Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis Is Too Fractured To Be Worthwhile!

The Good: Moments of character, Some fun panels
The Bad: Inconsistent artwork, No real character development, Plot falls apart.
The Basics: Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis starts strong, but then becomes a mess as the series it anthologized abruptly came to an end.

When it comes to questionable ideas in comic books, I will be the first to admit that I thought Ame-Comi Girls had hit the conceptual jackpot for terrible ideas. The entire comic book like was created around the DC Collectibles statue/toy line that reimagined popular female characters from the DC Universe in more of an anime style for the costumes and, frankly, overt sexuality. But somehow, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray made it work with Ame-Comi Girls Volume 1 (reviewed here!) and its sequel, enough that I felt the desire to actually complete the saga, picking up Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis, the final compilation of the Ame-Comi Girls comic books.

Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis picks up in the middle of the story begun in Ame-Comi Girls Volume 2: Rise Of The Brainiac (reviewed here!) - in fact the abrupt ending to the story was one of the problems with the prior volume. Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis is a compilation of, essentially, three stories - Hawkgirl's entrance to the narrative, Sinestra's attack on Earth, and then vignettes featuring the Teen Hellions, Space Pirates and random heroines (White Canary and Mera) fighting as "auditions" to join the Justice League. The end of the book is a tremendous departure for Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis and in addition to losing narrative cohesion, it is there that the book loses its charm. There is an abrupt quality to the fight involving Sinestra and the resolution is hardly a satisfying one; so the transition away from the (now) familiar characters is jarring. In some ways, the last portion of Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis feels like the equivalent of test marketing for the new characters!

Opening on Thanagar with Shayera Thath at age ten is rapidly becoming a streetbrawler, much to the dismay of her stepmother and father. Five years later, she is married to Katar, the boy she was protecting while fighting off older boys and the pair work together on the Thanagarian police force. The two are working together when Sinestra and her forces attack Thanagar, killing Katar and making him into a Black Lantern. While fighting against Sinestra, Shayera is rescued by Alana Strange from Rann, who reveals to her the weapon built to try to stop Sinestra - Metra, a manufactured godess.

Alana teleports the newly formed Justice League to Rann to brief them on the impending fight with Sinestra. While all life on Earth is teleported to a safe planet, the Justice League witnesses Alana awakening Metra, which evaluates them and makes them into ringbearers of her light. As Sinestra's ship draws near the abandoned Earth, Supergirl, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Alana Strange bring the fight to space where they are beset by Sinestra's Lantern Corps. The battle is going surprisingly well until Black Lantern Katar arrives and kills Hawkgirl, converting her to a Black Lantern and Sinestra blasts the women fighting on Earth, converting some of them. With the battle turned impossibly against the heroes, Metra enters the fray finally, resolving the fight in an unexpected way.

What follows is the Black Lantern Flash trying to adapt to life after being killed and running around as a Black Lantern, stopping crimes. She is patrolling Keystone City one night when she encounters Red Raven, a vampire, and Red Raven tries to recruit her to the Teen Hellions. Red Raven wants The Flash to accompany her, Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Grrl, and Tempest on a mission to thwart her demon father, Trigon. Protecting Raven's physical body, The Flash helps the team send Trigon back to his own realm.

Big Barda leads space pirates against Empress Darkseid, which leads to Barda being reunited with Miss Miracle. Back on Earth, White Canary fights Pinky Violence and Mera and Black Manta fight one another. And then the book abruptly ends.

Alana Strange and Shayera are given backstories that are extensive enough to allow readers to care about them, though Alana's especially kills the narrative flow of Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis. Obviously, the only way readers are going to care about Alana Strange is by getting her personal history, but it is revealed through several pages of exposition at a time when the main plot narrative is picking up steam. Similarly, Red Raven's sudden backstory in the middle of a fight is distracting from the flow.

Following the battle between Metra and Sinestra, Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis falls completely apart. The vignettes that follow are packed with obscure characters and the artwork is very inconsistent. In fact, it becomes a labor to continue reading short stories of characters who then go nowhere.

Ame-Comi Girls Volume 3: Earth In Crisis is a disappointing ending to a series that started as a pleasant surprise.

For other big team-up books, please check out my reviews of:
Kingdom Come
The Brave And The Bold Volume 1: The Lords Of Luck


For other graphic novel reviews, please check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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