Few comic book events have been as successful as DC’s Future State (opens in new tab). The company-wide event touted new ideas for every corner of DCU, perhaps most memorably in regards to the world of Wonder Woman. A new legacy character called Yara Flor took on the mantle of Wonder Girl, a pre-existing character called Nubia took fans by storm, and Diana of Themyscira herself went as far as to die in the pages of one book (don’t worry, she got better). Now, all of those ideas converge into one universe-shattering meeting as Diana’s ilk from around the world come together for Trial of the Amazons #1 (opens in new tab).
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The story opens much like one of the myths that inspires so many of its characters. A great threat looms and a champion must be chosen to defend against it. In this case, the threat is Doom’s Doorway, a portal to a powerful evil that Nubia has guarded for a very long time. With Nubia now Queen of Themyscira, a new guardian must be selected. To do so, the Amazons hold a great contest, the same contest that Diana won long ago to be Themyscira’s ambassador to the world of men. But this time, it won’t just be the Amazons of Themyscira that are competing.
Embittered after years of separation are the Bana-Mighdall, a long-forgotten Amazonian tribe led by the fierce Queen Faruka. These Amazons seek to regain what they believe is their rightful place as the greatest of all Amazonian warriors, an honor for which they believe the citizens of Themyscira are unworthy.
Also joining the contest are the young Esquecidas, led by Yara Flor. As readers of the book, we know to trust this new group of heroes. But to the other Amazons, the Esquecidas’ origins and intentions are still very much a mystery.
Trial of the Amazons #1 credits
Written by Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala, Joëlle Jones, Michael W. Conrad, and Becky Cloonan
Art by Laura Braga, Skylar Patridge, Joëlle Jones, and Elena Casagrande
Colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Jordie Bellaire
Lettering by Pat Brousseau
On sale March 8
‘Rama Rating: 7/10
Just as this comic brings together a host of Amazonian warriors, so too does it bring together some of the most talented writers of Amazonian comics today. Contributing to this book are Stephanie Phillips (Sensational Wonder Woman), Vita Ayala (Nubia & the Amazons), Joëlle Jones (Future State: Wonder Woman), Michael W. Conrad (Wonder Woman), and Becky Cloonan (Wonder Woman).
These writers do a fantastic job of crafting one story with a boatload of disparate elements. The characters are fleshed out and clear in their intentions, and the book does a great job avoiding making one side of their conflict ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’
Perhaps the best example of this are the arguments between Queen Faruka and Queen Nubia, who see two defensible but very different paths toward defending their people. The only speedbump in this storytelling is that it’s very dialogue heavy, sometimes unnecessarily so. The story still flows pretty smoothly, but the reader might be left wishing the art was doing more of the talking than the characters.
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Just like the writers, the artists for this book excel at staying consistent enough to tell one complete story but injecting enough of their own style to give the comic variation. Artists Laura Braga, Joëlle Jones (who, as we’ve mentioned, is also writing), Skyler Patridge, and Elena Casagrande create a Themyscira that you feel you can visit, with an extraordinary level of detail on both the architecture of the place and the character designs of its inhabitants.
Unfortunately, the credits at the end of Trial of the Amazons #1 don’t specify which artists do which pages, and without prior knowledge of their work, a reader might not know who to credit for their favorite scenes. This is a shame, because these artists’ individual styles deserve as much recognition as what they’ve achieved in working together.
Coloring the book are the team of veteran colorists Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Jordie Bellaire, whose tones set the mood for this contest of champions. Themyscira is usually described as a paradise, and these artists took that description to heart. The reds and oranges they use for the calmer scenes will make you wish you could see a Themysciran sunset in real life.
At the same time, there are a couple scenes meant to be foreboding and sinister, and the blues and grays that Fajarado Jr. and Bellaire use to create that atmosphere are particularly effective. Even more impressive than the individual scenes is the fact that the colors move the story from one mood to another so naturally. Everyone that’s worked on this book deserves credit for a level of seamlessness in coming together to do their jobs, but it’s perhaps these colorists that deserve it the most.
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But for all the collaboration going on here, there is one person who is accomplishing their task solo. That’s Pat Brosseau, the letterer of Trial of the Amazons. Brosseau does a great job fitting a massive amount of text onto the page. It’s never confusing as to which character is speaking or how the dialogue/captions should be read. As is always the case with letterers, the best work Brosseau does is the kind that’s noticed the least.
For example, there are a couple magnificent splash pages in this book, and Brosseau knows just how to get the dialogue out of the way of a reader appreciating them, despite the fact that there’s a lot of it even on those pages. Brosseau might have a lot to work in, but he makes it look easy.
If nothing else, readers will have to appreciate this book for its sheer scale. Not only does it bring together so many huge ideas from Wonder Woman’s decades-long history, but it joins the forces of some of the best comics creatives working today. As we enter the first few weeks of its release to the public, Trial of the Amazons might matter most to readers because of Future State. But when this book concludes and a new era of Amazonian history has begun, it might just be the other way around.
Will Trial of the Amazons make it to the list of the best Wonder Woman stories of all time?