Empress #1 (Icon/Marvel)


CREDIT: Icon/Marvel

Rating: 4/5 – Great but Quick Read Without Any Extras.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

Empress has a breakneck pace that after just a couple of pages of calm, never lets up to the very end. Empress is Mark Millar’s latest series from Marvel’s Icon imprint teaming up with superstar artist Stuart Immonen. It’s science/fantasy/superhero fiction that reminded me a bit of Mark Waid’s Empire in that one of the main characters in this first issue is an all powerful ruler with an entire civilization under his control. But the one person he can’t control is his wife.

Mark Millar can always make the most out of the simplest of concepts and he’s done so again here. We’re not given a whole lot of background on the characters, their world, or their motives in this first issue. What we are given is the simple story of a woman and her children trying to escape the clutches of what we can assume to be an abusive husband, King Morax. Whether that abuse is directed towards the wife, kids, or others is still unknown, but we know it’s bad enough that the wife chooses to flee rather than risk upsetting this powerful alien ruler by providing him some tough feedback.  Immonen’s art is as expected, fantastic. Although the design of King Morax himself isn’t all that creative or exciting, the rest of the world and its characters including the Queen are. There are unique looking space suits and costumes, sleek looking spaceships, and hints of a larger world.

My only complaint with Empress #1 is the speed at which the story read. Although entertaining with art that’s beautiful, this issue was over all too quickly.  At $3.99 it was tough for me to feel as though I got my full money’s worth without any extras; letters page, sketches, text feature, etc. With this being a creator owned book, it would have been nice to see some of the creative process involved instead of a preview for Jupiter’s Legacy 2. Empress is an exciting first issue that I’ve come to expect from talents like Millar and Immonen. While I don’t feel strongly enough about this to read it monthly at $3.99 a pop, I will be back for the collected edition.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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