Mark Millar has announced Empress (via Heat Vision), a new sci-fi limited series through Marvel's Icon imprint, which he will create with Stuart Immonen.
Millar describes the book as "a big, fun, bombastic space opera,” and plans to launch the series in April. Neither Millar nor Immonen are strangers to the space opera genre, with Millar having recently penned the mini-series Starlight, and Immonen fresh off a run on Marvel's Star Wars. The pair previously produced several issues of Action Comics almost 15 years ago.
The story centers on the wife of an evil emperor who takes her three children and a bodyguard and leaves her dictatorial husband to return to her homeworld. But here's the twist - her husband is the emperor of Earth, 65 million years in the past.
“She was young and impressionable when she married this dictator, just twenty years old, but now she’s in her mid-thirties and realizes she has to get out of there," Millar says of Emporia, his heroine. "What seemed glamorous at 20 suddenly feels terrifying and for both her own sake and the sake of her kids she knows she has to leave. The trouble is, her husband is the most feared tyrant in the universe. How do you leave him and where do you go?"
“I think all the best science fiction has a very human element at the heart of it and a mother wanting to leave a dangerous relationship is very easy for readers to relate to," Millar continued. "I’m not really interested in high-concept ideas as much as human emotions being the driving force of a story. Even Star Wars was really just a lonely kid who wondered who his real father was.”
For his part, Immonen is looking to switch things up for Empress.
“I’ve been wanting to try out a drawing style that was more open than my recent body of work for some time, but had not found the right project,” Immonen explained. “As it happens, Mark’s blend of high adventure and space fantasy seemed like the perfect venue in which to explore a European-and Asian-influenced ligne claire approach, with influences ranging from Jean-Claude Mézières to Tetsuro Ueyama."
Immonen's long-time inker Wade Von Grawbadger is on board for Empress, joined by colorist Dave McCaig.
Empress is expected to run for three arcs of six issues each, beginning in April 2016.