I’ve been looking forward to the new reboot of Amethyst: Princess of the Gemworld since it was announced back in June. I even re-read the entire first 12-issue series before picking this issue up. I wanted to see how much had changed. And about the only thing the two titles have in common is the use of gemstones and the title character is called Amethyst.
I knew there were going to be changes to the story, but what came out Wednesday was really unrecognizable compared to the original 80s series. It starts out feeling more like Terminator 2, with Amy and her mom always on the move, and her mom training Amy to fight. Amy is a loner, an outsider at school and doesn’t hide it by dying her hair with different color stripes. She hates moving about so much and it seems wants nothing more than to return “home” and visit her father’s gave. When she finally gets her wish, it isn’t what she expected, as her mother opens a magical portal and they travel to Nilaa, where she and her mother not only get new clothes, but new hair as well. After arriving they are attacked. Why? Amy’s mother’s sister is power-hungry and wants to kill anyone that might threaten her rule or force her to share power.
Amy is nothing like the original character. Being a little older and coming from an essentially broken home, that is understandable. But this first issue didn’t give any reason to like Amy. I could sympathize with her considering her situation, but that doesn’t make me automatically like her. And I liked her mother even less. It’s obvious that Amy knows nothing about where she’s from, but why keep all that a secret? Why only spring on her about her blood-thirsty aunt just before taking her into that danger. What excuse did her mother give for their constantly having to move and the training? At least in T2, Sarah told John is was because he was destined to save the human race. If Amy didn’t know the danger posed by her aunt, what possible reason could her mother have given? Or did Amy just follow her mother blindly? That’s not something one would expect from a teenager.
Let me just address the elephant in the room; The attempted rape scene. I’ve seen a lot of people object to this scene. I think I’ve seen it far too much in media as a way of establishing a woman’s strength or weakness to have been too surprised by it. There was even one in the original series, in issue 1, so it’s sadly not an uncommon occurrence. I think what really bothered me about this scene is that how obvious it was to Amy that it was going to happen. If she knew or suspected, why didn’t she do something before hand? If she hadn’t stormed out of her “birthday party,” she wouldn’t have been there to save Beryl and this terrible thing would have happened. And what’s the deal with Beryl running away from her. Is a strong and capable girl that unusual? That’s a really sad comment if it is. A girl capable of defending herself and/or others shouldn’t be seen as freakish, which apparently Beryl did. I do wonder, with her name, if she might not appear later to apologize and be an ally. Probably not, but it would be a nice connection.
I think what I miss most from this first issue is the magic. The first issue of Amethyst was filled with it, and I don’t mean the powers the inhabitants of Gemworld possessed. There was something special about that first issue. I felt it again when I re-read the first series recently. Amy was a real magical girl. She was just an ordinary teenager whose world suddenly changed. Not only did she have the fate of a world on her shoulders, but she also had inner conflicts both physically and emotionally. Watching Amy struggle with both the internal and external problems is one of the things that made the original series so compelling. You don’t see that in the new series. I see a lot of angst, but it isn’t the same.
And there’s another thing I’m not too pleased about, is the throwing in of other DC characters so soon into the story, and having Amy dragged into another DC series. Hey DC, why don’t you let this new character get established first before sucking her into some multi-issue cross over story. Because, as things stand right now, I won’t be following her. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read this DC Comics blog post.
While I’m not thrilled with the story or characters, this first issue of Sword of Sorcery was too short for me to make a definitive decision as to whether or not I will keep reading it. I will give the series at least one more issue before I decide whether to keep or toss it. As it stand right now, it’s not looking good. I did like the back story of Beowulf. It’s looking like an interesting adaptation so far.