Amethyst #1 – Amy Reeder, Writer/Artist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Amethyst #1 is a strong start to the fifth title in the Wonder Comics line, as writer-artist Amy Reeder makes her return to DC with a new title reinventing the classic fantasy heroine Amethyst (currently appearing in Young Justice).
Reeder wisely grounds the series on both of Amy Winston’s worlds – she’s a child of Gemworld, orphaned as a baby and raised on Earth without knowledge of her powers. This is a pretty common fantasy origin, of course, but writers like Dan Mishkin, Christy Marx, Bendis, and now Reeder have added a lot of unique flourishes. The story begins nicely with Amy getting 16th-birthday presents from her earth parents, who try their best to raise an extraordinary daughter despite being very ordinary – and their love is clear, despite any well-meaning missteps. But a much bigger birthday celebration awaits Amethyst on Gemworld – or so she thinks, because the Gemworld she finds when she arrives is anything but the fantasy kingdom of light and joy we’ve come to know.
Reeder’s depictions of a Gemworld in ruins are fantastic, from floating islands of crystals to inventive palace architecture. She also wisely avoids any jump scares or horror in the first issue, and instead lets the absence speak for itself. The Amethyst kingdom has seemingly been emptied, with no trace of any of Amy’s people. When she visits her best friend, Lady Turquoise, she’s greeted with cold refusal to help and the distinct impression that her friend’s mine is no longer her own.
It’s a pretty excellent exercise in suspense, and a little darker than I would have expected from the start. But a finale that involves a giant worm, a new ally, and an adventure into the unknown reminds us that Reeder is one of the best fantasy creators working in comics. Visually, it’s one of the most impressive books DC is putting out, and story-wise it immediately sets up an intriguing mystery and a likable main character worth rooting for. Bring on the rest of this miniseries, and hopefully the Wonder Comics line maintains this level of quality.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.