With Amethyst 8 comes the end of the series, from Christy Marx and Aaron Lopresti. Bringing back Amethyst was another experimental move from DC, but one which has launched off a viable character for them to use in future… just not in her own ongoing series.
I’ve been lukewarm on the run as a whole, mainly due to the somewhat bland dialogue which has been a feature since the start. Characterisation has been somewhat successful, but the book has struggled to match Lopresti’s artwork to standout personalities. Since the first issue, the book has told decent stories in a competent way, offering bits and pieces of narrative which wove nicely together to create a whole which works well. But it’s also struggled to tell the story through anything more than generic dialogue. As a writer, Marx appears to be strongest at creating a world and structure for the characters to inhabit, which has meant that Gemworld has overshadowed Amethyst herself, for the most part.
Lopresti’s work – here supported by Travis Moore and John Livesay – has been reliable. As the cast is made up of several blondes, he’s struggled a bit to differentiate the different women and give them distinctive faces, which causes a few problems. This aside, his fight scenes and entertaining and kinetic, whilst the conversational moments benefit from his sense of perspective and angle. He’s a good choice for the book, and the colouring from Hi-Fi has been bright and enjoyable. It’s the strongest part of the series, and the character designs have done a great job in supporting the society in Gemworld — the clothing is archaic but functional and fun, creating a fantasy setting which feels a bit more contemporary and flashy than something like, I dunno, Tolkein.
Issue 8 concludes the storyline with Amethyst in a new position of power, which sets her perfectly to move on and claim a role somewhere else in the DC Universe. Her origin has been concluded and concreted, and where she moves on from here is yet to be seen – but I would like to see more of her. She’s got a strong concept and fun world to play around with, and I’m sure future writers will be able to fill in the blanks in her personality as they move her forward. The story concludes with a simple narrative twist which empowers the main character rather well, although we have to struggle through a sea of generic characters in order to do so.
There’s a lot of exposition to Amethyst – I’d say at least half the main cast exist solely to tell people what the story is – without the characters having any particular quirks or tics which set them apart. By the time I reached this final issue, I’d say the only character who I felt had a rounded personality was the figure who is obviously being set up as a love interest, Preet. He’s at least got a sense of self-awareness in him which I was surprised not to find in any of the other characters. Even Amethyst, who is the outsider forced to adapt to this fantasy world, quickly acclimatises and gets lost to the reader. Everybody is serious and bland, and they offer serious and bland dialogue and thoughts on every page.
This mucks up the pacing a little bit, as the sense of urgency and tension is lost when none of the characters have anything interesting to say. They go through their motions, and as a result readers aren’t offered any idea of danger. The characters will all be safe and sound throughout, and the villain will be despatched, and everything will be happy ever after. Perhaps because you can sense that this final issue had to be rushed into place, the climax of the story isn’t as exciting as you might hope.
This may make it sound like I found Amethyst to be a chore – I didn’t. I really like the central concept, and I like the idea of the characters… even if they don’t work out very well in execution. Perhaps if somebody scripted over Marx’s plotting, the story would have been far more entertaining. As it is, these issues of Amethyst tell a perfectly fine, if underwhelming, storyline. One thing I really did appreciate was that this final issue is solely about Amethyst – I’ve disliked all the backups put in this book, without exception. Amethyst is, at the least, a step up from the thoroughly dull stories she was backed up by.
Pick up Amethyst if you like, it’s not a bad story. But what happens next is far more interesting than what’s been so far.