Artemis: Wanted #1 Review: An Earnest, Essential Trial of DC's Amazons

While the tapestry of DC Comics is filled with compelling characters and corners of canon, it's not always a guarantee that those will be spotlighted in the way they deserve. That has been particularly true for the Wonder Woman "family," which (until very recently) has largely supplementally fleshed out the world of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, as opposed to showcasing its own standalone adventures. Efforts like the recent "Trial of the Amazons" crossover have begun to turn the tide, not only expanding Amazonian lore, but the complex women who exist within it. This week's Artemis: Wanted #1 proves to be the latest example of that trend, offering a compelling coda to the events of "Trial of the Amazons," as well as an exploration of some of Wonder Woman's most under-appreciated supporting characters. 

Set in the aftermath of "Trial of the Amazons," Artemis: Wanted puts the titular exiled member of the Bana-Mighdall in the spotlight. After being accused of responsibility for the death of Amazon queen Hippolyta, Artemis is forced to reconcile with her own past, present, and future, while trying to avoid a conflict with fellow Amazons Donna and Cassie.

As soon as she debuted in the 1990s, Artemis became a distinct part of Amazon lore – a grittier and more headstrong version of what the Wonder Woman mantle is capable of. More recent retcons have taken that even further, depicting her as a young woman who is clearly rooted in both the tribes of Amazon and man's world, but might not feel perfectly at home in either. That feels like the bedrock Artemis: Wanted is built upon, and it ends up being one of the most captivating components of the issue, allowing for some genuinely sweet and solemn moments regarding Artemis' characterization. Simultaneously, as Donna and Cassie take wildly different approaches to bringing Artemis to justice, the book is able to examine what makes them genuinely compelling, as well. It culminates in a read that is incredibly satisfying for even the most casual of Wonder Woman fans, as the value of what each woman brings to the DC universe is explored wholeheartedly.

Along the way, Artemis: Wanted succeeds as both a chapter of "Trial of the Amazons", and a stand-alone installment, with cleverly-placed dialogue and jumps in time providing an entry point for newer readers. The issue ricochets from incredibly personal character drama to massive supernatural fights with ease, in a way that harkens back, in particular, to the Golden and Bronze Age tropes of Wonder Woman books. It's abundantly clear that Vita Ayala has a reverence for this corner of DC canon (as was already obvious from their excellent work on other Wonder Woman-related comics), and their script balances the blend of tropes and themes in a way that's thoroughly entertaining to read.

Skylar Patridge's art across Artemis: Wanted #1 is gorgeous, effortlessly marrying the iconography of Artemis, Donna, and Cassie with the various tropes of the story at hand. (Artemis' massive ponytail of hair, in particular, is beautifully rendered with just enough cartoonish earnestness.) The various facial expressions are brilliantly executed, and the handful of action scenes within the comic vibrate with kinetic energy. Romulo Fajardo Jr.'s color work is also excellent, evoking the flat coloring of classic Wonder Woman books but with a bit of a modern upgrade. Pat Brosseau's lettering ties it all together seamlessly, with blockier and wider lettering allowing for each line of dialogue to really simmer.

To put it simply, Artemis: Wanted is exactly the kind of comic it needed to be – simultaneously a delightful coda to an already-landmark event, and a thorough, cathartic exploration of three under-appreciated characters. Like its titular protagonist, Artemis: Wanted is a bit brutal and haunted, but it has something so much more complex and earnest underneath. With a stellar script and brilliant visuals, Artemis: Wanted showcases the kind of great storytelling that the larger Wonder Woman family deserves, and will hopefully continue to receive.

Published by DC Comics

On July 19, 2022

Written by Vita Ayala

Art by Skylar Patridge

Colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr.

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Letters by Pat Brosseau

Cover by Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio