For those unaware, Ame-Comi is a line of high end statues released by DC Comics featuring their (mostly) female characters re-imagined in a style resembling Japanese anime. The line has proven popular and has lasted for several years, with most of DC’s big names added to the mix.
Finally, DC is releasing a comic book based on these redesigns in an anthology format. Fittingly, DC’s biggest female star kicks things off, as we meet the Ame Comi-verse’s version of Wonder Woman. Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray take full advantage of this being a parallel world and create an entirely new take on the character, giving her something of a Disney Princess feeling of rebelliousness and hot-headedness that drives her mother, Queen Hippolyta crazy. We initially meet her when she is sparring with Minotaurs, which Hippolyta angrily disrupts.
The book opens with ancient Greek style etchings, as Steve Trevor briefs the President and other officials on what little they know about the Amazons and their island. In keeping with some past incarnations, the island is a mystery, surrounded by mythical sea beasts and shrouded to technology. We also learn the nation of Kasnia has taken an interest and is attacking the island.
The Amazons are prepared. (They have an oracle.) Hippolyta orders her willful daughter to remain in the palace as she leads the rest of the Amazons into battle. (Yeah right, like that’s gonna work.) The Amazons rush into battle. But their spears and bows don’t quite match the Kasnian army’s missile launchers and machine guns. Despite their primitive weapons, once Diana arrives, the Amazons turn the tide.
Hippolyta is angry at Diana, despite the fact that she fought so effectively in battle and “punishes” her by assigning her to voyage to America to serve as a diplomat and forge an alliance with them. Things seem to go well… until The Cheetah arrives! Finally, in a bridging sequence three more popular Ame Comi characters pop up, including a seemingly villainous Duella Dent, decked out in a manner more closely resembling her “father” The Joker.
Well, my first glimpse of this was the cover, which, while a dynamic shot of Diana, unfortunately seems to depict her pooping spears. (You’re never going to be able to not see that again.)
But as for the book itself, it’s very fun. The dialogue is nice. It’s a cute twist on the Diana story, making her younger, brasher and more hot-headed than any other takes on her, which is refreshing, since she can come across as too perfect in the wrong hands. Hippolyta… not to be superficial, but I LOVED seeing her as a brunette again. I know pre-Crisis she was always blonde, but making her brunette after that made so much sense and made her visually a closer match to Diana, and I didn’t like how they went back to the blonde in the New 52.
The art is handled by two different art teams. The majority of the story is rendered by the always impeccable Amanda Conner. She always infuses so much extra into anything she draws, little eye movements or smirks or lingering glances. She just goes above and beyond. (Check out the montage of Diana hacking her opponents into pieces in many creative ways.) Then… all of a sudden she wasn’t drawing it anymore. I hate to fault the second art team of penciller Tony Akins and inker Walden Wong. They do a perfectly fine job. Their work is a smidge overly-cartoony, but it’s perfectly fine. It’s just not Amanda Conner’s work, so there is just a tiny bit of muddled continuity when it comes to the visual of this book.
I absolutely love the battle armor Diana is wearing on the cover of this book. She never wears the entire look inside. (She never puts on the shoulder pad.) As soon as I saw the statue version, wearing this, I had to have it. But, there was a horrendous second Wonder Woman Ame Comi that is wearing a skimpy bikini costume and unfortunately, that’s the one she winds up wearing the most in this book. The creators even went so far as to have Diana say she looks like a “whore” in it, but even so, she’s forced to saunter around in it for much of story.
Speaking of armor, interestingly, the Amazons all wear different armor. None of it looks “matchy” so it’s like each one forged their own. That’s a very delicate detail, but I thought it added a nice depth. (Once again, kudos Amanda Conner!)
Going back to the skimpy costumes thing, it was smart to get a woman to draw this. Conner’s style is always a little pin-up girlish, but just shy of trashy and that’s absolutely what this book needs. I’m not sure who is drawing the next chapter(s) of this book, but hopefully they can maintain that.
The one oddity is the overall tone. This book is pretty graphically violent and of course there’s the sexual aspect. Other than that, though this would almost work as an all-ages title. I would almost be okay with giving this to a young girl, but there are just a few too many decapitations for that.
I enjoyed this! It was fun and pretty!
AME COMI GIRLS #1
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Art by Amanda Conner and Tony Atkins & Walden Wong
Cover by Amanda Conner