Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Mark Waid
Pencils: Barry Kitson
Inker: James Pascoe
Colors: Alex Bleyaert and Chris Sotomayor
Cover Artists: Barry Kitson, James Pascoe, and Alex Bleyaert
Mark Waid is well known throughout the comic book industry. He has breathed life into characters that many fans have forgotten. I really can’t imagine a time when Waid had trouble publishing a story. Way back in 2000, when we were all still using dial-up and everyone had an AOL account, Waid published a 6 issue story that garnered critical acclaim. During this period, I just got back into comic books and stumbled upon Issue #0 of Empire and was immediately hooked. Unfortunately, I was only able to find another issue of this acclaimed series. I was grateful to hear that IDW was publishing the entire series.
To be honest, there are very few stories that hold their relevancy in the current era of comics. There are moments when I go back to a favorite story arc from way back then only to fall away wondering what I was thinking back then in my youth. Although in 2000, I was a working adult who was still trying to figure things out, I was still young. Empire did hold itself well in 2015.
Golgoth is the protagonist in this story. He has conquered most of the planet but he has defeated his arch nemesis, Endymion, as well as all the other heroes from around the planet. Golgoth is surrounded by a cabinet of villains: Rogent, Xanna, Tumbril, Grieze, and Lucullan. As Golgoth’s Empire continues to take over country after country, the tension within his inner cabinet begins to increase. Golgoth has a daughter, Delfi, who he keeps isolated from all of the political turmoil in his Empire.
Waid does a wonderful job of writing political intrigue. It’s definitely not easy to do this in a comic book. All of Golgoth’s adversaries have been dispatched so there is not that much action. Waid makes up for this with flashbacks and political back biting. He does a great job of answering the question we all have: What does a villain do when he or she wins? Waid also throws in a few plot twists to provide better pacing. The reader will be surprised.
Barry Kitson’s breakdowns are superb. His artwork is also timeless. Kitson leaves out no detail. The colors make everything pop. Again, much of the story is filled with dialogue and the art team does a great job portraying emotion even when the characters remain stone faced. The splash pages miss no detail. This was a very good creative team and I hope I see them work together again.
Empire demonstrates how great a writer Mark Waid really is. Whether he is doing a main character for a major publishing company or an obscure character for an independent. This series shows the versatility of Waid as a writer. What I enjoy about these trades is that the writers are given the opportunity to explain the thought process about these stories. Normally, I avoid these introductions unless it is by an artist or writer I admire. This one is worth reading front to back.