Through the mysteries of the internet, I'm a de facto "authority" on Amethyst. Which is extremely odd, since I've only written abouther once, I think. But her Wikipedia article links to me, and, so, of all the things I have written, my Amethyst post gets me more hits than almost anything. Even more than referrals from the Chicago Spanking Review, which is very fond of my work on Wonder Woman.
Therefore, I feel I should comment on the new conception of Amethyst advanced in her "Zero" issue as part of my series on DC's "Zero Month".
Yesterday, I talked about the Shazam Zero issue, which tackles the difficult job of updating an essentially childish character for a modern audience. DC faces a similar challenge in updating Amethyst, which was an attempt to capture the readership of young girls.
Classic Amy Winston was a 13 year old girl; Modern Amy Winston is 17. This is an understandable change; after all, DC is probably not fooling itself this time into thinking its audiences is pre-pubescent girls.
The change is an understandable one; but not necessarily a wise one. A great deal is lost by making Amy the same age as her Amethyst identity. Young girls (and boys) often wish that they were older and dream about what that would be like (it's the desire upon which the Archie Empire is based). Part of the original concept of the Amethyst story is: be careful what you wish. Because she is older in Gemworld, adulthood is thrust on Amy all at once, and it's not quite the princess-perfect package she'd hoped for. As I mentioned in my previous Amethyst post, one of the first things that happens to Amy in Gemworld is that some ogres plan to gang-rape her. Not exactly a Rainbow Brite problem, is it?
Original Amy Winston was a 13 year old with a normal but unexciting suburban life, who, because of an unsuspected heritage, is suddenly thrust into a world of danger for which she is not prepared (an excellent metaphor for adolescence). Modern Amy Winston is a tough, edgy loner, who knows that she has some mysterious heritage she will soon discover, and whose mother has been training her (seemingly pointlessly) in combat for years while they migrate from town to town. In short, Amy is just about as prepared to become Amethyst as she possibly could be, without actually knowing the truth. In the Zero issue, she's not threatened with rape in Gemworld; she rescues someone else from it in our world. In fact, the most distressing thing for her in Gemworld seems to be that she can no longer control the color of her hair. PLUS, her mother is there to guide her.
Don't misunderstand me. Arriving in Gemworld would be a startlingly event under any circumstances. But in the original story, Amy is armed only with a good solid upbringing by smart caring parents. The Modern Amy Winston is now just another sword-wielding bad-ass ninja chick in dark clothing and funky hair of the type fanboys like so much.
In Justice League Zero, Billy Batson is being updated to give him more meaning in a modern context. DC is trying the same thing with Amethyst in Sword & Sorcery Zero, but I think it has backfired, robbing the character of meaning rather than adding it.
What do you think?