.
The long-running Kree/Skrull War is a major theme in this issue. First brought to the forefront in the classic storyline of the same name in 1971, this issue’s referencing of it shows how the persistent world-building of the long-standing comic book universes can be used as a great payoff for long reading fans. Seeing favorite storylines given new importance is always fun. But there is also a drawback to this use of continuity. And not just the obvious hindrance it can be for new fans who are unfamiliar with the older stories. And that’s the struggle to keep all this continuity straight.
In Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 the Kree/Skrull War is spoken of as if it has been a continuous galaxy defining event for all of Marvel history. The problem with that is that it doesn’t fit much of the history of Marvel. I recall the Skrull Empire being reduced to a shadow of itself after subsequent disasters such as Galactus’ devouring of their homeworld and the ravaging of their remaining empire during the original Annihilation storyline.
The Kree have also had their fair share of moments where the Skrull were furthest from their minds. Most notably when the Inhuman royal family leads the Kree into a pan-galactic war with the star-spanning Shi’ar Empire during the War of Kings.
The narrative presented in Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 seems to forget these huge events ever occurred in a pursuit to enhance the significance of the upcoming Empyre storyline. This has the unfortunate side effect of devaluing that continuity that has always been so valuable to the comics industry. After all, rewrite history enough times, and it all becomes worthless. But enough about the past, let’s talk about today.
When taken by itself Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 provides a fun space-faring adventure for its titular characters. All of the classic interactions that the Fantastic Four are known for are executed with fabulous skill. I particularly loved how well Slott handles Johnny and Ben’s trademark ribbing of each other. Even once the fists start flying the gentle verbal jabs never stop. They are easily the highlight of the party.
While the character interactions are delivered with spectacular skill, Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 also does a solid job of delivering a self-contained narrative, while also serving as a prelude to a larger event. Which is much appreciated. All too often such zero titles suffer from not feeling like complete stories in their own right. Slott carves out a fun story, containing a distinct beginning, middle and end while introducing elements that will undoubtedly be further explored in the coming crossover event.
The artistic presentation of Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 delivers a solid Sci-Fi experience. The frenzied lights of the space casino and eclectic collection of alien life gives the story the far-flung tones it is striving for. This, along with its vibrant combat panels, come together to enhance the narrative put forth in the story. Artists Silva and Izaakse do a wonderful job bringing these often busy panels to life.
The colorwork by Gracia and Menyz further brings punch to these moments. Leaning into the bright, colorful pages the comics medium is synonymous with, this too helps make Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 truly pop off the page. Lastly, we have Caramagna’s letter work rounding out the visual presentation. While nothing in the lettering truly stuck out to me, it is always executed with skill. The story flows in an easy to follow manner, and never interferes with the readers’ ability to enjoy the art, which is the main concerns for a letterer.
Looking back on it, I enjoyed my read of Fantastic Four: Empyre #0. It provided me with a fun space-faring adventure with the Fantastic Four. Its ability to achieve this, while also working to set up Marvel’s next big crossover event is a commendable achievement.
Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Fantastic Four Empyre #0
Looking back on it, I enjoyed my read of Fantastic Four: Empyre #0. It provided me with a fun space faring adventure with the Fantastic Four. It’s ability to achieve this, while also working to setup Marvel’s next big crossover event is a commendable achievement.