The Empyre event on a whole has not been grabbing my attention. For me, I believe the problem is I have little knowledge or attachment to the villains of the story. Which are The Cotati, with Quoi as the Celestial Messiah and his father an Elder Cotati trapped in a sexy Swordsman flesh sack? Notable fact: Cotati Elder Swordsman was able to practice his swordsmanship and bed the mighty Mantis to make their son Quoi.
The Swordsman I remember is from early Avengers comics, but I was not reading when this whole invasion of the body snatchers happened. So this version of the Swordsman is completely new to me. This issue helped me immensely catch up on all that I have missed.
If you are in the same boat I am, buy this comic. Alex Paknadel and Alex Lins weave a brilliant forward progression flashback (yes you’re reading that right) a forward progression flashback. That is when you are able to devise the story in such a way that the flashback doesn’t slow the forward progression of a story.
The Cotati have Swordsman put his son Quoi through a test to prove to his people that he will stay the course. It is essentially a Native American peyote ceremony. Drink this magic juice that gives you visions and hopefully you are able to work through those visions without killing yourself. If you live you are a man…yada yada.
Many children that have grown up in a broken home can attest, you may grow up with some mommy or daddy issues. Well, Quoi’s father is a Buffalo Bill (Silence of the Lambs) wannabe mixed with the juice from a Jack Lalanne power juicer and his mother can read minds across the vastness of space. So he is properly screwed in the head.
Freud once theorized, “Small boys select their mother as their primary object of desire. They subconsciously wish to usurp their fathers and become their mothers’ lover” I think he would have a field day dissecting Quoi’s mind.
With Quoi under the influence of this drug/potion, Mantis finds it quite easy to communicate with her son. He spends most of this issue believing she is just his imagination. Thinking he just needs to dominate her and then he can go free and be on his way to rule his kingdom, but she has other ideas about how he should be spending his time.
Mantis spends most of this issue trying to explain to her son the history of her relationship with the Swordsman, and how he is a very different man than who she first fell in love with and Quoi shouldn’t be trying to model himself after his crazy ass father.
While Quoi spends most of this issue trying to kill his mother over and over again to help purge the human tendencies out of his personality.
Whether or not this is an issue-based loosely on Oedipus complex, Jocasta complex, or just plain old matricide I will let the road scholars decide.
This was the most enjoyable, needed, and the best-written issue of Empyre thus far for me. I feel a connection to the villains now and a deeper connection between Mantis and Quoi. The art served the story very well with detailed backgrounds and great panel to panel progression. The sad personal stories Mantis told her son I found heartwarming and heartbreaking. Especially the flashback scene to Quoi’s childhood. I for one will be keeping my eye out for any comics written by Alex Paknadel he has some kind of Je ne sais Quoi about him I like.