Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Chip Zdarsky and Anthony Oliveira, art by Manuel Garcia, colors by Triona Farrell and letters by Travis Lanham. Before the Kree/Skrull fleet confronted the Avengers and Fantastic Four in orbit of Earth’s moon, they first had to acquire their leader. Hulkling has been many things in his past. Exile, hero, and Young Avenger have all been accolades he has worn. Though most dear to him would probably be the title of fiancé to his fellow hero Wiccan. To save a galaxy; however, he may be required to give up all that he was to become an Emperor.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown. A saying that has been used in countless contexts, to push countless opinions. In Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 it is used to remind the Emperor that he cannot always have things the way he wants them. That sometimes governance requires one to sacrifice what they want, what they love, for what must be. It is used to push the idea that clinging to his ideals would be selfish. Hulkling must put aside such “childish things” and become a ruler. I hope he doesn’t listen too closely to his advisers.
To wake up one morning feeling useless, and go to bed that same day ruler of a star-spanning empire is the journey Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 seeks to impart upon its readers. Zdarsky and Oliveira do a good job of presenting the events that take Hulkling from lonely to ruler. While it feels a little rushed, they do as good a job as anyone could with the time they have to get Hulkling from point A to point B. While there are numerous strong points along the way, the standouts are by far the moments when Hulkling gets to be with Wiccan.
Coming home to discover your fiancé is leaving to rule a star-spanning empire would be a tough pill to swallow. Wiccan, while clearly saddened at the prospect of saying goodbye, gives Hulkling nothing but support. Even when Hulkling’s new people show they are more than a bit bigoted toward the people of Earth.
The tenderness the two lovers show each other is a welcome soft spot in a story filled with talk of war, vengeance, and anger. They are the best moments Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 has to give. I hope they will get to have many more after all is settled in this storyline. My only particular complaint with the writing here is the inclusion of the word “crippled.” While not used in a derogatory way, it’s inclusion is an unfortunate oversight. As many feel the word needs to be put to pasture as it’s origins lie in spaces that are hurtful to many.
The art of Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 does a solid job of telling the story within its pages. Garcia handles the changing tones of the story well, and always gives the illustrations an appropriate feel. The highlight of the visual presentation in this book has to be Farrell’s colors. Her work furthers the art’s enhancement of the story by capturing the mood within each panel. With color choices which both create eye-catching contrasts, as well as service the mood, her work in this book is top-tier coloring. Rounding out Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 is its lettering. Lanham does a solid job here. The story is clear and easy to follow, while not interrupting the art’s presentation.
When all is said and done Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 gives an emotional look at the man who is made to be an emperor. It delivers both good background as well as moments that endear it’s lead to the reader.
Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 is available July 22nd wherever comics are sold.