DC Comics has done a lot of work to expand on the Wonder Woman franchise to include more than just the core series. We’ve seen them publish multiple Wonder Woman mini-series along with solo titles for Nubia and Yara Flor’s Wonder Girl. Now it is time for all the work done by the Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and Nubia and the Amazons titles to come together for one of the biggest events to date for the franchise with Trial of the Amazons. How will this Wonder Woman event begin? Let’s find out with Trial of the Amazons #1.
Writers: Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala, Joelle Jones, Michael W. Conrad, and Becky Cloonan
Artists: Laura Braga, Skylar Patridge, Joelle Jones, and Elena Casagrande
Colorists: Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On Themyscira Queen Nubia speaks with Hippolyta, Bia, and others about Penelope’s vision of Themyscira burning and the possible connection with Yara Flor. Nubia request to speak to Hippolyta privately.
Nubia speaks to Hippolyta about something changing with Doom’s Doorway since the events with Medusa. Hippolyta admits that her time with the Justice League made her understand more than ever that Nubia is the right person to lead the Amazons and will go along with whatever Nubia decides to do.
Over on the Amazon Embassy Queen Faruka, Artemis, and the Amazons of the Bana-Mighdall arrive and do not turn over their weapons when requested. As tensions appear to be rising because of this Queen Faruka and the Bana-Mighdall is allowed to pass entry into Themyscira.
Back on Themyscira as the Coliseum is prepared for the tournament to crown the Amazon champion is prepared Queen Faruka meets with Queen Nubia as the former makes it clear she does not believe the Themysciran Amazons are unfit and can’t be trusted.
Yara Flor suddenly arrives and demands to speak to whoever is in charge. She then calls on the Esquecida Amazons, with Cassandra Sandsmark and Donna Troy as part of the tribe, to join her.
Wonder Woman shows up next to Nubia and they discuss the Amazon tribes that have gathered with the possibility of having the Bana-Mighdall and Esquecida share the burden of guarding Doom’s Doorway. Nubia decides to have the other Amazons meet Wonder Woman in a diplomatic assembly before the Trial to crown the new Amazon Champion and the future of all Amazons is decided.
As Wonder Woman heads to the diplomatic assembly she is cornered by Faruka. Faruka cuts to the chase and asks Wonder Woman to join the Baha-Mighdall to meet with Artemis and Atalanta. Faruka then brings up how unknown the Esquecida Tribe are. Wonder Woman says she will still stand with the Themysciran Amazons. After locking up for a bit they decide to head to the diplomatic assembly.
In the Hall of Celebration within the Palace of Themyscira Nubia welcomes the Bana-Mighdall and Esquecida. Nubia then speaks on the Trial that will determine the new Amazon Champion who will be charged with guarding the Doom’s Doorway.
Faruka speaks up to call out the fact that Nubia was handed the title of Queen by Hippolyta and questions why the three Amazon Tribes should listen to her. Hearing this Nubia accepts Faruka’s challenge to also hold a competition to decide the Queen of the Amazons.
Elsewhere Philippus finds Hippolyta alone and they share a tender moment together. This does not last long as Philippus is called back to rejoin the assembly.
Later that night as she is walking alone Philippus suddenly senses something wrong with Hippolyta.
Back in the palace Nubia is finds Hippolyta sleeping. Nubia notices a cup of wine dropped on the floor. When she checks on Hippolyta, Nubia is shocked to find out that Hippolyta is dead. End of issue.
The Good: From the very opening of page for Trial of the Amazons #1 you recognize that this is a comic book event made for fans of the Wonder Woman comic books published since Infinite Frontier began. That is great for fans who have kept up with storylines in Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and Nubia & The Amazons. But that is where Trial of the Amazons #1 also runs into its biggest problems as it is not a very welcoming comic book event for new readers.
With how many characters you can see how much it benefitted for Trial of the Amazons #1 to have Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala, Joelle Jones, Michael W. Conrad, and Becky Cloonan collaborating for this first issue. The teamwork between the writers is clear as the voices for each Amazon is captured well to stay consistent with their previous portrayal. Even when there are several Amazons talking from different Amazon Tribes talking you never lose a sense of their personality.
By far the character that got the best work overall was Nubia. This entire issue builds well around how Trial of the Amazons is the biggest test Nubia has faced since becoming Queen of the Themysciran Amazons. That is heavily played into how Nubia works throughout this issue as we see how differently she conducts herself depending on who she is interacting with. With Wonder Woman and Hippolyta we see how heavy the weight of being Queen is on Nubia. She much more open and honest with where her state of mind is. Whereas when she is interacting with Queen Faruka and other Amazons we see a much more confident as she does not back down from any confrontation.
Queen Nubia conducting herself as a leader worked even better with how the tension between Themysciran, Bana-Mighdall, and Esquecida Tribes was very apparent. Even when Faruka and Yara Flor made their statements throughout Trial of the Amazons #1 it was Nubia who acted as the uniting force. She was able to keep the tensions from causing everything to blow up before they held the Trial to crown the new Amazon Champion who will guard Doom’s Doorway.
Nubia’s dynamic with Faruka in particular stood out. Faruka was very much positioned as Nubia’s opposite as how Amazonian Queens conducted themselves. Faruka not hesitating to call out Nubia for being a rookie Queen worked well to set-up the battle these two will have to decide who will ultimately lead the Amazons when all is said and done.
Though Faruka was set up as Nubia’s opposite it was good that they showed us a different side of Faruka’s character through her interaction with Wonder Woman. Through the respect Wonder Woman showed Faruka you understood there was more to the Queen of the Bana-Mighdall than the rough exterior she showed at the Embassy and talk with Nubia. Giving Faruka that depth of character sets her up to be more of a multi-layered character than just simply being the necessary antagonist of the story.
Trial of the Amazons #1 also worked well to establish how Yara Flor and the Esquecida Tribe of Amazons are the big wild cards of this story. This continues the sub-plot of how Yara Flor in particular is a major game changer, as her sudden appearance has major impact for the future of the DC Universe. Continuing that thread made it so Trial of the Amazons #1 could establish Yara and the Esquecida’s importance to the story without having to take away from the set-up necessary to make them a bigger focus later on in the story.
The artwork by Laura Braga, Skylar Patridge, Joelle Jones, and Elena Casagrande was a mixed bag. Individually each artist provides solid artwork. They all work well with bringing out how tense things are between the three Amazon Tribes as they prepare to crown their new Champion. Unfortunately their art styles do not compliment each other so you are left with a story that doesn’t flow as naturally because of the constant change in artists.
The Bad: For all the things I liked about Trial of the Amazons #1 there is a feeling of information overload with what is going on. Without any sort of action to provide a break between the dialogue heavy scenes you do start getting the feeling of wanting to get to the end soon rather than fully immersing yourself in the story.
Especially when you have so many characters talking about the same thing when it comes to the importance of crowning the new Amazon Champion a training sequence or some form of action is needed. It would’ve definitely helped to put over Nubia’s speech at the political assembly about how all Amazons are welcome to participate in the Trial. Training or combat scenes would’ve helped set this aspect of the story up much better than just constant reinteration of what the Trial is about.
It also doesn’t help that you will not feel welcomed if you haven’t been reading the three Wonder Woman titles that have been published over the last year. Trial of the Amazons #1 believes the reader has full knowledge of the events that have been going on in Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and Nubia & the Amazons. If you don’t know the developments in that story than I would not blame readers for being turned off.
Concepts such as Doom’s Doorway or Penelope’s vision of Themyscira burning are said but never fully explained. There is an expectation the reader knows these things ahead of time. This is where even if it was a panel or two, one of the artists for Trials of the Amazons should’ve drawn representation of what was being said by Nubia and others. It would’ve helped get over the importance of what was being said in a visual manner.
Because of how much information is thrown at the reader throughout Trials of the Amazon the ending doesn’t fully hit as intended. While it is a major game changer that someone killed Hippolyta the way it was handled you do feel like the Ron Burgundy meme of how quickly things escalated. Hippolyta’s death at the end of this issue will no doubt be one of the biggest driving forces for the rest of this story. It’s just how it was handled leading up to the final page didn’t connect to be a home run hook ending.
Overall: Trial of the Amazons #1 is all about set-up for what this Wonder Woman event will be about. From all the character dynamics to the surprising death at the end, this first chapter got the job done of what it needed to do to lay the foundation for this event. The thing that holds Trial of the Amazons #1 back is how it does expect the reader to know what has been going on in all the Wonder Woman titles since the start of Infinite Frontier. If you don’t have at least a working knowledge of the current Wonder Woman status quo this event may not be for you.