|The Emerald Empress|
Adventure Comics #352 (January 1967)
- Cera Kesh
- Unknown, called simply 'Empress'
|Place of origin||
Legion of Super-Villains
Controlled the Emerald Eye of Ekron
None, trained killer
The Emerald Empress is a fictional character, a DC Comics supervillain that is an enemy of the Legion of Super-Heroes and a member of the Fatal Five. She was created by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan, and first appeared in Adventure Comics #352 (January 1967). The character was ranked 38th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
Fictional character biography
Sarya of the planet Venegar (referred to simply as 'the Empress') was recruited by Superboy and the Legion to combat the menace of the Sun-Eater. Once the Sun-Eater was defeated, she joined the Fatal Five with Tharok, Validus, Mano and the Persuader.
The Empress had no innate super-powers; rather, she employed a powerful mystical item called the Emerald Eye of Ekron, an approximately 2' diameter sphere that obeyed her mental commands. The Eye could fly and emit blasts of energy, and allowed the Empress to fly as well as survive in space. The Eye's residual energy also gave her, on at least one occasion, super-strength. It caused her to grow to gigantic stature during one battle. The Eye could also reform itself if shattered.
The Eye is an item of immense power; it defeated Superboy directly more than once, though it seemed to have more trouble with Mon-El, perhaps because he was immune to Green Kryptonite and its blasts may have contained elements of it. Despite this, for unknown reasons, the Eye does not like green Kryptonite, and being exposed to a chunk of it has made the eye flee on more than one occasion (leaving the Empress behind temporarily).
The Emerald Empress died when Legionnaire Sensor Girl used her powers of illusion to mask Sarya's presence from the Eye of Ekron. As the Empress' body quickly withered and decomposed, she expressed relief to be free from the Eye's control, indicating both that their symbiotic relationship was unwilling and that the Empress was far older than she appeared.
Cera Kesh & Ingria Olav
Cera Kesh first appeared as the Emerald Empress in Legionnaires #2. Slightly overweight and with poor skin, she was also telekinetic and sought to join the Legion through their open audition programme. Mocked by Legion member Inferno (for whom she harboured an infatuation) for her appearance, Kesh fled in embarrassment and anger, and was found by the Emerald Eye. Transformed by it into an idealised version of herself, and with all the powers of the Eye boosting her own, she succumbed to the Eye's influence and turned to a life of crime with the other members of the Fatal Five. At the same time, Leland McCauley found a second Emerald Eye with which he hoped to turn Ingria Olav into the new Emerald Empress. Instead, Cera killed her and gained the power of both Eyes. She was not seen again, as the timeline she was a part of ended shortly thereafter.
Garryn Bek & L.E.G.I.O.N.
After the Zero Hour event and the subsequent reboot of the Legion's continuity, a character simply called the 'Empress' appeared, unconnected to the Eye of Ekron (which appeared separately later). Although she had no powers, she was as dangerous as the rest of the Fatal Five, being a sadistic murderess who had taught herself how to kill any known lifeform.
The Eye itself was in possession of the super villain Scavenger, but was discovered by Shrinking Violet, who fell under its control. With the Legion's help, Violet managed to break the Eye's hold on her, but not before she had sent half the team into the past and attracted the attention of the ancient sorcerer Mordru.
Eventually, the Eye came into the hands of the Empress. The Empress seemed to have broken the Eye's will, leaving her unequivocally in control.
This version of the Legion is still in continuity, but now established as taking place on a parallel world. Which means that this Eye is not the same as the one the original Legion encountered, but the Eye of an alternate universe.
Lobo, unable or unwilling to use its powers, kept the item in a small chest under his supervision. When Starfire used the Eye to save the population of sector 3500 from a swarm of strange creatures, Lobo revealed that he knew something more on the origins of the Eye. An Emerald Head of Ekron also existed and was searching for its lost eyeball. Ekron is apparently a member of the Green Lantern Corps, but has been driven insane by the destruction of the space sector under his protection by Lady Styx. The Emerald Eye itself is later revealed as a precursor of the technology that later led to the power ring worn by all Green Lanterns, with less functionality but nevertheless a formidable weapon.
Final Crisis and beyond
In Legion of Super-Heroes Annual 1 (2011), the Eye finds a new Empress on the planet of Orando. This young girl fights Shrinking Violet, Light Lass, Sun Boy, Sensor Girl and Gates of the Legion before being defeated by Violet. The girl was released from the Eye's control, but the Eye itself managed to flee the planet.
Emerald Eye of Ekron
According to the year-spanning maxiseries "52" (2006), the Eye was once a real eye for the cosmic entity called "Ekron". But, somehow Emerald Empress got the Eye and got it to work for her. In the 52 weekly series, Lobo kept the eye in a box while watching it. Soon Starfire used it to stop villains from destroying an entire space sector. Lobo revealed that the eye was part of the Emerald Head of Ekron, that was a member of the Green Lantern Corps, until driven insane by his space sector being destroyed. The eye was an early prototype for the power rings.
However, when the Eye was reintroduced in the Legion Annual of 2011, none of this was acknowledged. Rather, Ekron was referred to as a world where the Eye had once been worshipped as a god.
The eye can emit energy blasts and give the user the ability to survive in the vacuum of space, super strength and flight.
In other media
- The Cara Kesh version of the Emerald Empress has appeared in the episode "Far From Home" of Justice League Unlimited with the other Fatal Five against the Legion. She was voiced by Joanne Whalley. In that episode the eye was more powerful than a Green Lantern Power Ring.
- The Sarya version of the Emerald Empress is the leader of the Fatal Five in the Legion of Super Heroes animated series, voiced by Jennifer Hale in season 1 and Tara Strong from then on. Some clues to this version's relationship with the Emerald Eye can be observed in the first season finale "Sundown": She had been separated from it for some time during her imprisonment, and she hugged it when it was returned to her. She suffered no physical effects when Shrinking Violet damaged its circuitry from within, once the Fatal Five betrayed the Legion, or when Matter-Eater Lad took a bite out of it. Like in the comics, the eye is the source of her powers. In fact, in the season 2 premiere, Matter-Eater Lad took a bite out of the Emerald Eye, leaving her powerless (apparently causing the Fatal Five to dis-band.) However, biting into it damaged Matter-Eater Lad's mind, leaving him in a near-comatose state.
- Though not appearing in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the Emerald Empress is referenced in "The Super-Batman of Planet X". Batman mentions to Green Arrow that the space pirates they are chasing are stealing the Emerald Eye of Ekron.
- The Emerald Empress made a cameo appearance with the other villains in Justice League: The New Frontier.
- Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 30. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0.
- Wallace, Dan (2008), "Fatal Five", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 119, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Legion of Super-Heroes (3rd series) #58
- Justice League Unlimited episode "Far From Home"
- Emerald Eye at Cosmic Teams Obscure Characters Index.