Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday Comics: Requiem

Here's the next installment of  Jim Starlin's Metamorphosis Odyssey. The earlier posts in the series can be found here.

"Requiem (Metamorphosis Odyssey Chapter X)"
Epic Illustrated #7 (August 1981) Story & Art by James Starlin

Synopsis: Aknaton shows the others the history of the Zygoteans. Their world was once a veritable Utopia, but it fell into the hands of venal and incompetent rulers. First, they despoiled the planet.

Unfortunately, few of the people seemed to notice. They were consumed by their distractions and amusements and complicit in the despoiling of their world:

The people eventually realized what had happened. The gap between have and havenot was large, but the cries for social justice went unanswered. Instead, it was determined some would escape their dying world. Thanks to the influence of the military and religion, the many were inspired to toil to launch a few into the stars.

Zygotea died, but the Zygoteans lived on. They repeated the same process on every world they came to. The more monstrous they became, the more they came to resent those that reminded them of their origins. The Osirosans, the progenitors of all humanoid races, were the greatest reminder of how far they had fallen and so had to die. But the Osirosans conceived of the Infinity Horn--and a way to end the Zygotean menace.

The others are silent as Aknaton finishes his tale. Elsewhere, though, their enemies mark them all for termination:

Things to Notice:
  • The Zygoteans originally look just like humans.
We see the Zygoteans at last and...they look just like us, at least at first. Starlin is obviously offering a critique on and perhaps a warning to our own society. Interestingly,the Zygoteans wind up with long noses and bald heads, looking like a slightly more monstrous version of the Osirosans--or at least Aknaton. Maybe this is because they're bookends: the Osirosans started humanoid life and the Zygoteans were going to be the end of it.

Or perhaps, they are two sides of the same coin, given Aknaton's intentions.


Francis Lee said...

A very apt warning.

garrisonjames said...

Starlin was experimenting with the art he did for this series, trying some new things out. I remember these comics being very different from his earlier style, in a good way. There was a lot of that sort of experimentation going on back then. Epic definitely helped spur some of it. I really miss the old Epic zine...

Trey said...

@Fran - Indeed.

@Jim - It had a lot of good stuff, for sure.