Review: Trial of the Amazons #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala, Joelle Jones, Michael W. Conrad, and Becky Cloonan
Art: Laura Braga, Skylar Patridge, Joelle Jones and Elena Casagrande
Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr. and Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Faruka, Artemis, Atalanta, and others of the Bana-Migdhall have traveled to Themiscyra only to be surprised at the arrival of Yara Flor and the Esquecida… and it leads to murder!
A Wonder Woman event that utilizes the three Amazon tribes is rife for commentary on contemporary socio-political problems. There are some characters that are likable and others…not so much. Is it hubris or hate? Is it conceit or ignorance? It’s not clear in Trial of the Amazons #1, but the stage is set for a reckoning between the tribes and it’s unclear if the outside threat we were shown in Wonder Woman 2021 Annual is going to bring the tribes together or permanently divide them.
We know there’s a murder in this issue, and rather than reveal it I will say this: It definitely means there will be a massive change for the Amazons and the world of Wonder Woman. I’m always suspicious of deaths like this in events because they are so often used for short-term shock value. It’s usually a matter of time before a character returns. There’s a chance for Trial of the Amazons to do something different.
There are some things about Trial of the Amazons #1 that don’t quite feel right. Firstly, there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of coordination between the converging storylines and the appearance of the Esquecida on Themiscyra. We know from the recently canceled Wonder Girl series that both the Themiscyrans and Amazons of Bana-Migdhall were aware of Yara Flor her Amazon tribe- they sent emissaries including Artemis to find her attempting to stop her from finding her birthright- yet they act as if the appearance of the Esquecida is completely unexpected. It feels like something is out of place.
Additionally, at the end of the issue during the banquet, it doesn’t make sense that Hippolyta isn’t present, nor does it make sense that Phillipus and Hippolyta know what was happening there (Nubia accepting Faruka’s challenge). While it first appears that it takes place after the banquet, Phillipus suddenly appears with Nubia at the banquet. It appears that panels are out of order or we are missing pages. It then makes more sense as we see Phillipus leaving at the end of the issue, it’s not her leaving the banquet, but rather Hippolyta’s quarters. It’s quite awkward
Both of these incidents make the issue feel a bit haphazard. The writers are trying to cram a lot into the issue and it just feels like there’s too much. One would’ve expected Cassia and Donna to speak up to validate the Esquecida since they were on hand in Brazil helping them in Wonder Girl. This points to an issue with the overall execution. It’s one thing to have an event that ties across ongoing titles, but with an event that begins in a separate book, even though they serve as bookends it can make it difficult to follow and understand how everyone got here. While the second feature in Wonder Woman has a direct connection to this issue, Wonder Woman 2021 Annual which was specifically a lead-in to the event doesn’t seem to connect unless one reads between the lines.
Readers of Wonder Girl understand why Cassie and Donna are present with the Esquecida, but if you haven’t been reading that it isn’t clear. The same goes for Nubia and the Amazons if, like me, you haven’t been reading that you will have questions about Medusa and Doom’s Doorway. For an event that is trying to bring in more readers for a publicized sea change for the Amazons, this comes across as something only for readers of all the related titles.
Trial of the Amazons #1 takes a couple of big chances. The execution suffers though in a couple of areas and it’s questionable if this is the story Wonder Woman readers want. Are we to see the Amazons come together or be split apart? It’s unclear in this issue how things will go and unfortunately, the death of a major character holds little weight in today’s comics.
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