EMPIRE #0 - Mania.com



Comic Book Review

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  • Authors: Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, James Pascoe
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $4.95

EMPIRE #0

It's good to be the king?

By Arnold T. Blumberg     July 01, 2003

While everyone reels from the inexplicable removal of Mark Waid from Marvel's FANTASTIC FOUR - surely one of the most insane decisions ever given Waid's superb take on the long-floundering title and his welcome resurrection of the pure evil that once was Doctor Doom some comfort may be found across the street at the Distinguished Competition. For DC has done everyone in comicdom a favor by reviving an intriguing new series from Waid first published by Dark Horse under the Gorilla Comics imprint. It's called EMPIRE, and it will probably become one of your monthly must-reads after just a few pages.

EMPIRE #0 collects the two original issues in preparation for a new #1. For those who missed these genre-bending epics last time, let's sketch in the basics. Golgoth is a Doom-esque villain of the highest order, a genius with an army at his disposal and one simple dream to rule the entire planet Earth. But unlike every other supervillain we've ever met, Golgoth has one unique quality. You see, he wins.

That's right. As the story begins, Golgoth has achieved what Doom never could. He rules the planet, apart from a few rebellious countries who will doubtless fall beneath his army's tank treads before too long. But for a supreme mastermind who has finally seen all of his plans achieve fruition, what exactly is next? What does one do when the world is subjugated and there is no one left to challenge them? And what happens when paranoia runs rampant, leaving you in mortal fear of your own trusted advisors? Never has the phrase "heavy is the head that wears the crown" felt more appropriate.

This is a stunning reversal of standard superhero sagas, exploring the psychological and socio-political ramifications of the ultimate nightmare the conquering of the world by a power-mad dictator who rules with a golden-gloved fist. And Golgoth isn't exactly easy to hate, though you might think he would be. He too has a human side, embodied most obviously in his young daughter, who he clearly loves with all that remains of his heart. He has plans for her future, but what are they? And will Golgoth find that having is not quite so great a thing after all as wanting?

You simply have to read Waid's EMPIRE; every dollar spent on this title is another dollar you're not spending on a non-Waid FF.

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at feedback@cinescape.com.

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