In what feels like the first real story in the latest crossover, this tells the tale of a character left on the sidelines who gets a moment to truly shine. Theodore Rufus Altman is the impossible merging of two ancient, warring cultures. His birth father was an expatriate of the star-spanning Kree Empire called Mar-Vell, who fought on earth as a beloved hero. His mother was the princess of the rival Skrull Empire, a race of shapeshifters who warred with the Kree for what feels like all of the time. Now, with a threat bigger than both empires alone, Teddy is the last hope to unite both people and save them all from a greater risk, in a way he hopes will kill as few people as possible.
What's the problem? Well, there are a few. The Kree/Skrull alliance object to his human fiancé, the relentlessly powerful Wiccan. Many Kree and Skrull think the "pacifist hybrid king" is a disgrace to the warrior histories of both people. Also, he's a teenager with zero training in intergalactic politics, royal intrigues, wartime logistics, or anything else remotely useful. Oh, and one of his top advisors killed his adopted mother.
What's good about this issue is that it encapsulates everything that's happening in this larger meta-story without the hemming and hawing that's going on in the main series. The artwork is great, thanks to Manuel Garcia, Cam Smith, Triona Farrell, Travis Lanham showing up with high production values, effective action scenes, and sweeping splash pages. The script from Chip Zdarsky and Anthony Olivera is solid.
What's not so good? Well, for two star-spanning empires, the players they generated (Tanalth the Pursuer, spacebar super-soldier Captain Glory, the sorceress Mur-G'nn, and the aforementioned mom killer) are all kind of dull. They were dull before the story started, and they don't get any less dull here. Moreover, there's a sick sword that works kind of like Mjolnir, one respected by nearly everyone, yet there's very little explanation of why.
The good elements were equaled by those that didn't hold water, so this is a better primer for the larger (and frankly, less engaging) story that's as good an episode of Sportscenter as you'd need. RATING: MEH.
Lords Of Empyre Emperor Hulking #1
DESTINY FULFILLED! The child of the Kree hero Mar-Vell and Skrull Princess Anelle, Dorrek VIII – known on Earth as 'Teddy' – has spent years evading the clutches of both bloodthirsty empires. But now fate has caught up to him. The Kree and Skrull worlds are aligned – and only a man born of both can lead them. But what has led Hulkling to abandon Earth and the Avengers he's fought beside? And what will become of his fiancé, the hero Wiccan? Star writers Chip Zdarsky and Anthony Oliveira team up with artist Manual Garcia for a can't-miss one-shot!