Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Review: Amethyst #5

Amethyst #5 came out last week, the penultimate issue of this Wonder Comic re-imagination of the character. Writer/artist Amy Reeder is sprinting to the finish line a bit. But of all the issue of this title so far, this one had the most emotion. And this has been an emotional series.

I worried that last issue didn't bring the story forward enough. This issue made up for that by giving us a huge exposition scene where all the things Amy has been trying to learn is revealed to her. She heads to House Diamond, the rulers of the Gemworld, and asks them. It makes me wonder why she didn't do that from the beginning.

But that scene does show us that perhaps House Amethyst isn't the perfect example of heroism that Amy was led to believe. Reeder has been hinting about that this whole time. But now we learn the details. And they aren't pretty.

The real win here is Amy's reaction to learning about the news. Between the stress of her journey with Phoss and Maxixe and this revelation, we see how this affects out princess. And Reeder's art perfectly portrays the emotions Amy is reeling with. 

As I have said before, I wish I could eat this art it is so delicious. While some of Reeder's expressive work might be too stylized, for me it just works. There are a couple of perfect panels in this book.

And thanks to the Diamond scene, I think we are set up for this book to come to a satisfactory conclusion next issue. Last issue's pause was made up for with this issue's velocity.

On to the book.

Last issue, Amethyst and Phoss were caught in a sandstorm and dragged away by Maxixe who had apparently abandoned them. 

Here she awakens in the land of House Emerald, saved by Maxixe.

I loved this exchange where Amy apologizes to Maxixe for endangering his life while he apologizes for leaving the quest. They both break down in tears.

And then, in a simple phrase which just hit me like a sledge hammer, Amy reminds us that these two are just kids. No wonder they are crying. Just like that it puts this whole adventure into perspective.

And I love that look of shock in the lower panel. Reeder is incredible.

While in the safety of Emerald, the group tries to decide on their next steps. 

Amy plays with more of the lesser gems to see how they interact with her own powers.

I do wish this little info dump of Amy's powers (force fields, power beams, reshaping crystal) could have been shared earlier. I wonder if newer readers even know what Amethyst can do. 

The group comes to a quick decision. It is time to head to House Diamond and let them know what is happening.

There, the Diamond court tells Amethyst that her parents encased themselves in crystal in an attempt at taking over the world. Dark Opal had little to do with it.

Check out that face on Amy. She is thinking 'What the ....'

We then get a four page history lesson from the court. 

House Amethyst was the most powerful house on Gemworld. When they tried to seize rule, they were rebuffed. In an attempt to show the land that House Amethyst was needed to keep the peace, the Lord and Lady Amethyst sealed themselves in Amethyst gems, faking their death. The hope would be that violence would erupt around the world without the guiding hand of Amethyst and Citrine would revive them to calm the storm and seize power.

This is pretty awful. Lord Amethyst hopes for destruction so he can pull it all together? Not exactly noble.

But we see the entrapped Lord and Lady taken away by soldiers from Aquamarine. Citrine can't revive them. 

Without a ruler, Citrine reaches out and brings Amy from Earth back to Gemworld.

This is, without a doubt, my favorite panel in the book. Look at that little Amy, wide eyed as she ascends the throne in a crown to big for her, literally and figuratively.


When Lord Amethyst's plan was discovered, House Diamond decided to punish the entire land of Amethyst, encasing all the citizens there in the purple gem and haul them to Mount Ruby as a symbol of what happens when you rebel. Now that is harsh justice. Maybe no one in Gemworld is really noble.

Moreover, they try to encase Amy herself. Luckily, Maxixe and Phoss are there to help her escape, diving into the water to swimming away.

I have shown you the expressive work of Reeder throughout this issue. 

I love the sadness on Amy's face as she realizes that perhaps her parents are bad people. 

These are children, trying to save the world, trying to save their families, trying to keep it together. Her tears make sense.

Finally Maxixe leads the group back to Aquamarine where the real Lord and Lady of the land are ready to meet Amethyst for real this time. Love the landscape and colors here.And it is good timing on Amy's part. 

And just in time too! This part of the ocean, still Aquamarine's land, is below Mount Ruby. And Dark Opal, angry at Amy's recent attack, is heading there to destroy the people of Amethyst.

Now I know, of course, that the history that House Diamond has given Amy might be a lie as well. Maybe Diamond did all this because they feared losing power and influence to House Amethyst, Maybe Amy's folks are actually good. In fact, I won't be at all surprised if that happens. 

There is a lot to wrap up next issue. Freeing the Amethyst people. Learning the truth. Fighting Opal. That's a lot. But I think we can get there.

Most of all, I can't gush about the art enough here. This is such beautiful work by Amy Reeder. I can only hope DC keeps her on the artistic roster after this mini-series ends.

Overall grade: B+


Steve said...

The art is the best ever to be used on Amethyst but I have to admit I've never warmed to the story. It jumped into 'everything you know is wrong' for the umpteenth time with Amethyst without telling us which of the previous reboots it was upending.

Martin Gray said...

I wasn’t keen on the EYTYKWW bit either, can’t a world that’s predominantly good exist anywhere? Still, as you say there were some great emotional moments – and the art was sumptuous, I especially like the dashes of yellow and green this time. And the Emerald realm apparently being inspired by those curtain-climbing twirling acts in cruise ships... wonderful. Plus, the Diamond designs were wonderful, from the eye to the speech balloons.

Bring on the wrap up - and please don’t let it be true that Citrine conspired in murders.