Written by Mark Waid
Art by Barry Kitson
Published by IDW Publishing
Release Date: April 22, 2015

A tyrannical despot has a world under his boot in Waid & Kitson’s Empire: Uprising, the continuation their Empire series that has run through Waid’s Thrillbent and other outlets over the years.

This is my first foray into the world of Empire, and this first issue gives enough of a primer to catch readers up on the lay of the land. The despot, Golgoth, is a supervillain who has actually won. He’s conquered. The world is his. While I’m sure there was a ton of story showing his rise to power, it’s easy enough to keep up with this story at this point because all that is required for this story to make sense is that Golgoth is the supreme ruler. From that point forward, I was fine keeping up with the story, which has some interesting elements to it.

I’m a sucker for a well written tyrant – the all powerful supervillains that can single handedly take on a world full of heroes. Those big bads keep me entertained very well. Golgoth is certainly that sort of big bad, and I think as this series progresses it will be interesting to see where Waid and Kitson take the character. This series feels in some ways like an Astro City style look at super-dom, with the supreme villain archetype under the lense here. Waid and Kitson know what they are doing and how to craft a tale, and this first issue has most everything it needs to succeed.

Some of the dialogue is a bit heavy handed, in the sense that these characters may not be stating things about Golgoth that everyone knows, but to engage readers who have no idea what Empire is, that is somewhat necessary. While I found I had absolutely no connection to any character in this issue, I will say that it could very easily be because this is so early in the story. You don’t call something Empire and have a villain with this kind of status to tell a series of one shots, so I’ll give the team the benefit of the doubt there.

The biggest star of this issue is Barry Kitson’s artwork. These pencils are rock solid as far as consistency is concerned, and Golgoth bleeds power. Golgoth is a powerful being capable of extreme actions and Kitson doesn’t hold back. The jarring violence in parts of this issue set it apart from typical superhero fare, and really drive home the state of the world when a villain is in control. There is a layer of tension in Kitson’s artwork at all times, and it adds to the narrative in a big way. The tension that exists whenever Golgoth is present is evident in Kitson’s pencils and is probably the most crucial aspect of the entire story for me. There is no doubting in this artwork that Golgoth is the supreme ruler here, and no matter the text, the artwork captures his power over this world.

Empire: Uprising #1 sets the board for what could be a very entertaining series down the line. There is a lot to be explored in this world that has been conquered by Golgoth, and I’ll be back for more down the line.

The Verdict: 8.0/10


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