Writer: Mark Millar | Artist: Stuart Immonen
Mark Millar is like that relationship where you keep trying to walk away, but they do just enough to keep you around for another few months until you do the whole dance all over again. After the utterly sluggish shipping schedule of Jupiter’s Legacy and the dumpster fire that was Kick-Ass 3, I’d decided I was just about done with Mark Millar. Then, he gave us Starlight, easily one of the best things to happen to sci-fi comics in recent years, a drastically different tone from anything else we’d experienced from him. That was all I needed to be pulled back into the fold. Now, Millar has teamed up with Stuart Immonen who is coming off of the second best run of Marvel’s Star Wars (sorry, but…you know…John Cassaday) to create the much hyped space adventure, Empress.
Millar starts you off with a simple enough premise: An evil emperor (that’s equal parts Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon and the Governor from The Walking Dead) that does horrible things. Meanwhile, his loyal wife….is absolutely sick of him. As a result, she wants out and her royal protector (basically Ser Jorah from Game of Thrones in space) readily obliges her in fast and violent fashion. This is more than enough Millar-tastic cynical storytelling to roll out an insane rollercoaster ride through the galaxy that blasts through tropes like Luke Skywalker mowing down womp rats. There’s exactly the right amount of character development to satisfy a plot in the first issue and then after that, the action goes up to 11. It’s Millar’s trademark cynicism, but not so much that it renders the characters completely unlikable. There’s layers to this family. You can already tell there’s uncertainty and dissension in the ranks, adequately flavoring the Michael Bay level space violence. Visually, if penciling were a video game, Stuart Immonen would firmly be in God Mode. The line work is as tight as it was during his run on Star Wars and that’s saying a lot. Combine this with master inker Wade von Grawbadger and you have a book that practically hums the Buzz Lightyear theme when you hold it to your ear.
Bottom Line: Leave it to Mark Millar to give us a book that offers a teaspoon of setup, hits you over the head with knockdown, drag out action and still manages to be an AMAZING book.
4 Infinities and Beyond out of 5.