Mark Millar is back at Marvel's Icon line for his latest creator-owned series: A team-up with superstar artist Stuart Immonen titled "Empress," as announced Thursday by The Hollywood Reporter. It's planned to run for three six-issue arcs, and is slated to debut in April 2016.
Here's a description of the series, from THR: "The story centers on the wife of a galactic dictator who makes the decision to take her three kids and leave her evil husband. With the aid of a bodyguard, she tries to take her brood -- Aine, her 15-year-old daughter who wants to be with her father; Adam, her gentle soul of a 10-year-old son who she knows would not survive the trials ahead to be an elite ruler; and Puck, her 18-month-old -- to her home world. Oh, and as an added twist, the planet of which she is queen is Earth... 65 million years ago."
"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 told THR. "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."
Millar and Immonen have teamed together before, on a few issues of "Action Comics" at DC Comics in 1999. "Empress" marks a return to Icon for Millar, as his recent comics work have all been published by Image Comics. Icon was the home to some of his biggest creator-owned hits, including "Kick-Ass," "The Secret Service," "Superior" and "Nemesis."
Immonen is currently the artist on Marvel's "Star Wars" ongoing series, and there's no word yet on how or if "Empress" may affect that schedule. The artist indicated that he's looking to "European- and Asian-influenced ligne claire approach" on the series. Wade Von Grawbadger will ink "Empress" and Dave McCaig is on board as colorist.
Though Millar-writer books have a lengthy track record of being optioned by Hollywood studios -- often before the first issue is released -- there's no indication yet if "Empress" is heading towards the fate, though history has shown it'd be unwise to bet against it.