Written by Amy Reeder
Art by Amy Reeder
Lettering by Gabriela Downie
Published by DC
Review by Pierce Lydon
‘Rama Rating: 6 out of 10
It’s great to see Amy Reeder doing more DC work but Amethyst is far from a perfect return. While Reeder is able to establish the world of her story fairly quickly, readers unfamiliar with Amethyst herself will find little to latch onto. There’s a breeziness to the narrative, but that same energy carries over to the stakes of the story which feel out of sorts overall. Reeder’s art is a great fit for the world though, so while the plotting might not be all there, it’s exciting to see her work in this context more.
For all the problems that the book suffers as it goes on, the opening is delightful. Amethyst’s adoptive parents are doing their best to connect to their gifted princess daughter on her birthday before she heads back to her kingdom to celebrate. It’s a little awkward but extremely endearing as they give her a book on crystal healing because they don’t fully understand her powers. (They’re trying!) But as soon as Amethyst leaves the ordinary world, the hero and readers are thrust into something that is jarringly unfamiliar. Reeder does her best to explain how everything works but there’s not a full understanding of what the inciting incident here is so the stakes are seemingly nonexistent. Something has happened that much is clear but we don’t really get a sense about whether this is a regular thing or something we should be alarmed by.
Amethyst herself doesn’t seem to know what to make of it either and that’s part of the problem. She cries over a painting of her parents but we’ve known they were dead from the jump - Amethyst told us herself - so her reaction feels out of sorts. We come to understand more and more that things aren’t as they seem, however, by the time we get to the end of the book, Reeder hasn’t done enough to engage us with the character or properly build the stakes of the challenge that she faces. Why is this all so important to her? What does being a princess of Gemworld mean? How does it affect the larger DCU if at all? How does her kingdom falling affect the rest of Gemworld? It’s unclear.
Reeder’s art is fun though. The opening scene with Amethyst and her parents is cute, and across the book we’re treated to some really solid expression work. The end of the issue hints that we’ll get to see Reeder lean into the more fantastical elements of Gemworld as we meet another character and her caterpillar steed. But the sort of wandering, meandering plotting doesn’t give Reeder enough to work with. The character designs are strong but it doesn’t feel like the characters get quite enough to do. I understand that some of that has to do with the nature of stories that have this sort of high fantasy, kings and queens scaffolding to them - they can be slow starters - but Reeder only has six issues to work with. It would have been nice to see more.
But Amethyst is an enjoyable read even if it’s not a world beater. You’ll like breeze through it in a few minutes but that’s not a bad thing, necessarily. Though it does make me wonder if, with this fairly decompressed approach, floppies were the best format for this story especially when similarly flavored YA work is being produced by the DC Ink imprint. I am excited to see more of Amy Reeder’s work moving forward but right now, Amethyst is not a testament to the level of quality we’re used to seeing from her. It is a merely okay comic when we have definitely seen more from her.