Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Review: Amethyst #1

I have always been a fan of Amethyst, so much that she took over this site once.

I have always been a fan of Amy Reeder, since I first saw her work on Madame Xanadu and Supergirl through her recent Rocket Girl book.

And I have always known that Amy Reeder and Amethyst would be a peanut butter and chocolate unification, so much so that I recommended her on Amethyst during a 'Wednesday Comics 2' dream post 5 years ago.

So when an Amy Reeder Amethyst book was announced as a mini-series under Brian Michael Bendis' Wonder Comics imprint I knew I was going to be in.

Last week Amethyst #1 came out and did not disappoint. Reeder writes, draws, and colors the book meaning this is a labor of love for Reeder. And the story, art, and colors are crisp and lush. I was smiling a ton as I read this book and can't wait for the next issue.

Reeder seems to have a grasp of the character and her history, leaning into at least the original mini-series plot. She also shows just how difficult it must be to live two lives. If you could be an ordinary Earth teenager or a magical princess, who would pick the former? And how does that affect your Earth family? But we are mostly in the Gemworld here and this is a good opening chapter with a mystery and a threat already having happened. How will our Amy save her people when she seems to be nearly alone in her quest?

The art and color show the same dynamism I came to love in Rocket Girl with action and page layout really complementing each other. Dripping in purples, the whole thing is just easy on the eyes too!

On to the book!

The book starts with Amy on Earth celebrating her birthday.

It is clear her adoptive parents are doing everything in their power to make it a perfect day. They have gifts which they think are somehow appropriate for the Gemworld side of Amy's life. And they just in her face with love and smiles.

It feels a little bit like too much effort. And you can feel how this 'over the top' approach makes Amy feel uncomfortable.

But I feel for her parents desperate to connect to their daughter while sensing all along they are failing.

And Amy can't run fast enough through the portal to Gemworld and to her kingdom. How powerful to see the parents hugging in the background as she skedattles. You can feel how sad they are in their body language.

(Love that Amy has a Supergirl poster on her wall, based on an Reeder Supergirl cover!)

And since this might be someone's first Amethyst comic, Reeder gives us a nice two page primer.

Love the art here! And as I said, the whole thing is like a purple color wheel! Beautiful coloring.

Unfortunately when Amy arrives in her kingdom she finds it basically destroyed.

Her castle is blown to bits. And the citizens are missing.

Given that she has spent time on Earth and away from this place whenever what happened happened, Amy blames herself. And you sense just how much the absence of her parents weighs on her. She apologizes to their portrait for having let the kingdom down.

This scene felt almost Batman like. I have read scenes where Bruce is crying beneath the portrait of his parents.

Figuring she needs to learn what happened, Amethyst heads to House Turquoise, her nearest allies.

But it another strange and strained interaction.

Lady Turquoise is acting cold, distant, and defensive. She is hardly acting like a caring friend. She doesn't seem to care that House Amethyst is destroyed and deserted.

While Amy is quick to blame Dark Opal, I wonder if Turquoise herself isn't behind this. These are rival houses in a magical, medieval kingdom. House Amethyst is ruled by a half-absent teen girl. It would be a plum to be conquered.

And when Amethyst challenges Lady Turquoise, wondering why she isn't more forthcoming with help, Turquoise literally shows her the door.

That second panel was my favorite of the book. The power there of Turquoise head sort of defiantly thrown back, the way your eyes follows the path of the sword, giving the feeling of someone pointing to a door, even the cold coloring all adds power to the pic.

With Lady Turquoise ignoring Amethyst's pleas, she takes the message to the people.

But even there, the citizens are unmoved and uncaring. I think this place is in on this attack.

But I love how Amethyst remains strong. She won't go away!

Only one person seems to hear what she is saying. And they seem engaged to help.

In fact, when Amy says she is off to House Sapphire to look for help, she is surprised by that citizen riding their magical steed ... a giant caterpillar!

Again, this is a nice scene. It is clear that Amethyst isn't powerless. When she thinks this is attack, her hands glow with magical energy. Perhaps she was planning a lightning bolt or force beam of some sort?

This is another nice page conveying action. You feel Amy's pegasus rearing back. You feel this caterpillar rising up. And the coloring of the underside being pale shows some markings designed to frighten. I don't think that is this beast's eyes and mouth. I think it is camouflage coloring, designed to intimidate and scare off attackers.

Luckily, cooler heads prevail.

This person says they are there to help Amethyst on her quest and Amy admits she needs all the help she can get.

So they don't fight.

I have been very careful with my pronouns when discussing this warrior. I'm very interested to learn more.

But we all knew that you can't have an Amethyst book without Dark Opal.

If Turquoise hasn't attacked House Amethyst by themselves, perhaps they are in cahoots with our main baddie.

And boy does Opal drop a big knowledge bomb as a cliffhanger! Lord and Lady Amethyst alive?? Nice hook.

Reeder draws one of the best Opals I have seen. He looks quite mad here. And that hairdo only adds some menace, like an evil scared Jack from a demonic deck!

After months of grimness, this was a palate cleanser. Kudos to all involved!

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Fab review of a great comic. And yes, the cover should bear the legend: BECAUSE ANJ DEMANDED IT!

Anonymous said...

Crap. Forgot this was coming out. Time to hit up the comic book store!

Anonymous said...

I love that Amethyst has a Supergirl poster. I wish in the last few issues we have left of Supergirl that she gets to return home to her caretakers to a good living and it shows that she has an Amethyst poster on her wall.


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