Writer: John Zuur Platten, Artist: Atilio Rojo, Letterer: Troy Peteri, Editor: Elena Salcedo.
From the jump, I was intrigued by the cover of St. Mercy, the new comic book series from John Zuur Platten and Atilio Rojo. What could possibly tie together a god of the underworld, an ancient Inca girl, and a Peruvian American teen in the Wild West? Well, brace yourself, because this is one engrossing story that is undoubtedly a whirlwind of adventure.
Platten presents an unexpected pair of heroines in this four-part comic book series from Top Cow, an Image Comics imprint. First, we meet Toctollissica, a pre-teen Incan girl from 500 years ago, who has been chosen by the Inca shaman as a child sacrifice for Supay, ruler of the underworld. This may read as a brutal and boorish ancient religious ritual, but Platten presents this story from Toctollissica's view. In her time, being chosen for the capacocha (a sacrificial rite involving children) is a great honor, and one that is not taken lightly. Only a select group of children are chosen in order to appease Supay and ensure a fruitful bounty for the Incas in the next year. Platten explains that this part of the story is inspired by the true 1999 discovery of a perfectly mummified Inca child, one who was sacrificed in a capacocha of the time.
Like I said before, there are two heroines in this story. In 1871 we meet Mercy, a God-fearing young woman who considers herself a vessel for God's glory. Mercy is presented as such a humble and meek servant of the Lord, that it is hard to imagine she will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future of this story. Mercy's story unfolds when a dangerous stranger enters her life, who unknowingly reveals her connection to an ancient Inca of Toctollissica's time. The harm the stranger causes will most assuredly have a ripple effect that may go beyond the destruction of Mercy's small western town. There are other stories woven into the spine of the lives of Toctollissica and Mercy, but you'll have to pick up a copy of this issue to find out all about them.
St. Mercy #1 proves itself to be a captivating premiere for Platten and Rojo, who were careful in honoring Inca history while simultaneously interjecting tasteful creative freedoms in the telling of this tale. Atilio Rojo's art is very beautiful and easy on the eyes. There is detail where it is necessary, such as in presenting the finer parts of the Inca culture, and in the action spots during a cowboy ambush. There is a really nice balance here of the chaotic and demure, and I look forward to seeing how Rojo brings the rest of Toctollissica's and Mercy's story to life.
St. Mercy #1 is published by Top Cow, an imprint of Image Comics. It is available for purchase August 25, 2021 at your Local Comics Shop and at comixology.com