To be specific, 65 Million years ago, here on Earth, this first issue of EMPRESS begins with the story of the Earth’s FIRST rulers. AS IF having Mark Millar and Stuart Immonen’s names on a comic book wouldn’t have been enough to get me to pick it up! Then, to further pull me in with gorgeous cover art by Immonen and Dave McCaig, featuring a horned-helmeted noblewoman flanked by two “futuristic” looking masculine figures, all of whom we’ve never seen before. I’m already sold, of course, and then I read the first two pages, finding that the story begins right here on our little blue planet, only set sixty-five million years ago!!! Tell. Me. More.
It seems, back then, King Morax was quite the fearsome Monarch who sacrificed, in a Roman-style coliseum, his own subjects who even sought to incite disobedience. Such offenders were so afraid of King Morax, in fact, that they chose to face “the monster,” rather than the King himself, in battle in front of an enormous stadium filled with spectators. The accused and convicted “criminals” died quickly, which we readers are led to believe was the right choice, as clearly Morax would NOT have been so merciful of opponents.
How is THAT for a comic, and saga, opener?! Well, strap yourselves in, dear readers and comic-lovers, I have a feeling that this is going to get GOOD. You may want to stop, here, and run to your device to order the book, straight away. For those of you not yet convinced, enter the Empress. Unlike the hulking brick-red King (a bit of a cross between Red Hulk and Hellboy, only with long white hair, a goatee, and sci-fi armor), the Queen is a vision of majestic beauty, and we soon find out that she can no longer stand her husband’s brutal and megalomaniacal ways.
What does she plan to do about her marriage to a man she can no longer tolerate? With the help of like-minded friends and family, can she leave Morax, and not sacrifice her very life? Dear readers, I’ll stop the spoilers here, but do yourself a favor and pick up this first-issue and get yourself on this soon-to-be wild roller-coaster ride. The second half of the book fills our eyes, and our minds, with intense action and a bit of backstory, for clarification, and leaves me champing at the bit to read issue number two!
I knew that creators Millar (Ultimate X-Men, Civil War, Kick-Ass) and Immonen (Action Comics, The Adventures of Superman, Ultimate Spider-Man) would not disappoint. One last thing, in addition, they put in a teaser preview of the Jupiter’s Legacy sequel by Frank Quitely, which looks intriguing to say the least.
Words and pictures for the win, my friends.
Empress #1, from Marvel Entertainment. Written by Mark Millar, Art by Stuart Immonen and Sean Murphy. Published April 6, 2016. $11.69.
Review by Steve Oatney.