Lords Of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1: Review

Jul 2020
Chip Zdarsky, Manuel Garcia

Story Name:

Profane the precious time

Review & Comments

4 stars

Lords Of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 Review by (July 25, 2020)
Anthony Oliveira co-wrote this issue with Chip Zdarsky.

This is the 1st of 3 1-shots relating the backstory of major players in the Empyre event. (The other 2 will be Celestial Messiah and Swordsman.) This story fills in more details of Hulkling's rise to being Emperor Dorrek VIII of the Kree/Skrull Alliance.

The 1st half doesn't tell us much more than we already knew from Young Avengers and the Incoming 1-shot. It is the 1st time we are actually told that Bel-Dann and Raksor recruited Teddy Altman. It is the 1st time the dead Mrs Altman is given a name, Mary-Jo. And it confirms that Wiccan was in Strikeforce during Incoming (and here). (Teddy's app in Strikeforce #2-3 already suggested that. The Strikeforce series doesn't have any connection with Empyre because its #10 tie-in has been cancelled.)

But the 2nd half is completely new and shows us Teddy's reasons for accepting the Emperorship, and Tanalth's ruthless manoeuvring.

There have been 2 previous attempts to recruit Teddy Altman as Dorrek VIII. Super-Skrull tried it in YAv(2005)#9-12. The Knights Of The Infinite (including Mur-G'nn) had another go in New Av (2015) #3-4. There Teddy fulfilled a prophecy by pulling the Star-Sword/Excelsior from a stone. The sword was forged by Dorrek Supreme, the 1st Kree-Skrull hybrid and founder of the Knights.

Captain Glory (Gla-Ree) was a Kree soldier rescued from death by Grandmaster to fight in the Lethal Legion during the Av: No Surrender story arc.

The Kree Utopians were previously mention in the current Guardians Of The Galaxy #1. They were led by the Supreme Intelligence. (And that issue already knew about the Kree Imperium's new Alliance and Emperor.) Back in Death Of Inhumans mini-series there was a Civil War between the Imperium (including Tanalth) and the Kree Empire led by the Supreme Intelligence. The Empire presumably morphed into the Utopians.

Speed (Tommy Shepherd) was introduced in YAv(2005)#10. He continued into the 2013 series with Billy and Teddy, and he met Prodigy (David Alleyne) in #6.

Prodigy was a member of the 2nd wave of New Mutants (in the 2003 series) and could telepathically absorb the knowledge and skills of those around him. He lost his power after the House Of M event but hung around and eventually the Stepford Cuckoos gave him back all the things he'd learned when he did have his power (New X-Men v2 #3).

This isn't the real Jumbo Carnation. The real 1 debutéd and died in New X-Men #134. But he reappeared in X-Force (2019) #9 either recreated with the rebuilt universe after Secret Wars or resurrected by Krakoan tech.

Krystal M'Kraan (she obviously named herself after the famous M'Kraan Crystal) was a drag act in War Of The Realms: War Scrolls #2. This is only her 2nd app and she seems to have diversified into a trapeze artist.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Lords Of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Many years ago on Tarnax 1V, capital of the Skrull Empire, Empress R'Klll awaits the end as Galactus consumes the planet (in Fantastic Four #257). Her daughter Princess Anelle confesses to her that she saved the bastard child she had with the Kree Captain Marvel (supposedly conceived in Avengers #94 during the Kree/Skrull War story arc but we and Teddy Altman only found out about it in Young Avengers v1 #11) when her father Emperor Dorrek VII tried to have the baby killed, and she sent him and his nanny to Earth for safety.

That baby grew up to be Theodore Altman, the Young Avenger Hulkling, and fiancé to another YAer Billy Kaplan, Wiccan, who is currently a part of Blade's Strikeforce. Billy contacts him from a mission in that title, and Teddy pretends to have just had an adventure with Spider-Man. Then another YA couple, Tommy Shepherd (Billy's brother Speed) and David Alleyne (the ex-mutant Prodigy), invite him out for drinks ...

... at Jumbo Carnation's gay club where Krystal M'Kraan is performing. Tommy as usual goes on about his brother Billy getting more glory than both of them, but David tries to boost Teddy's ego. But then they are interrupted by Raksor, a Skrull, and Bel-Dann, a Kree, who tell him that a 'long-dormant power' is cutting swathes through both Empires and heading for Earth's Moon. (We recognise that this is what we're being told about in Empyre #2.) They need someone to unite all the factions of both Empires into 1 grand alliance to combat this menace. And they remind him of his parentage which makes him the only choice.

But then 'Jumbo Carnation' removes his helmet (modelled on that currently sported by Professor X) and reveals himself to be a Skrull copy (not having 4 arms should have been a giveaway), backed by several other armed (with weapons) Skrulls from a fanatical purist sect, the Children Of Tarnax. The Kree/Skrull pair and the 3 Earther super-heroes defend themselves, until Hulkling magically calls his magic Star-Sword (which he acquired in New Avengers (2015) #3-4) into his hand which convinces the attacking Skrulls he's worthy.

Bel-Dann and Raksor leave Teddy to think about it, but he must decide tonight. He goes off to be by himself and remembers his 'mother' (who was actually his Skrull nanny) telling him to make peace not war. And he contacts the allies to tell them he'll do what they want, but promising himself he's doing it to bring peace. They'll beam him up in an hour, but meanwhile he sees a light in his apartment and finds Wiccan waiting for him. He tells Billy what he's got to do and they spend the hour together. (This last scene was also played out in the Incoming 1-shot)

Hulkling arrives in the Kree/Skrull Imperial Flagship and is welcomed by Kree Tanalth The Pursuer as Dorrek VIII of the Skrulls or Emperor Dorrek-Vell I of the Kree/Skrull Alliance. He's brought Wiccan with him who Tanalth dismisses a his pet jester-ape. But Billy's not stopping. He magic chants "I want to keep Teddy safe" onto Teddy's engagement ring and says he can teleport to it whenever necessary. Then he leaves on Strikeforce business.

Tanalth proposes that they cement Hulkling's authority by killing some rebel Utopian leaders or worlds but Teddy wants to offer them peace. So she introduces him to his royal guard Kree Captain Glory and Mur-G'nn, Kree/Skrull hybrid sorceress of the Knights Of The Infinite. Teddy recognises Mur-G'nn (from the aforementioned NAv#3-4 where the Knights previously tried to make Hulking the Kree/Skrull Emperor). And finally he meets Tanalth's co-leader the Super-Skrull. Teddy punches him in the creased jaw for killing his mother (YAv#9) (really his Skrull nanny).

Tanalth announces that the combined Kree/Skrull fleet is passing Saturn, and Teddy insists on visiting his father Captain Marvel's grave on Titan (Mar-Vell died in Marvel's 1st graphic novel). He muses that he once thought he met CM (YAv Presents #2) but it was a fake (a Skrull named Khn'nr in the lead-up to Secret Invasion). But he knows that the real CM left the Kree to become a hero of Earth, and he now hopes to do as well in reverse.

Hulkling hasn't noticed that behind him the flagship is under attack (that no sound in space thing). So when he teleports back it's into a firefight. Apparently some Kree Imperium fanatics aren't happy with his leniency towards the Utopians. Their female leader attacks Teddy directly and disarms him of his sword. But Wiccan teleports from Earth to his side and repels her (while the Earth duo swap Star Trek quotes). Then we see Tanalth telling the fanatic leader to retreat, and she does. Billy stops Super-Skrull from attacking the fleeing foes, and Kl'rt turns on him which causes Teddy to threaten him with the sword. This unsettles his followers, but Tanalth breaks the awkward moment by announcing that Bel-Dann and Raksor have been killed by their enemy (see Incoming).

The Earth couple are given sumptuous double-bed quarters. But Teddy remembers when Captain America gave them a bedroom in Avengers Mansion (with 2 single beds) when he was worried about Wiccan's increasing powers (Av: Children's Crusade #1). And he thinks that this is as much a prison as the other 1 was. But at least they have the consolation of each other.

Later they meet with the Kree/Skrull 4 again. Tanalth points out that by sparing Utopians Dorrek-Vell caused the recent fight and the deaths of many. To save the Alliance he must be stronger. Also his people won't accept a human consort in Billy, who Teddy supported against Kl'rt. So to be the leader of the Alliance he must dismiss Wiccan. Billy accepts this, so Teddy takes the throne and formally dissolves their engagement and banishes him. Billy teleports back to Earth.

Later again Tanalth contacts the leader of the invaders who apologises for failing to kill Dorrek. But Tanalth says everything worked out as she wanted, but now she needs to get rid of loose ends. And she causes the other's ship to self-destruct.

In another later Billy pops back to see Teddy again. Teddy says he didn't mean what he said, and Billy says he knows that. Billy says goodbye again, and tells Teddy to go save everybody.

And the fleet approaches Earth and Empyre: Av#0.

Manuel Garcia
Cam Smith
Triona Farrell
Patrick Gleason (Cover Penciler)
Patrick Gleason (Cover Inker)
Marte Gracia (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Travis Lanham.
Editor: Wil Moss. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Tanalth the Pursuer)

Plus: Bel-Dann, Captain Glory, Mur-G'nn, Prodigy (David Alleyne), Raksor, Speed (Tommy Shepherd), Super-Skrull, Wiccan (Asgardian).

> Lords Of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling: Book info and issue index

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