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