Review: Trial of the Amazons #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Vita Ayala, Stephanie Williams and Joelle Jones
Art: Elena Casagrande, Laura Braga, Skylar Patridge, Adriana Melo and Joelle Jones
Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr. and Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Trial of the Amazons #2: The Amazons must come together to defeat Chaos, the entity who’s sown enmity between the three tribes for millennia.
The best thing about “Trial of the Amazons” is the resolution and how it leaves the Wonder Woman universe. It only makes sense that the three tribes of Amazons come together. This story didn’t have to end that way, there’s enough detail that things could’ve easily gone in the opposite direction, but it wouldn’t have worked thematically and metaphorically with the defeat and imprisonment of Chaos behind Doom’s Doorway. I’m a sucker for reconciliation and redemption stories, so the ending feels great. It places the Amazons together and united despite any individual differences between the three tribes.
Part of the symbolic joining of the tribes is Diana’s anointing of Yara Flor as “Wonder Girl.” It doesn’t come off as a particularly touching moment, instead it’s one of the lighter moments of the series as Yara has a WTF response as she attempts to explain to Diana that she’s not a girl, she’s a young woman in her 20’s. It works well on that level, but the levity in the scene doesn’t quite fit with the tone of the rest of the series especially considering its juxtaposition to the sacrifices of Antiope and Atalanta and lingering grief over Hippolyta’s murder.
The secret arsenal of the Amazons was a cool addition to the mythos. As Cassie says, “it makes sense.” The inclusion of Asteria’s armor as seen in Wonder Woman ’84 was a nice touch, not because Wonder Woman ’84 was a great film, far from it. But, rather it connects the truly wonderful Lynda Carter to the Wonder Woman mythos, again. Carter of course portrayed the Amazing Amazon in the television show from the 1970’s. Despite the maligned film, seeing Asteria show up in the comics (drawn like Carter) would be a fun and exciting moment. The Tiar-mory (named thusly by Becky Cloonan) is another fun detail from this issue. Who knew there were so many secret spots on Themiscyra!
Pat Brosseau’s lettering design for Chaos’s speech is really effective. Not only are the word balloons unique, but the script style is very striking. It forces the reader to “hear” that voice very differently and it produces the desired affect. It’s not just a loud voice it’s a voice that has power and menace as well. It’s one of those times that the letterer has a chance to step up and hit it out of the park and Brosseau succeeds marvelously- a four-bagger easily with a few runners on base.
Trial of the Amazons #2 and indeed “Trial of the Amazons” suffers from too much plot without enough issues to do it justice. There’s a real unfinished sense in not finding out Artemis’s motive for killing Hippolyta. It makes it hard to put Hippolyta’s murder into any context without it. It really feels like this should’ve been a separate storyline in a separate series. Omitting this would’ve allowed for more substantial exploration of the enmity between the three tribes. That’s what this series is really about- resolving that enmity. Hippolyta’s murder doesn’t really fit. Additionally, no one’s surprised that Artemis got away at the end of the issue, but without more panel time of how she got away and its impact on the rest of the Amazons it just feels like it is sort of forgotten.
The same can be said for Altuum. While Diana acknowledges that he’s still out there (he gets away, too), his presence really served no purpose. Teased back in Wonder Woman Annual 2021, Altuum appeared to have a really interesting role in “Trial of the Amazons,” and it almost seems like he was switched out for Chaos at the last minute. There’s a story for Altuum, that’s clear, but his inclusion in “Trial of the Amazons” is a bit confounding as the annual seemed to tease a different sort of trial entirely. One might call it misdirection, but it ends up feeling more like bait and switch.
Trial of the Amazons #2 is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some really great details, but some glaring omissions and missed opportunities as well. In a crossover events you’re goint to have launching points, but the Altuum and Artemis plotlines just feel unresolved. “Trial of the Amazons” lands on the right foot, however, with the three tribes of Amazons united and prepared to go forward together with their disagreements put behind them.