Golgoth’s ministers are becoming restless as their internal political squabbles begin to mount with no clear defined enemy to conquer. How will Golgoth deal with his ministers and what secrets is he keeping from them? Is it good?
Empire Uprising #3 (IDW Publishing)
Mark Waid turns his attention to Tumbril, the Minister of Discipline. Waid drives the story forward as Tumbril begins to question his place within Golgoth’s empire and the secrets Golgoth keeps. He meets with a number of the other ministers including Lucullan, Rogent, and Dess in order to obtain information.
The meetings depict Tumbril’s one-dimensional political nature. He achieves his objectives by brute force and lacks any subtlety. Waid notes the ineffectiveness of his approach and torture in general during a truly scary scene. Tumbril pokes and prods his detainee until he acquires the information he already believes is true. He tortures to reinforce his already held belief instead of actually trying to ascertain any new information. It is a great criticism on recent U.S. torture policies.
Waid layers the story. He might put a primary focus on Tumbril and the internal political squabbles of the ministers, but he also touches on Golgoth’s secret projects. The one, Project Chimera, creates a ton of intrigue. Waid only gives you bits and pieces when you want to know everything about it. Who are the creatures? What is their purpose? What is Golgoth plotting? These are just a few of the questions that popped into my head.
There is also a large focus on relationships, whether it’s between ministers or between Golgoth and his defeated foe Endymion. What comes of these relationships is an understanding that Golgoth’s Empire and those who work in it are “caged psychopaths,” for example, Lucullan’s obsession with severed heads, Golgoth’s punishment of his own troops, and Grieze and Xanna’s ability to have intimacy only while a tortured man hangs in the ceiling above them. The relationships continue to highlight their sadistic and disgusting nature.
Waid’s dialogue makes the relationships work. The opening scene between Tumbril and Rogent is excellent. Tumbril comes charging into Rogent’s office attempting to bully his staff into giving him information. However, Rogent subtly puts an end to it using deft dialogue, even hinting that one of Golgoth’s secret projects may put an end to Tumbril’s position as Minister of Discipline. Switch to Tumbril’s chat with Lucullan and you see a different tone. The tone Waid uses is one of companionship, almost brotherly in nature. Waid continues to capture the tone and relationship of the individuals through his dialogue and it lets you in on who these people are and what motivates them. There was, oddly, one minor grammar error where a preposition was missing.
Barry Kitson’s artwork is really good. He uses a multitude of camera angles to depict conversations and action sequences. The panel where Rogent threatens Tumbril is excellent. He places Rogent in the background with only half of Tumbril’s face in the foreground with the focus on his eye. You can almost feel it get larger as you read Rogent’s subtle jab.
The action sequences are dramatic, especially during Lucullan’s viewing of the Empire’s past glories. Kitson is able to expertly capture motion whether it is Golgoth’s teleportation or a super-speedster’s lightning quick speed. He uses small black dots with short quick horizontal lines to depict teleportation while using long elongated horizontal lines with larger horizontal lightning streaks to depict the speedster.
Is It Good?
Empire Uprising #3 focuses on the characterization and relationships of Golgoth and his ministers. Waid barely touches on the past events regarding Kianda, instead opening up a second mystery with Project Chimera. Waid’s dialogue was effective at capturing the sadistic nature of the ministers and their tense relationships with each other. Kitson’s artwork did a good job of using multiple camera angles to depict each scene. He was also able to really capture the emotional reactions of Tumbril. Empire Uprising #3 deepens the characters and reveals the underlying evil of the Empire.