Monday, August 15, 2016

Empress #5 Review - Marvel Monday

Talk About A Custody Battle

Written by: Mark Millar
Art by: Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, Ive Svorcina and Peter Doherty
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 10, 2016
Review by: J. Vermillion

This series has been my first foray into Millarworld, and after reading Empress I’m not ready to request citizenship just yet, but I’ll definitely be applying for a temporary visa. The first four issues have had a ton of action with just enough backstory to keep me interested. There have been twists and turns every single issue and I honestly have no idea what to expect when I turn the page. It may not be a groundbreaking premise, but Millar pulls it off and leaves me wanting more every month. I’ll get to my review of Empress #5 in just a minute, but first let’s take a look at what happened is the first four issues.

The story focuses on Queen Emporia and her three children, Aine, Adam, and Puck. Emporia is married to King Morax but is fed up with his psychopathic, murderous ways. Dane, the bodyguard assigned with protecting Emporia and the children for years, helps them escape and heads off in search of Emporia’s sister, whom King Morax has no idea exists. Dane enlists the help of an old friend, Tor Blinder, who is possession of a machine called Ship that can teleport the group anywhere it can see.

After escaping and meeting up with Tor, our group takes off on a journey across the galaxy to find Emporia’s sister. Up to this point shit has gone wrong every step of the way. Puck and Dane get eaten by a giant monster (don’t worry they escape), they end up in the middle of a warzone, and they teleport onto a planet with a constant raging dust storm, leaving Ship blind so he can’t teleport them anywhere. While on the barren storm planet, the group gets ambushed and kidnapped by a group of junkers that are going to sell the kids as slaves and trade the adults for spare parts. The adults escape from their kidnappers and jump their damaged ship to another planet. They think they’re going to have time to repair the ship and plan a raid on the ship holding the kids, but are surrounded by the inhabitants of this planet and declared their sacrifices.

I think that pretty much brings us up to the current issue. I went over that pretty quickly and left some stuff out. If you’re interested, I highly recommend picking up the back issues. Overall, I’d give the first four installments a 9/10. Anyway… Let’s get to what we came here to talk about: Empress #5.

The issue opens up with the three kids in their holding cell onboard the kidnappers ship. I guess I should’ve mentioned that Aine is the warrior of the family and her little brother Adam is the genius. Adam has something up his sleeve with all of the junk that’s in the cell with them. King Morax arrives at one of the planets the group was spotted at and, after getting his information, has them all executed for letting the group get away. Yeah, Morax isn’t a very nice fella.

Back with Dane, Emporia, and Tor, the people of Nakamoor have lifted the ship and are transporting it to be used as a sacrifice in hopes of pleasing their gods. Very conveniently, Tor and Dane don’t get the ship working until the moment they are thrown into a pit of lava. I want to call shenanigans, but I’m going to give it a pass because the rest of the action this series has been so good.

Meanwhile, the kids are arriving at the space station of Khondu The Auctioneer to be sold. Adam spent the trip assembling a cannon out of the spare parts in the cell and blasts the door away. Not to be upstaged by her little brother, Aine opens up a can of whoop ass on the rest of the kidnappers. They are just about ready to take off and find the adults when one of their attackers comes in with a bomb in hand. The issue ends with the their ship exploding. These people just can’t seem to catch a break.

I have been a fan of Stuart Immonen’s art throughout the story and it continues to impress me. Some of the faces look a little off, but the action sequences and scene setting pages look awesome. Ive Svorcina makes the art stand out even more with some great color work throughout. The book looks great and has a fun, action-packed story to go with it.

I’m still excited for where this story is headed, but I have to admit I need a little bit more. I still have a lot of unanswered questions and only two issues left to get some answers. I’d like to see a little bit more backstory of how Morax came to be King. We still don’t even know what his power set is. What makes him so feared by everyone? The only other problem I had with this issue was the ending. The cliffhanger ending of what appears to be imminent death has been used a couple times now and is getting a little old. I’ll continue to read this book and I’m sure I’ll still love the action, I just hope it starts developing the story a little more as we move into the final issues.

Bits and Pieces:

I continue to be a big fan of this story and the art. I’d like to get a little more backstory, but I can live with the excitement of seeing what predicament they’ll get their way out of next. The only thing that brings this issue down a little bit for me is the same cliffhanger ending we’ve seen throughout the series. To be honest though, it still leaves me looking forward to the next issue, so I can’t hate on it too much.


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