With perfect nods to everything from “Star Wars” to “Blade Runner,” but with its own distinctive style, “Empress” looks like a comic book headed for the big screen, and it is. Read here. Yes, this comic will be a movie. Someday, all comics will be turned into movies. Anyway, do enjoy it now since good comics help make everything better.
Mark Millar is one of those exceptional creators. He brings to mind Ed Brubaker, someone at home with writing everything from Captain America to his own work, like Criminal. Both Millar and Brubaker have contributed significantly to the Captain America canon. As for Millar’s own original work, there’s a whole universe of it. Ever hear of “Kick-Ass”? Miller has worked on so many titles it would make your head spin. That said, “Empress” feels fresh and fun, like a very special project should.
With Empress, Miller is riffing on Star Wars and doing it in the House of Marvel Comics (Icon Comics), no less. That’s pretty cool. This is no mere rip-off of Star Wars but the similarities are unmistakable–it is a distant future/past; a lovely woman of noble birth must return to her home; she is on the run with a madcap crew; a funny little droid holds the keys to their escape. But no complaints here. Millar did a similar thing with Batman a few years ago to great effect. Basically, he has the uncanny ability of taking very familiar material and giving it a new set of wings. For instance, in this story, the stand-in for R2-D2 is called, Ship, and it can zap itself, and those near it, to other worlds. Nice wrinkle to a familiar story.
Switching bodies is probably never a good idea and Miller creates here a new wrinkle to that premise. I like the scene with the Quez, a blue mellow race of creatures. We see them here advertising a body swap where they will have one of their reps inhabit your body and engage in vigorous exercise while you get to lounge and pig out in their body. That’s a different level of borrowing. It’s a very clever nod to Robert Sheckley’s hilarious sci-fi classic novel, “Mindswap.” Bravo.
And getting back to the Mark Miller universe at-large, be sure to check out “Jupiter’s Legacy Vol. 2 #1” on sale June 29th, published by Image Comics. “Empress #2,” published by Icon, is available as of May 4th. For more details, visit Icon right here.