What happened at Toctollissica’s sacrifice that started a curse that now finds a home in Mercy? Find out in St. Mercy #3, from Top Cow/Image Comics!

ST. MERCY #3

Writer: John Zuur Platten
Artist: Atilio Rojo
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Editor: Elena Salcedo
Publisher: Top Cow/Image
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 20, 2021

Previously in St. Mercy: Alex steals Toctollissica’s mask from Mercy and rides off. The bandits who robbed the Army wagon head for town. Neto meets the Sheriff and tells him about Alex. When he arrives home, Mercy has moved Toctollissica’s gold. In town, Alex meets the rest of the gang. They take him upstairs and get him a doctor just long enough for him to tell them where he found the gold mask. Frank shoots him. The Sheriff and the bandits have a shoot-out, but Frank and a few of his men get away. The Sheriff finds out they are headed for the Oros’ church.

STARTING IN HUBRIS AND ENDING IN DETERMINATION

St. Mercy #3 opens on the day of Toctollissica’s sacrifice. She is certain Supay will reward her people and she prepares to face her death proudly. Her story and Mercy’s story will start to make more connections throughout the issue.

Frank and his second, Ray, find Neto and Mercy in their church. Mercy tries to turn them away. Frank admits he is not a churchgoing man and claims he is just there to thank them for helping Alex. He notices her injuries, asks if Alex caused them, and then informs her that Alex is dead. Neto orders him out of the church. Possibly tempting fate, he remarks that God has not smited him yet. He is there to find out about the Incan gold and shows them that he has Toctollissica’s headdress.

They’ve searched and they know the stash has been moved. Frank sets the headdress on Mercy’s head. Mercy tells them that she and her father are living under a curse, and Neto swears she is telling the truth. Frank holds his gun to her head. She begs her father not to tell them anything. He tells them that, with his wife gone, Mercy is all he has left. She cryptically tells him that she is ready, but he counters that belief is not enough for it failed Toctollissica.

But Neto also gives away the location of the gold – his wife’s grave. Frank’s men dig up the gold and Frank shoots Neto. Then he must decide what to do with Mercy. His men wish to assault her. Since she lied to him, he decides to let them. The first one to try is shot through the head by someone with a long gun – the Sheriff has arrived. Mercy throws herself on Frank, swearing to kill him. He is holding an instrument of sacrifice, and Mercy inadvertently impales herself upon it.

In the past, we see what happened with Toctollissica. The sacrifices were fed coca and led to the altar. Tocto felt she was the perfect offering to Supay, even while knowing it was a lie. The shaman and the witch have a last argument, but Ispaca is determined that Tocto will be the final sacrifice. One by one, the children face their deaths. Toctollissica’s turn comes and Supay manifests and refuses Tocto. Despite her utter belief in him, he did not believe in her. She would never become a god. But fate was not done with her yet!

NO PEACE IN A VIOLENT WORLD

Much of St. Mercy #3 takes place at night where it is dimly lit. The strong shadows lend themselves to the drama playing out. The outlaws are brutal men who kill because they enjoy it. We see that hardness on their faces. Neto and Mercy are outmatched. In this sequence, there are a couple particularly notable panels featuring Tocto’s headdress. When Frank first holds it up, even though it is dark we see how wonderfully shiny it is and can make out the reflection of Mercy and the window behind her. Later, he forces the headdress onto her head. He is reflected in the gold, but Mercy’s face and eyes take on a gleam of determination and suddenly we see just how deeply she believes in the curse she lives under.

This is a violent book, and that violence comes to some fruition here. Frank kills Neto and the Sheriff kills a couple of the outlaws. He is an accurate shot, but there are still jets of blood. Mercy is killed with the special sacrificial instrument which plunges into her heart and allows the blood to pour forth freely. While this parallels the sacrifices in Toctollissica’s day, there is an eerie contrast. Those young people who were raised to become sacrifices face their deaths fearlessly, drugged, but not in terror. Their calm is disquieting, especially in contrast to Tocto’s fervent passion that she is destined to be supreme.

BOTTOM LINE: THE CONNECTING THREAD

St. Mercy #3 works to further the connection between Toctollissica and Mercy against the unforgiving backdrop of the old west and outlaws who do hold enough power even to challenge the authorities. And we are left to wonder what a young woman can possibly do against them.


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St. Mercy #3

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Wonderful

A centuries old curse lies sleeping – until outlaws decide to steal the Incan gold!

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By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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