Real Name: Layana Sweetwater
Identity/Class: extra-temporal (Earth-Hercules 2300 ) extraterrestrial (Wilameanis)
Occupation: Royal mother
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Arimathes, Assassins' Guild, Skyppi
Enemies: B'Mak, Hercules, Count Igwanus, Recorder#417, Skyppi, Star Pirates of Wilamean
Known Relatives: Arimathes (son), Count Igwanus (former husband)
Aliases: Emperor Mother, Layanna
Base of Operations: Wilamean; Earth-Hercules 2300
First Appearance: Hercules I#2 (October, 1982)
Powers/Abilities: Layana has no superhuman powers. She used to be a superficial airhead and a hottie, but in her later days she was a bitter, spiteful, nasty frickin' person. She formerly was able to manipulate her son Arimathes, and thus to control his empire. She remains quite shrewd, has connections to many deadly beings, and is likely reasonably skilled in hand-to-hand combat and the use of a laser blaster.
(Hercules I#2 (fb) - BTS) - Layana was the daughter of an important member of the Adminstrative Council of Port Anteris, Wilamean. She was engaged to marry the wealthy Gegku, Count Igwanus, and was actually on the way to her wedding when she was captured by Star Pirates. Her father pressured the police department into putting up a 10,000 credit reward for her rescue.
(Hercules I#2) - Layana was rescued by
Hercules, who was most annoyed to learn that the police
department had not the money for the reward in their budget.
Hercules, who needed the funds to pay a lost wager (and thus
regain his chariot and steeds, which had been collateral for the
bet, then refused to return Layana until he received his payment.
Layana was instantly smitten with Hercules, and she hoped they
never came up with the money to get her back. Meanwhile, Hercules
took Layana back to a hotel room and...wooed her. Afterwards,
Layana told Herc that she wanted to stay with him forever, but he
fed her a false story about his one true mortal love aged to her
deathbed when he went off for what seemed like a short trip to
Olympus; This was why he had sworn never to lose his heart to
another mortal again.
Layana then told Hercules that she had been fleeing from her father when she had been kidnapped. She also told him that Count Igwanus had paid her father for Layana's hand in marriage, and that she was to have been an unwilling participant. Believing Layana's lies, Hercules then kicked some Gegku and Wilameanis butt when Igwanus and his men showed up to take back Layana. Hercules had Igwanus at his mercy and threatened him to force him to renounce his illicit purchase of Layana. Igwanus choked out that Layana was with him of her own free will, leaving the astonished Herc to respond, "Sayest What?!!"
Confronted with her lies, Layana confessed that she had made it up because Herc was just so dreamy. Hercules apologized to Igwanus, who told him that he still wanted to marry Layana. Indebted for the safe rescue of his lover, Igwanus paid Hercules his 10, 000 credits.
(Hercules: Full Circle (fb)) - Layana became pregnant from her encounter with Hercules. She raised the child, Arimathes, and when he grew to adulthood she used his might to take over the entire planet and then the surrounding star system. Layana then took her "revenge" on Igwanus, whom she had beaten and tortured, leaving him a blind and nearly crippled wreck. She guided Arimathes to oppress the entire Gegku race, who shared the planet with the Wilameanis. Layana fed young Arimathes lies about his father, telling him that she was an innocent victim of him. As Arimathes grew, so did his hatred of his father, until he was bound and determined to make Hercules pay for his transgressions against his mother.
(Hercules: Full Circle) - When Hercules returned to Wilamean in 2385, Arimathes had Hercules brought before him. Layana, now known as the Emperor Mother, confirmed his identity, as Arimathes' guards blasted Hercules and his allies from behind. She confronted Hercules, revealing her identity, and telling him that he would spend years in their prison, suffering cruel torture until he begged her to slay him. However, Hercules and his allies escaped, and Hercules finally convinced Arimathes that he had been lied to his whole life by his mother. Arimathes then confronted his mother and stripped her of her official power, confining her to the North wing of the royal palace for the remainder of her days.
(Marvel Comics Presents#39/3 (fb) - BTS) - While maintaining her confinement, the Emperor Mother secretly allowed the somewhat decadent Skyppi to sneak into her chambers and play poker with her. She built his confidence for months by allowing him to win substantial amounts of valuable jewelry, etc. At some point, she managed to contact the Assassins Guild, making preparation for revenge against Hercules.
(Marvel Comics Presents#39/3, [40/3], 41/3) -
During their regular poker game, Layana defeated Skyppie, and as
her payment she requested that he use his shape-changing power to
assume the form of her son--to warm her heart. As soon as he did,
she slapped him with a Neuro-Neutralizer, that left him subject
to her commands. With the Emperor Arimathes seemingly at her
side, Layana was allowed to leave her quarters, and she traveled
to the sub-levels of the palace, where she met with the Assassins
Guild and sent them to slay Hercules. However, in the course of
the battle, it was Arimathes who was nearly killed, as he had
leapt atop an exploding cybernetic warrior and shielded his
father from the ensuing explosion.
While the Queen Mother tried to use "Arimathes" to order a list of undesirables to be rounded up, Hercules burst into the chambers, confronted her, and exposed her ruse. She pulled a gun and threatened to slay Skyppi unless Hercules let her go, but Hercules instead revealed that her evil plan had nearly killed her only son. Shocked, she was unprepared as the Recorder grabbed her weapon from behind and took it from her. Hercules then brought Layana's bedside, so that she could see what she had wrought. The horror of nearly killing Arimathes crushed Layana and she vowed to never again attempt vengeance. Arimathes, who was beginning to recover thanks to his demi-godly constitution, confined her to her wing once again, so that she might contemplate the error of her ways.
Comments: Created by Bob Layton and Luke McDonell.
All of these stories are great. Pick 'em up and sit back and smile.
The Full Circle Graphic Novel, which took place @ 2385 or soon thereafter, may have taken place anywhere from 41 years (as stated by Amayd Malin in Hercules II#1) or 30 years (as stated repeatedly by Arimathes) after Hercules' first encounter with Layana. Amayd was on his deathbed and may have been mistaken when he spoke, while Layana might well have lied about the length of time to falsify her own age, though this same time period would also be reflected in Arimathes' age, which might be harder to falsify
Hercules should have used
the Ladies' Man's Yeah, you gotta get goin' now technique
It would go something like this:
Layana: Oh, Hercules, I want to stay with you forever.
Hercules: Yeah, you gotta get goin' now!
Layana was also referred to as Layanna in the Full Circle graphic novel.
No known connection to:
images: (without ads)
Hercules I#2, Cover (young Layana with Hercules)
Marvel Comics Presents#39, p20, pan6 (third image)
Hercules: Full Circle (1988) - Bob Layton (writer/artist), Gregory Wright (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents#39-40 (December, 1989) - Bob Layton (writer/artist), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents#41 (January, 1990) - Bob Layton (writer/artist), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Last updated: 01/08/04
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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