Review: Artemis: Wanted #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Vita Ayala
Art: Skylar Patridge
Colors: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark are on Artemis’ trail to bring her to justice, but meeting another Amazon creates a whole new problem for the erstwhile Wonder Girls.
It’s always great to see Donna Troy in action. She seems underused as DC would rather push other Wonder Girls, but as part of the original Teen Titans, Donna has a significant place in DC history and a significant spot in comic book history as part of the New Teen Titans which dominated the first half of the ’80’s for the company. Much has been done with her over the years, but she’s languished with little direction for over a decade. There’s a place for her and the Titans, not sidekicks any longer, but heroes in their own right- Justice League material, but not JL by choice.
Cassie’s turn as the detective in the Wonder Woman family is not only fun, but quite interesting and very enjoyable! It almost begs for a solo series focusing on her detective skills. The contrast between her and Donna in this issue is palpable. Additionally, despite all Amazons being warriors it makes sense that they would have different personalities. This definitely feels like the right direction for Cassie.
Stumbling across an Amazon in a small midwestern American town is a surprise, and Freya seems to have an interesting story of her own. As it is we only get the Cliff’s Notes version, and maybe not even that. There’s the basis for something really interesting here, but we need more, and as we head to the negatives for this issue, we need more about Freya…
…such as, where did her daughter come from? A dalliance with the guy in the flashback? We don’t get nearly enough about her situation not even the aforementioned Cliff’s Notes version. It ends up providing interesting ideas, but there’s not enough to really make it sing. It doesn’t feel executed well. Would I come back for a Freya special? Maybe. But, at first I’d want to know her story of how she got here as opposed to what happens next.
As great as it was to see Donna, her character feels way off in Artemis: Wanted #1. She seems way too hardcore and too much like Artemis herself as opposed to Donna. Donna at her best always had a sense of compassion to her character, not empathic like Raven, but someone who would really try to see things from someone else’s perspective and be there for her friends and colleagues with a loving heart. I know it’s not 1984, but this seemed to be part of her character in her portrayal in the recent Wonder Girl series introducing Yara Flor. In Artemis: Wanted #1, Donna seems too angry and vindictive.
Artemis, the star of the issue is used as a pawn and it doesn’t really play well. I don’t think anyone really thought she was going to turn out to be evil after the events of “Trial of the Amazons,” but the story had put Artemis in a corner and well, there just wasn’t any good way of getting her out. Without spoiling the exact details, it comes across as a contrived and uncreative solution. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt that there wasn’t a good solution available, which points to the murder of Hippolyta being a bad idea from the start. In the storyline itself, it comes across as forced, and in Artemis: Wanted #1 it just feels ridiculous. It feels as if things were plotted backwards, Hippolyta’s murder was what they wanted to accomplish for a contrived “significant” death and there was no way they could work it out without ridiculous reasoning. it doesn’t make any of the Amazon tribes look logical or reasonable, just bickering women who can’t get along with one another- a giant cat-fight between groups with so much historical enmity they are unable to see the big picture without being tricked into uniting against a common foe. Instead of having the tribes of Amazons deal with the real issues between them, Hippolyta uses Artemis to fool her sisters, indeed every Amazon. There’s a complete lack of emotional and intellectual depth to this resolution. For those interested and though it’s under completely different circumstances, Wonder Woman #310 tells a tale of Artemis plotting to overthrow Hippolyta.
Artemis’ history isn’t as well known to the average comic book reader and there are flashbacks that confuse rather than enhance Artemis’ emotional journey in this issue. It’s not executed effectively as a part of her story. It seems logical what these flashbacks from her past are about, but there needs to be more exposition about them to make them work as part of the story. On top of that, it doesn’t jibe with what I recall about the character from her earliest appearances back in the ’90’s.
Artemis: Wanted #1 is a mostly disappointing postscript to “Trial of the Amazons.” The idea of Artemis being Hippolyta’s killer was intriguing until Artemis’ motives are revealed in this issue. When they are it is not only lackluster and contrived, but it puts a black mark on the already shaky “Trial of the Amazons.” Quite honestly, you don’t really need to read this comic. It’s a bit of a mess. You might even be happier not knowing why Artemis killed Hippolyta, knowing only highlights the petty squabbles between the tribes of Amazons.