Chimera’s Champion Comics: Empress Vol. 1

Marvel joins forces with Millarworld! Their ‘Icons’ subsidiary was an open invitation for them to delve into more ‘mature’ works before they were willing to plaster ‘explicit’ labels on to their everyday hero books again, a move that was very common in the early 2000s but only just now resurging fully in the last year. Empress has been their limelight title and now it’s finally been collected into its first volume, seven issues of epic science-fiction space travel adventure and alien intrigue.
So what to say about this series without underselling it?
The story as a whole is simple and elegant, a nice change from the typically complicated plots and stingers from Mark Millar, and this is paired with an equally simplified rendering by Stuart Immonen, one of my absolute favorites. Again, to say these elements are simple is NOT to insult or demean this comic. Rather, it feels very much like Saga, where it says what it needs to and moves on to more important matters, which is giving the reader a fun experience with a group of eccentric and fascinating characters and environments.
The cast in this comic are given a great treatment, well-rounded with emotional sensitivity just as easily brought on as a trained beating. Their goal is escape and each member of the family and crew feel rather differently about that goal, reflected especially in the eyes of the children who are caught between losing their father, but also that he happens to be a deranged overlord akin to Thanos.
The twists of the plot are necessary reveals with weight behind the drive for each character instead of the usual contrived and nonsensical shocker that superhero comics are particularly guilty of lately. It’s really nice to see a comic that sets up such a grand scale of story, taking place in the great expanse of outer space, and yet they humble it with problems that are timeless and common, if not unspoken.
I’m way too excited for the next installment of this series, whenever it’s meant to come out, but in the meantime, I have no qualms in rereading this awesome tale. Did I mention there’s dinosaur steeds? Sorry, I should have sooner.
TL;DR: There are dinosaur steeds.
-Dani