Turning sixteen is a pretty major landmark in life for both everyday humans and superheroes.
It’s a symbolic age where young adults start to prepare themselves for adulthood by learning to be more independent and self-sufficient, but it really isn’t as simple as it sounds. In Amethyst #1, written and illustrated by Amy Reeder, we get to see all the circumstances that lead to sixteen-year-old Amy Winston’s—AKA Princess Amethyst’s—journey to save her realm in Gemworld while learning to be more independent and make decisions for herself.
Now, as a former teenage girl, I know what life as one can be like. But living a double life as a teenage girl on Earth AND as a princess with magical abilities on Gemworld is a whole other story that has to come with a lot more pressure (and headaches, for sure).
The first few panels of Amethyst #1 show Amy celebrating her sixteenth birthday on Earth with her human parents. Starting the Amethyst series on Amy’s birthday feels very symbolic since she’s in the process of transitioning toward adulthood and is left in a situation where she’ll have to make her own decisions without the help of adults. It feels quite timely for her to have to step into this role of decision making when she would normally seek help from adults like Citrine, her caretaker, and Granch, her bodyguard.
This makes me think back to a time when I was younger, and my grandma had left for Mexico for a whole month for the first time. All the kids, including myself, were left to fend for ourselves while she was away. Even at 15, I honestly didn’t realize how much I relied on her for help until she was gone. I couldn’t even do the simplest of things without questioning whether I was making the right decisions. There was definitely a lot of trial and error and relying on my instincts while she was away. Her month-long absence gave me my first reality check as a teen, and I find it relatable to what Amy was feeling in this issue.
Amy’s realization that she is the only hope for the Amethyst realm serves as a reality check for her as well. She has never had to face something like this alone before and has always had someone on her counsel to assist, protect and guide her. Sadly, even her closest and most trusted friend and the people from her neighboring realm refuse to assist her. So, she really is all on her own.
When she has her subjects and counsel by her side, she has authority. But because there is no one from her kingdom to give her that credibility, it seems like the others don’t trust her to handle anything alone. (However, it also seems like there may also be other external factors we don’t fully know about yet at play here as well.) Amy inherited the throne to the Amethyst realm at thirteen without really having to earn it, she was basically born into it. Now, she has the opportunity to prove she is capable to save her kingdom, earn the respect of other kingdoms and make diplomatic declarations in her own right.
It's really quite interesting to see how determined Amy is in this issue to save her kingdom, even at her most vulnerable point. While going through all of this, she manages to keep a positive attitude throughout it all and think back to what her trusted advisors would say to help her remain calm and keep her motivated to carry on. At just barely sixteen years old, she has already started to show strong determination and perseverance to help save those that need her now more than ever.
So far, being alone and learning to be independent has even opened up a few new opportunities for Amy. By the end of the issue, Amy finds herself teaming up with a person (and super adorable giant worm) that she probably never would have associated herself with if she weren’t put in this kind of scenario. There’s much yet for Amy to learn, and with new allies by her side, her journey will only become more meaningful.
Learning to do things on your own is both a scary and rewarding part of life. It’s scary because it may be a difficult transition to make, since mistakes will most definitely be made, BUT it’s rewarding at the same time because at the end of it all you gain confidence in yourself and learn to become independent. Overall, it opens a window for self-discovery and self-fulfillment which it appears will parallel Amy’s journey in restoring and saving her mysteriously vanished Amethyst kingdom. Amy Reeder has set us up for an exciting journey in Amethyst’s opening chapter. As a fantasy fan and as someone who survived turning sixteen (it’s possible, kids!), I’m eager to continue traversing Gemworld with Princess Amethyst and diving deeper into her personal growth.
Lissete Gonzalez writes about film, TV and comics for DCComics.com. Follow her on Twitter at @lissete74.