Comic round-up

The sto­ry­line is Star Wars-lite, but the art­work and script shine through

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

Set 65 mil­lion years in the past, Em­press feels like it could have been tagged “a long time ago in a gal­axy far, far away…” as Mark Mil­lar and Star Wars artist Stu­art Im­mo­nen cre­ate a high-oc­tane space opera with ma­ni­a­cal despots, di­nosaur death matches and high­im­pact space­ship chases.

As Queen Em­po­ria and her chil­dren at­tempt to flee from the evil King Mo­rax with the help of her body­guard Dane, there’s more than a hint of A New Hope in this comic pub­lished by Icon/Marvel/Mil­lar­world. Mil­lar’s rapid fire, ul­tra-lean script en­ables Im­mo­nen to give the story an elec­tri­fy­ing pace thanks to some truly stun­ning vi­su­als. His fig­ure work is ex­cep­tional, with the sub­tlest of car­tooni­ness to the fa­cial ex­pres­sions giv­ing ev­ery panel a sense of depth and emo­tion, with­out re­ly­ing on histri­on­ics. The de­tailed de­signs of the ships and land­scapes are also truly breath­tak­ing and a sign of how much the artist has upped his game by work­ing on Marvel’s flag­ship ti­tles.

With Em­press, Mil­lar is con­tin­u­ing to con­found his crit­ics by cre­at­ing a book that’s both a per­fect ex­am­ple of his dis­tinc­tive style, but also a mil­lion miles away from the clichéd ex­pec­ta­tions that come with it. A re­turn to Marvel’s Icon im­print sees him work in a more main­stream tone like Ul­ti­mates or his un­der­rated Fan­tas­tic Four run, than the throw­back tales of Huck and Starlight or the self­aware world of Jupiter’s Legacy, and in do­ing so he has cre­ated one of his best books in years.

Mark Mil­lar’s char­ac­ters have only the sub­tlest car­toon el­e­ments in their fa­cial ex­pres­sions.

Mil­lar man­ages to por­trary depth of emo­tion in char­ac­ters with­out re­sort­ing to histri­on­ics.

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