“Who is Artemis?” Prologue
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Kenneth Rocafort
Scott Lobdell is a gem. I am here for him running this series. To refresh or for those who did not know, Lobdell is the writer who broke Marvel’s “no openly gay” hero rule, and by doing so welcomed significant narratives in the comic book world. Not all heroes wear capes and a pen is mightier than the sword. I love that he continues to, still, challenge his readers to widen their horizons, while still being jesting, entertaining and tragic.
Issue #8 is a “pause” on the hectic lives of these thrown together outlaws: Jason Todd, Bizarro, and Artemis. Before they begin their quest to find Artemis’ bow, we must connect to her character.
Stirk projects an image into Artemis of her past friend, Akila, which Jason takes care of. Artemis, after issues of her warming up to Jason, finally begins to open up. She tells Jason the story of Akila and their tragedy. She was Artemis’ closest friend; I speculate that she is coded in love with Artemis. And Lobdell does a good job at teasing us with “what if” questions. The artists, Rocafort and Brown, do an amazing job revealing their relationship structure through the art, the point that catches my attention is where the two are finished training. They are strong, close women, who have vibrant chemistry. Lobdell complements their drawn body language with coded dialogue. When Akila speaks to Artemis, she is almost pining:
“If I have to do this—I don’t want to do it alone…I don’t want to do anything without you.”
And she’s taken away. After vocally stating she does not want to be a part of their culture or become the Shim’Tar, but she is stripped away to become the Shim’Tar. Their love is apparent when Artemis finds her wounded body and takes her into nurture her:
We see how human Artemis is.
It all falls apart. Whenever Wonder Woman appears, she steals the show, and even Artemis noted that by calling her:
“the walking epitome of everything I had dreamed of becoming but never would.”
Wonder Woman informs Artemis that Akila is no longer Akila. Akila, who is now a possessed, is taken down by her own, beloved friend.
We now have a deeper understanding of Artemis and with this we find commonality within the dark trinity. They each have to fight their own demons and master their traumas so they can master their strength.
Comics are political. And that’s one of the reasons why DC is killing it! I loved the backstory. Overall, this issue is a beauty, and can even be read as a great introduction. It doesn’t progress the story, but it will give the future story more meaning. I have been loving the back and forth banter Jason shares with, well, everyone. We can see this Dark Trinity becoming something strong, and I cannot wait to see where they go.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment