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Comic Book / Empress

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Mark Millar writes a Space Opera.

65 million years ago (A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, you could say), Queen Emporia escapes her throneworld with her bodyguard Dane, daughter Aine, and sons Adam and Puck. Tired of her husband Morax's cruelty, Emporia aims to take shelter with her sister. However, the Hair Trigger Tempered Morax is insulted by his wife's disobedience and puts out a bounty on her and Dane.

Becoming targets, Emporia and company must travel world-to-world, seek aid from willing and trustworthy allies and avoid the terrors the galaxy has to offer in order to reach safe grounds.


This series provides examples of:

  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: Emporia and Morax's children, Adam, Aine and Puck.
  • Abusive Parents: Morax sees his children only as his legacy, not as people he loves or cares about. In fact, he plans on executing them once he captures them and Emporia, simply for reminding him of her.
  • Action Mom: Emporia is going full Mama Bear throughout the entire series.
  • Action Girl: Aine, following in her mother's footsteps.
  • Bad Boss: Morax kills one of his commanders for failing to capture Emporia and her children.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Aine won't let anybody harm her brothers on her watch.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Emporia and Dane eventually start sleeping together.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Aine to an extent. She butts heads with her mother over her decision to flee from Morax, ignoring how much of a psychopath her father is, and instead thinks that Emporia's true reasons for leaving is because of her loving Dane. This eventually drives her to call Morax and let him know of their current location, which nearly gets her and her family killed.
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  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Quez are all about money. They're so greedy they let people ruin their bodies. Spoken verbatim.
  • Child Prodigy: Adam is so efficient with machinery that it's stated multiple times that for him, a junkyard is a workshop.
  • Control Freak: King Morax is obsessed with keeping the rest of the galaxy cowed by his rule.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Emporia vs Morax. Emporia wins.
  • Daddy's Girl: In Aine's mind, her father can do no wrong, justifying everything he does, and she doesn't understand why her mother would take them away from him, making her resentful at least until Daddy Dearest shows his true colors, backhanding her and stating in no uncertain terms that she and her brothers will not be spared.
  • Evil Overlord: King Morax controls much of the galaxy and rules it with an iron fist.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Staying at her sister Valeria's place, Emporia notes how both her and her brother-in-law Lars seem different than when she saw them last. This is because their bodies were being controlled by Quez, who were hired to take care of their bodies while Lars and Valeria were on a telepathic vacation.
    • Emporia spends some time explaining how she was a different person in her past. Everyone assumed that she was speaking about how she used to be a waitress. But then the book reminds the audience that when Emporia first met Morax, she explicitly said she wasn't a waitress and was only there to fill in for her friend's shift.
  • Human Mom, Non-Human Dad: Aine, Adam and Puck's mother is a human while there father is a large, red-skinned alien. Aine takes after her father in appearance while her brothers more resemble their mother.
    • Subverted in that the opening narration explicitly states that the story takes place long before humans existed, meaning that any "human" character is actually a Human Alien.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Emporia turns out to be far more powerful than Morax and is able to kick his ass in a matter of minutes. Despite this, she goes through with an elaborate escape plan requiring Dane's help all the while acting as if she would face dire consequences at her husband's hand if she was ever caught. Even though it's eventually revealed she could've laid him out anytime she wanted.
    • Possibly Justified, since Emporia indicates that she was ashamed of her career as a cage fighter, and likely wanted to avoid using those skills again unless she had no other alternatives.
      • Another justification could be that while she's pretty much unstoppable in hand-to-hand combat, she likely misses several critical skills she'd need to make good on her getaway even if she did kill Morax, including hacking, wilderness survival, military and ranged weapons training/countermeasures, and ship piloting; she wants to get her children away from the brutality of their father's regime, which may have been impossible if she'd just killed him in their home.
  • Large and in Charge: King Morax is the ruler of the galaxy and towers over all of his subordinates.
  • Make an Example of Them: Morax kills Chief Bozz to demonstrate the consequences of failure.
  • Mama Bear: The reason why she's leaving Morax; she refuses to allow her children to be raised in such a brutal environment.
  • Murderous Thighs: Emporia finishes off Morax by crushing his neck between her thighs.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Emporia easily beats down Morax with no effort, despite being around half his size.
  • Neck Snap: How Emporia kills Morax.
  • Offing the Offspring: Morax intends to have his children put to death once he finds them, as their existence serves as a constant reminder of his wife's disobedience.
  • The Paranoiac: King Morax is a Control Freak who views even the slightest dissidence as a threat to his rule, to the point that anything less than outright killing any dissenters is seen as "encouraging their outspoken behavior". His primary motivation for hunting down Emporia is that he fears that the rest of the galaxy will lose their fear of him if he cannot even control his wife.
  • Space Opera: Very explicitly so.
  • Technopath: Tor can control any type of machinery that was in commission during the One Day War or before. Any ship that was made more recently escapes his command. Good thing the Quez are such skinflints.
  • You Have Failed Me: Morax executes Chief Bozz with his bare hands when he fails to capture Emporia and the children.