Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Who's Who: Emerald Empress

Emerald Empress
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Sarya
Super-Power(s): Control over the Eye of Ekron, which fires blasts of emerald energy and is nearly indestructible.
Planet of Origin: Vengar or Venegar
Relationship to Legion: Villain; member of the original Fatal Five

Legion Log
The Emerald Empress was the most wanted female criminal in the history of the universe. For several years she searched her home planet of Vengar for the ruins of the super-scientific but long-dead Ekron civilization, eventually finding the mysterious Eye of Ekron. Using this nearly unlimited power source, Sarya took the name The Emerald Empress and then took control of Vengar. However, all of its inhabitants rose up in rebellion against her tyranny. Faced with an entire world to battle, she chose to retreat instead. She became infamous for piracy and murder, with her eventual goal to rule over a planet of her own.

When the Sun-Eater threatened the galaxy, the Legion desperately recruited five of the universe's most powerful villains to help them defeat the menace. The Emerald Empress was found by Superboy on the primitive planet Craggok, where she was about to be burned at the stake. The Eye had been defeated by a rare mineral that turned out to be Green Kryptonite. The Emerald Empress agreed to the Legion's offer to help, partly because of her infatuation with Superboy.

After the Fatal Five helped save the universe, they decided to stay together as a force for Evil. However, Validus fought against Tharok's attempted mental control. His mental lightning combined with the Persuader's atomic axe somehow sent all five of them into another dimension.

Eventually the Fatal Five returned on Shadow Lass' home planet of Talok VIII. From there they came to Earth and attempted to overpower it. The Fatal Five fought the Legion again and victory appeared to be in their grasp. However, before the Fatal Five could kill any of the Legionnaires, the United Planets' defense forces arrived, forcing them to retreat.

After that, the Fatal Five appeared when law-abiding citizens (or the Legion) least expected it.

The strong personalities of each of its members kept the Fatal Five constantly arguing amongst themselves and jockeying for advantage in the group. Tharok was their leader, due to his computer brain, but the Emerald Empress would often chafe under his rule and go off on her own, ostensibly to build up an army to take over Vengar.

The Fatal Five eventually disbanded after Tharok died and Validus disappeared. After working with the Dark Circle on an attempted conquest of Webers' World, the Emerald Empress decided that she actually missed the companionship of murder and conquest. She decided to re-form the Fatal Five with the Persuader and three new members and her as its undisputed leader. This new group was in the midst of planning their first big job when the Legion accidentally came upon their hideout. This led to another battle, where the new Fatal Five was defeated as handily as its previous incarnation had been.

Later still, after the Emerald Empress was broken out of prison, she began investigated the secret of immortality (whether to conquer it or to defeat it was never made clear). She eventually begged for help from Sensor Girl, who agreed to "hide" the Empress from the Eye of Ekron's "all-knowing" senses. When the Eye disappeared, breaking its ties to her, the Emerald Empress immediately withered away to her real age and died.

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, several things about the Emerald Eye of Ekron came to light in the 20th, 21st and 31st Centuries. According to these revelations, the great god, Ekron, who millennia ago wielded near limitless power, was brought down by the Guardians of the Universe and its power was dispersed. Ekron's priests managed to preserve its power in a pair of Emerald Eyes. Later, Ekron's own giant skull was used as a powerful space ship for the Green Lantern of Vengar (or Venegar). This may mean that the Eyes' power is related to that of the Green Lantern Corps, but this has not been substantiated.

In the late 20th century, the Eye of Ekron was rediscovered on Earth by an alien archaeological expedition. En route back to the aliens' planet, it killed the entire crew, perhaps accidentally, and it was found by L.E.G.I.O.N. member Garryn Bek. He was selected to be its new host, or "beholder." The Eye soon also developed an affection for Bek's wife, Marij'n, and allowed both of them to channel its power. After taxing its energy to the limit in battle against the Computer Tyrants, the Eye vanished and the residual power in Garryn Bek was soon exhausted.

The Eye (or one of them) next appeared in the possession of the alien bounty hunter Lobo who had stolen it from the Emerald Head of Ekron, after the Head's GL pilot had perished. The Emerald Head found Lobo and the Eye after the heroine Starfire assumed control of the latter. Lobo destroyed the Head. At some point after this, the Eye was enshrined again on Venegar, which may have been Ekron's homeworld.

After the so-called Five-Year Gap, billionaire Leland McCauley formed a new Fatal Five, complete with an Emerald Empress called Ingria Olav that he'd selected and provided with the Eye. She proved unskilled and cowardly however, and was killed by a second Eye controlled by Cera Kesh, a Legion reject "turned" by the Eye's power.

After the Reboot, the Legion encountered the Eye of Ekron before there ever was an Emerald Empress. The entity was said to have reemerged in the 28th Century where it was the subject of a fierce civil war on the planet Venegar. By the 29th Century, the Eye had been enslaved by Mordru the magician, who regarded it as an object of power rather than a sentient being. After his defeat, the Eye found its way into the possession of the centuries-old Scavenger. It was freed in the late 30th Century during a clash with the Legion and bonded with the Legionnaire Shrinking Violet for an extended period of time, during which she briefly took the name Emerald Violet and almost married Mordru. After she freed herself, it drifted until it met the Empress, a member of the new Fatal Five.

After the Threeboot, the Emerald Empress and the Fatal Five are used by the Lord of Time to get an artifact back in the 21st Century where they face Supergirl, Batman and Blue Beetle. It is unclear whether this version of the team is actually from the Threeboot timeline.

After Infinite Crisis, the Emerald Empress' original history is more or less restored. It is revealed that the Eye of Ekron was interred on Orando after Sarya's death. There, a young woman named Falyce discovered a temple devoted to the Eye when her tears unlocked its power and became the new Emerald Empress. She fought Lightning Lass, Sensor Girl and Shrinking Violet there, the encounter resulting in the Eye's temporary destruction and a sliver of its power remaining in Violet. When the Fatal Five recently attacked the Legion, an Emerald Empress sporting a new look was among their number; it is unclear whether this is Falyce, a resurrected Sarya, or another woman possessed by the power of the Eye.

The Emerald Empress has appeared in animation, in both Justice League Unlimited and the Legion of Super-Heroes animated series. She was voiced by Joanne Whalley in the former, and Jennifer Hale in the latter. She also had a cameo in the New Frontier animated film.

Defining Villainous Moment: 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #26
The Emerald Empress murders Legion applicant Mentalla in cold-blood

Important Emerald Empress Stories:

Adventure Comics (v1) #352-353
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6, 
The Life and Death of Ferro Lad TPB, 
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 3)
The debut of the Emerald Empress! 

Adventure Comics (v1) #365-366
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 3)
The Emerald Empress helps take over Talok VIII, Earth, and nearly the whole UP!!

Adventure Comics (v1) #378
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 4)
Karate Kid takes on the entire Fatal Five single-handedly on a would-be suicide mission

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #198
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
The Emerald Empress attacks Superboy in the past to try to destroy the Legion in the future

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #215
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
The Emerald Empress is looking for a few bad men

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #219
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12
and Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 5)
The Emerald Empress wants a planet to rule 
while the Fatal Five in in-between conquest attempts

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #231
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 13)
The Emerald Empress keeps three Legionnaires busy as a sun goes nova

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #246-247
The Fatal Five hides out on a planet trying to "go straight." 

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #269-271
The Emerald Empress captures Mon-El and Shadow Lass

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #300
 (reprinted in 1,050 Years of the Future TPB
and The Curse )
An alternate-universe Fatal Five is just as dangerous as "our" version

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #302-303
The Emerald Empress works with the Dark Circle to take over Weber's World

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #21
The Emerald Empress decides to form a new Fatal Five

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #24
The Emerald Empress interviews applicants to form a new Fatal Five

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #25-26
The debut of the new Fatal Five, with Emerald Empress as its undisputed leader

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #57-58

The final showdown between the Empress and Queen Projectra

L.E.G.I.O.N. #11-12
Garyn Bek finds the Emerald Eye of Ekron

L.E.G.I.O.N. #21-22
The Beks use the Eye until it leaves; its power has left Garyn by issue 26

Legionnaires #2
The Eye takes an interest in Cera Kesh

Legionnaires #3-4
Cera Kesh is transformed into the Emerald Empress and brawls with the SW6 Legion

Legionnaires #5-6
Cera Kesh kills the Emerald Empress pretender and joins the Fatal Five in her place

Legionnaires #33
After the Reboot, Kinetix takes an interest in the Eye of Ekron

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #78
The Empress makes her debut in the Reboot continuity

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #83-85 and Legionnaires #40-41
Shrinking Violet bonds with the Eye of Ekron; events will go out of control and half the Legion
will end up stranded in the past

Legionnaires #48-50
Mordru almost marries Violet as she and the Eye fall under his sway

Sovereign 7 Plus the Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Saturn Girl temporarily falls under the Eye's sway

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #120-121
The Empress bonds with the Eye of Ekron

52 #20
The Head of Ekron is attracted to Starfire's use of the Eye

52 #28
Lobo fights the Head of Ekron

The Brave and the Bold v3 #3-6

Emerald Empress and the Fatal Five are used by the Lord of Time after the Threeboot

Booster Gold (v2) #32

Booster Gold fights the Emerald Empress in the future

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) Annual #1
A new Emerald Empress rises on Orando

Legion of Super-Heroes (v7) #19-22
The Empress' new look, as she and the Fatal Five deal devastating blows to the Legion

Justice League Unlimited and Legion of Super-Heroes animated series
The two main animated versions of the Emerald Empress


  1. The Fatal Five do exist in the threeboot, as seen in the Waid/Perez Brave and Bold series.

  2. It is not clear to me, because of the time travel shenanigans, that this was a Threeboot version of the Fatal Five. No reinvented look, etc. they look like they were pulled out of the original timeline. Even though the Threeboot Legion does show up next.

    I'll reread those issues before the next Fatal Five entry and make amend this text then based on that reading.

  3. Wow, I had completely forgotten about the 52 Weeks title run. I had no idea that the Emerald Empress was a storyline in two issues...great catch and info! Were there any other Legion villains or Legion storylines in the 52 Weeks title? As always, thank you for the time and dedication to keeping the history of The Legion Of Super-Heroes relevant for past, current and future fans of the greatest comic genre ever!

  4. When you think about it , Jim Shooter really brought a lot of great characters and history to the Legion .

    The Fatal Five , Nemesis Kid were all incredibly powerful adversary's add in Karate Kid , Princess Projector and Ferro Lad and that's a lot of history and storylines !

    And this was only a couple of issues he wrote at age thirteen !

  5. "The Emerald Eye is weakened by the presence of Green Kryptonite"

    Yet she used a large piece of Green K against Kara in LOSH 303, and it had no effect on the Eye.

    I guess an editor at DC was asleep at the wheel, or just decided that making Green K her weakness was a terrible idea with someone like Jan on the team, and just opted to ignore the weakness.

    1. I always expected something to be made of the Eye's weakness to Kryptonite. I mean, that's a bit too convenient to be a coincidence, right?