Saturday, March 09, 2013

Nostalgia Review: Amethyst, Princess Of Gemworld 7

More members of the Houses of Gemworld make themselves known, old feuds are revisited, and stands are made as Amethyst crashes the social event of the year:  the wedding of Lady Sapphire and Prince Topaz.  (Her invitation must have gotten lost in the mail – I’m sure that Gemworld’s postal system has a surplus of whimsy).  After our brief visit to Metropolis, we return to our regularly-scheduled issue of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, already in progress and cover-dated November, 1983. 

Passion!  Intrigue!  Prince Topaz Getting Pimp Slapped!

Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, “The Uninvited”
Written by Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn
Art by Ernie Colón
Cover by George Pérez and Ernie Colón

Edited by Karen Berger

Ah, weddings.  Weddings are always an emotional, stressful affair, what with all the family drama, the frayed tempers, the demanding brides, the nervous grooms, the drunken lothario preying on the desperation of the unattached friends of the bride, the attention whore guest who tries to upstage the bride on her special day, the zombified father of the groom possessed by the evil usurper who murdered the world’s rightful rulers…
If nothing else, this issue makes a strong case for divorce.
The issue opens as the guests begin to arrive at Topaz Keep, all the while, unbeknownst to them, being observed by Amethyst, Citrina, and Lord Garnet though a magical pool of water that Amethyst apparently acquired back in the Amethyst preview, which I don’t have and have never read.
Most notable among the guests are the Asiatic Lord Aquamarine, arriving by boat, Lord Moonstone, whom Citrina reveals stood with Lady and Lord Amethyst until the very end, the still mourning Lady Emerald, and the young and headstrong – so Citrina says – Lady Turquoise.
Unfortunately, this happy occasion finds Lord Topaz desperately ill and bed-ridden, though he’s confident he’ll recover in time, especially with the ministrations of the attendants provided by his daughter.  Unbeknownst to the father of the groom, however, the attendants are in the employ of Dark Opal, who, it turns out, is the cause of Lord Topaz’s distress.
Thanks to Princess Topaz, Opal has a fragment of the Topaz stone in his possession, and as the stone melts in his hand back at Fortress Opal, Lord Topaz shuffles off this mortal coil.
It’s worth noting that for the first time in several issues we see a reappearance of whatever it is that Citrina did to Dark Opal’s hand.

Eww, your hand is all full of Topaz spooge.

Speaking of hands, Carnelian is busy showing off his fancy new mechanical hand to the ladies, spinning a tale of having lost the flesh-and-blood version to some horrid monster.  Lady Turquoise does her best McKayla Maroney, as she is unimpressed by the Red Prince’s story, speculating to Lady Emerald that he probably lost his hand in a rodent trap.  Lady Emerald, still blinded by the grief of losing her daughter, doesn’t pay any heed, seeming to not even notice Turquoise.
A “recovered” Lord Topaz meets with his son – we can tell he’s being controlled by Dark Opal because 1. He’s being kind of a jerk and 2. He’s got evil red eyes – and is telling him that the wedding is happening whether he likes it or not.
We also learn that as part of the wedding ceremony there is some sort of Ritual of Blood that will sever the Prince’s ties to the House of Topaz, and forever link him to the House of Sapphire.
And we’re reminded once again just how whiny Prince Topaz is just before Amethyst makes her presence known:

Whiny and wonder Amethyst didn't stick around.
Out amid the assembled guests there’s another wedding crasher whose appearance is causing a stir:  Lord Garnet.  We learn that there is no love lost between Garnet and Aquamarine, though those differences were set aside after the start of Dark Opal’s reign, and we also learn that Garnet has apparently been in hiding all of these years, which leads Aquamarine to wonder why it is that he’s appearing here, now.  The answer comes in the official coming out of Amethyst.
This, naturally, causes quite a stir, though no one seems to be quite as affected by it as Lady Turquoise, who has perhaps had a bit too much to drink already, and loudly proclaims her loyalty to Amethyst…just as Dark Opal arrives.  (Isn’t it always the way?  You pledge your fealty to the rightful ruler of your world and it turns out the illegitimate dictator is standing right behind you.  Then again, it wouldn’t be a wedding without some kind of faux pas.)
Under the circumstances, though, even Opal can’t really afford to make a move, and so the ceremony is set to proceed.
Garnet, however, has other business to attend to, and while all other eyes are on the bride and groom kneeling before Dark Opal, he follows the Lady Emerald who has positioned herself behind Dark Opal and is prepared to put an end to his reign and have her revenge on the man who killed her daughter.
Garnet stops her and assures her that while the time is not yet right, it will come.
With that out of the way, the wedding proceeds, and we catch glimpses of the various bits of intrigue taking place among those assembled.  Princess Topaz thinks about how, thanks to her deal with Opal, once her brother is married off to Lady Sapphire, the House of Topaz will be all hers, and Amethyst wonders again if there’s some connection between Gemworld and Earth as the priest makes a reference to “The Seven Seas.”
An annoyed Lord Moonstone calls out Carnelian for his drunken, loutish behavior – it seems the monster that Carnelian keeps talking about having killed was the Moonstone family pet – but before the fight can get underway, Lord Topaz(‘s Dark Opal-animated corpse) appeals to Lord Moonstone’s sense of propriety.
Again, weddings…
And now comes the pivotal moment.  Will Prince Topaz go through with it?  Will he surrender his rank and title as a member of the Royal House of Topaz to become the husband of Lady Sapphire?  Will he marry a woman he doesn’t love, a woman who can’t compare to his true love, Princess Amethyst?  He looks through the sea of faces and finds his answer as he locks eyes with Amethyst.
As he tries to walk away, the late Lord Topaz tells him what the five fingers said to the face:

Prince Topaz getting pimp slapped...  *Sniff*  I always cry at weddings.
Amethyst confirms her suspicions by taking a gander at Lord Topaz though that magic water from earlier, and when she tosses it at the late, lamented Lord Topaz, reveals the ugly truth:

Yep...exactly like the last wedding I went to.

Things go downhill from there, and Prince Topaz is forced to skewer the monster that was his father.  I tell you, every wedding has the same old drama…
With that Amethyst calls on those assembled to pick a side in her war with Opal, the whole wedding, as is typical, descends into a big argument, and, knowing that time isn’t right to make his stand, Dark Opal beats a hasty retreat.
Amethyst heads off in pursuit of Dark Opal, but pauses to remind everyone that they have to pick a side.
”For no one can stand silent – and all the Gemworld must be told that Dark Opal may still reign…but Amethyst has returned!”
Up next:  A House of Gemworld is shattered by the Emissaries of Varn, and Jon’s hopes of continuing to read comics are nearly shattered by the Increase in Price.

Some Thoughts:
I should feel bad for Prince Topaz.
Should, but don’t.
I remember really liking Lady Turquoise when she was introduced.  She seemed like fun.  As the story progressed, and particularly a year or so later when DC ran a follow-up Amethyst special before launching the ongoing series, I began to wonder if there was some kind of sub-text with her character, as she continually proves to be somewhat masculine in comparison to the other Ladies and Princesses of Gemworld, and I thought I detected something more than just friendship and fealty going on with her feelings towards Amethyst.  Then again, I was going through puberty back when I was originally reading these, so…

The Art:
As always, Colón excels at the creepiness, and I was glad to return to his vision of Gemworld after the generic version seen in DC Comics Presents.

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