That “Road to Empyre” in the title is a bit worrisome when we’re not even sure comic books will be coming out in a week. Given Diamond Comics Distributors is ceasing shipments past March 25th releases, we can only guess at what Marvel plans to do, but Robbie Thompson’s The Kree/Skrull War comic is so good, we can only hope they can figure something out. We need this entertainment now more than ever. The beauty of this lead-up issue is how it balances Thompson’s excellent Meet the Skrulls characters with Javier Rodríguez and Álvaro López’s unique History of the Marvel Universe backstory abilities in the flashbacks.
You will be blown away by the art in this book. Mattia De Iulis draws and colors the present-day scenes with a gorgeous Alex Ross level of realism. The detail in the lighting, skin tone, and the atmosphere is incredible. Match this with Rodríguez and López’s clean and deeply thought out layout design, and it’s a match made in heaven. De Iulis draws you into the high-stakes situation the Skrull family is in while Rodríguez and López give us the necessary backstory to understand the war that has raged between Skrulls and Kree for eons. One story informs the other, and the art styles are different enough to make the jump between flashback and present-day easy to follow and natural. This is one of the best-looking books I’ve read in some time.
The story is compelling as hell too. Thompson picks up with his Skrull family where we left off (it’s highly recommended you read Meet the Skrulls first to add context and weight to this story) and it’s like he never stopped writing their story. The characters are natural and the dynamics complex, but also loving. They are a family, and you root for them. The story builds well too, keeping your interest in the family aspect, giving us enough action to carry forward, and blending in the flashback to add context to the present scenes also. Thompson leads us on a day in the life of these characters while informing us of how countless historical moments lead to this. You feel that in each scene and this all builds to a triumphant ending that will likely turn any Empyre naysayer into a believer.
I’m in awe of how good this book looks and how well it reads. I’m not much of a Skrull or Kree fan, nor am I a history buff on either, but after reading this book, I’m far more interested in their storied histories. Even if you plan to skip Empyre, I highly recommend every Marvel fan read this so they can bathe in the glory of comics visual storytelling at its peak.