Opal Fortress already? Is Amethyst nearing the end of her quest, or does Dark Opal have another trick or two hidden up his sleeve? Find out in Amethyst #4 from DC Comics!
Writer: Amy Reeder
Artist: Amy Reeder
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Gabriela Downie
Editor: Andy Khouri
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 22, 2020
Previously in Amethyst: Amy’s vision of her parents and her people led to her attacking Aquamarine. Aquamarine forgives her and although she cannot help her, she sends her son, Maxixe, to help Amethyst get to Opal. He is no happier to go than she is to have him along. Before long, Maxixe becomes terribly ill and as luck would have it, they find themselves near the encampment of the Banned, nomadic people who run the black marked of Gemworld. There, they have a run-in with Prince Topaz trying to move the nomads along. Amethyst gives the Banned permission to live on her land, and Maxixe leads them to the gates of Opal!
IT COULDN’T BE THAT EASY, COULD IT?
Amethyst #4 opens on the threshold of Opal Fortress. Dark Opal is the villain’s villain, and Amy is suddenly on high alert and super-cautious. They need a plan to get in; they need a plan to get out. The gateway is sinister, but with a brilliant touch of humor there is a red button on the wall that says “To enter press here.” Which Phoss does. They’re taken up to the throne room, where Opal is under house arrest. Amy confronts him and Opal claims someone is playing a trick on them. He claims that the judiciary of Gemworld, likely House Diamond has them, and Amy has the sudden fear that perhaps Amethyst is the new bad guy.
Opal uses this conversation as a distraction to launch an attack against his guards and the three young people. He sends tiny little gem creatures after them all, and his entire throne room animates to throw them off balance. Everything is going Opal’s way until Amethyst finds a chunk of quartz she got from The Banned, which amplifies her powers and she unleashes a bunch of destruction on Opal’s fortress.
But it is a hollow victory. She isn’t any closer to finding her parents or her people. She’s feeling more doubt about Amethyst’s role as the leaders of Gemworld. And she doesn’t react well when Phoss and Maxixe criticize her, Phoss for Turquoise’s perception of her people as starting fights that others have to clean up and Maxixe for her not listening to his advice. But indeed, Amethyst has been all about action and has been a poor listener.
Everyone’s tempers flare. Maxixe, it turns out, is a decoy, a fake prince, sent out to be a target. He walks off. Amethyst turns on Phoss, who overall has been cheerful and kind, not to mention being one person who joined Amethyst of her own accord. The trek through the desert surrounding Opal’s fortress becomes a long and quiet one until a sandstorm blows through.
DESOLATION AND SHADOW
I think what I like most about the art of Amethyst #4 are the settings. As Amy travels, each kingdom she comes to has its own style and personality. Opal Fortress, as befitting the bad guy, is dark and mechanized, full of snakily twining cables. It is where magic meets high tech. As Opal triggers the floor to break apart and start moving, you can almost hear the hum of machinery and the sound of stone grinding upon metal. I think the use of angular panels contributes to the feeling of movement throughout the fight.
Opal Fortress, dark and gloomy as it is inside, is located in the center of a desert which is bright, barren, and dusty. I like the rock formations and the attention paid to making them look like eroded sedentary rock. Barren it may be, but it’s also pretty. The tawny browns set off the distinctly bright colors of the characters – color plays a big role on the Gemworld. I like this desolate setting as a backdrop to Amethyst’s thoughts as they get darker, as she realizes she is pushing her few friends away from her but cannot get herself to stop.
BOTTOM LINE: BEING FORCED TO READJUST
Amethyst #4 is an adventure that is also an allegory for growing up. The stark truths Amy has been holding for years are crumbling around her and she has to rebuild herself and her sense of reality. All the characters face challenges that will test them which makes for a compelling read.
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