We don’t really do comic book reviews, as part and parcel of our usual mayhem, but more and more indy creators have been crossing our paths lately so we figured why the hell not? If you’re a comic creator looking for a review, feel free to email us. We make a simple deal with all authors. We will never post a bad review. If we don’t like it we’ll tell you, but that’s it. No one here at World News Center is into causing new artists harm or making them look foolish. Especially when those people tend to come back and become J.K. Rowling or someone like that.
We’re going to start today with a new release by Isle Squared Comics and Cruel Productions called Empress. Short version for the ADHD impaired among you? It’s very good.
I’m not a fan of most modern noir comics. Sixty plus years of Raymond Chandler and smoky rooms have pretty much been played out. Worse still a) the authors couldn’t spell Raymond Chandler if you spotted them the alphabet and b) the modern smoky room is more ganja than Lucky Strikes.
So you can imagine my joy as I wandered into the world of Empress and found something new and exciting. Cleverly written by Chuck Amadori, the story, minus spoilers, revolves around a missing actress named Zia as talkies are taking over modern cinema. The studio hires a private detective, Niles Lance, to find her. His part of the story is firmly set in the noir tradition. Zia’s, however, is anything but.
Marcelo Salaza’s art, and Matheus Bronca’s colors, paint a washed out world where you can smell the day old bourbon and feel the greed. In an interesting, and enticing, twist, the sepia toned flashbacks are more detailed than the modern, full colored, world the characters inhabit. It makes the memories sharp, and painful, while the modern world is slightly unfocused, not quite filled in.
Those tones fit perfectly with the story.
More importantly, as they slowly reveal what has happened, and is happening, to Zia, they reinforce the fact that her world may not be the world the rest of us think we know.
Over the first two issues we are introduced to the demons who haunt the women of Zia’s family. They have caused great damage over the years, or so it seems. While they certainly appear demonic the author leaves a lot of wiggle room in the imagination of his readers as to their true intentions.
I’m not sure how this will all play out but I really want to know, and I’m sure you will too once you pick up your copy of Empress.
Purchase Empress on Comixology (All Digital Comics)
Purchase Empress on IndyPlanet (Digital and Print-On-Demand)
Meet Brian Barr, owner of Cruel Productions.
Meet Chuck Amadori, owner of Island Squared.
Review by Bill McCormick.