Review: ‘Empress #5’

Writer: Brian Barr
Artist: Marcelo Salaza

Empress_05In the continuing story of Empress, we look at a jumping-on point for the series in more ways than one. Writer Brian Barr steps on full-time for Chuck Amadori and sets an interesting tone for a series that has already seen several changes.

Issue #5 of Empress is somewhat of an origin story. We last left Zia on her way to conquer the new (to them – this is the 1930s, after all) world. This issue takes us away from the beginnings of the era of motion picture stars and to the origins of the Empress herself.

Brian Barr is handed an unenviable task in fully taking over a new book and taking it in what seems to be a new direction. What’s here is mainly flashback, though, so there’s not very much action to be had. This issue is all about origins and Barr does a masterful job in not establishing the mythos of the series, but in relating to young Eydis in how this all started. The reader is able to see her fears as this legacy is thrust upon her at a young age and Barr is excellent at getting into the head of a young girl whose life will certainly not be what she expected or hoped.

Much has been said about the work of Marcelo Salaza during this series, and he shines here once again. It should absolutely be noted how Salaza has been able to seamlessly shift from the 1930s to ancient times in completely different geographical regions and give those times, eras, and characters a distinct and authentic feel while still being able to relate the story. More kudos should be piled on here for shifting to working with a different writer and still maintaining the feel and tone of the series as if nothing had happened.

A new era has come about for Empress, but Brian Barr and Marcelo Salaza have made the transition not only painless, but exciting. Despite the slow pace of the story, there is excitement to be had in a somewhat different direction and the origins started here. Barr is excellent with his characterization, and Salaza’s great work shows no signs of stumbling whatsoever. Empress #5 earns 4 out of 5 Goblins in the Woods.

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Michael Melchor has covered pop culture in all its forms for several publications and websites, including BackStage Pass magazine, 411Mania.com, and Examiner.com. He's been an avid comics reader since Barry Allen was first put on trial for the death of Professor Zoom. He's also been an avid wrestling fan since Dusty Rhodes beat Harley Race for the NWA World Championship. He now brings his fandom of comics, music, and wrestling to PanelsOnPages.com.

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