Empress #1 Review

Written by: Mark Millar

Art by: Stuart Immonen

Publisher: Icon

Mark Millar is back,in what must be his trademark by now, by teaming up with another A-star artist for a new creator owned series. This time round it’s Stuart Immonen, fresh off his Star Wars success to bring us another story from a long time ago, but in a galaxy much closer to home.

Empress is set on the planet Earth (or Er as it was known) 65 million years ago following the first race of people to live on it, ruled over by a tyrannical leader. It’s an interesting concept for a Sci-Fi series, and with Millar promising to bring fun and excitement back to the genre, it has the potential to be very enjoyable. If the first issue is anything to go by, this’ll definitely be a treat for sci-fi/aciton junkies.

Rather than go for the more traditional cerebral sci-fi, Millar comes out guns blazing with constant action from start to finish, with only a few short breathers at the start to get a feel for the world before being thrust straight into it. It’s definitely more in line with things like Abram’s Star Trek movies or the original Star Wars movies in terms of pacing and action, and while this may not be for every sci-i fan, I can’t lie and say I wasn’t enjoying the book throughout.

The main reason the more action heavy style is appreciated is due to the absolutely gorgeous work of Stuart Immonen. I’ve loved his stuff over at Marvel for ages, but ever since Star Wars it seems like he’s found his true calling in massive sci-fi worlds. The book is completely beautiful, with no design feeling too overdone, giving a very simple, classic yet detailed feeling to the art. Everything flies past at such high speeds though that it’s a little hard to get a real feel for the world, but Immonen does so well at making the comic feel fluid and well laid out that a high speed chase sequence feels exactly what’s needed to kick things off.

If there are any concerns with the issue, it’s that the script has a few weak points in it. Exposition is handled a little clunkily, I appreciate the attempts to slip it naturally into dialogue so as not to bog down the pace, yet it makes the dialogue feel pretty unnatural and therefore makes it hard to get a feel for the characters. There’s also a flash back sequence that really breaks the flow of the story and doesn’t really add any new information other than what could be picked up through the dialogue. It’s not a bad scene, it just feels badly placed right after an action scene and right before the end of the comic, it honestly feels like it’d serve better as the introduction to the second issue rather than awkwardly placed where it is.

Overall though, Empress is a pretty impressive debut issue. It’s fast, fun and looks absolutely gorgeous. If you like your sci-fi more fast paced and action then this’ll be right up your street. It’s not going to break any boundaries or push the envelope for sci-fi, but it’s well crafted and exciting with lots of potential. There’s a lot to build on it later issues, so I’m excited to see what comes next and can easily give this a recommendation.