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Empire is a comic book by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson about. . . well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A totalitarian Empire has conquered most of the world, led by the power-armored super-scientist Golgoth. The world's greatest superheroes are all dead, and the last bastions of freedom are cut off, outmatched, and being overrun. Nothing can stop Golgoth's drive for total world domination.
Or can it? The Empire, while mighty, is not without its own problems. The bevy of psychopaths that make up the government's elite are constantly scheming to advance their causes over their fellows', and occasionally over their leader. Golgoth himself, meanwhile, has a weakness that his enemies are trying to exploit.
Empire is one of the few comics (one of the fewer not written by Alan Moore) to do Darker and Edgier right. The art is immersive and the story, though grim, is a very competent look into how a world ruled by super-villains would actually work. The first two issues were published in 2000 by Gorilla Comics, a flash-in-the-pan publisher whose only product of any note was Empire. After Gorilla folded, the series was picked up (in 2003) and completed by DC Comics, although the events and characters in it are distinctly separate from the main DCU.
Unrelated to Orson Scott Card's Empire (see Literature).
This comic contains examples of:
- After the End: By the time the comics begin, Golgoth and co. have already conquered most of the world.
- Badass: Golgoth and most of his inner circle.
- Break the Cutie: Endymion's treatment is a very comprehensive breaking. Ambassador Rasmussen also gets this, though a different way.
- The Cape: Endymion. And good God, does he suffer for it.
- Cherry Tapping: When Golgoth's forces surround the last of the Old World armies in Aswan, they have enough airpower to flatten the city in minutes. Instead, they take the time to build a gigantic bridge before sending in only ground forces to finish them off.
- The Chessmaster: Golgoth and Lucullan.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Golgoth's entire inner circle has an incredibly advanced case of it.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Loads. Xanna, Grieze, and Tumbril all do it as a recreational activity.
- Daddy's Girl: Delfi is a combination of this, Psycho Supporter, and Stepford Smiler.
- Depraved Bisexual: Xanna. Emphasis on "depraved."
- The Empire: Obviously.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Or in this case, their wives and daughters. Crucial to Golgoth's backstory and character arc.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Lohkyn expresses horror when he finds out that Delfi (the underage girl he's been giving drugs to and having sex with) murdered her own mother.
- Evil Is Dumb: The entire series is a comprehensive, horrible aversion.
- Evil Overlord: Golgoth, obviously, though he's much more hands-on than most.
- Fate Worse Than Death: If you're lucky, they'll just shoot you.
- Genius Bruiser: This trope IS Golgoth.
- Government Drug Enforcement: Unusually for this trope, it's not applied to the public at large, but rather as a narcotic leash to keep Golgoth's inner circle in line.
- Harmful to Minors: Not to mention everyone else.
- Klingon Promotion: Averted, surprisingly. Golgoth's drive still doesn't allow for this tactic and any such attempts amongst subordinates are ruthlessly stamped on.
- Malaproper: Lucullan, in an often-hilariously failed attempt at Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. Best example:
Lucullan: I failed you, and am cognizant of the causatum. . . the res-- resid-- residuum. . .
- Man in the Machine: Kafra, and after his assassination, his assistant Dess.
- Meaningful Name: Golgoth, Tumbril, the Qaron.
- Out-Gambitted: Kafra has Xanna snared in one of these until Grieze uses a more direct solution. Also, what's going on with the resistance in Greenland.
- Red Shirt: Lt. McOrly, on account of being Too Dumb to Live.
- The Remnant: They're the good guys. What's left of them.
- Super Serum: Eucharist, a highly addictive substance that supercharges the abilities of those who take it. People under it's influence can dodge bullets, and the high is described as "Better Than Sex." The secret of its production is one of the major running subplots.
- Smith Will Suffice: A Crowning Moment of Awesome after Lucullan has been chewing out Golgoth for neglecting his empire.
Golgoth: Is that all?
- Take Over the World: In the backstory, they've already accomplished most of it. They finish the job in the main plot.
- Take a Third Option: How Grieze deals with Kafra's attempt to blackmail Xanna.
- Psycho Serum: What Eucharist withdrawl does.
- Wham! Episode: About the final third of the series is ascending Wham Episodes.
- You Have Failed Me: The core of Golgoth's employee-relations and human resources policies.