NTS #2 – Forever Amber

New Talent Showcase #2 (Forever Amber)
Writer – Rich Margopoulos
Pencils – Stan Woch
Inks – Rick Magyar
Letters – Andy Kubert
Colors – Jeanine Casey
Edits – Roger Slifer

Man, it feels like it’s been Forever… since we last read Amber… or something.  In fact, it’s actually been fifteen days!  If you need a refresher on exactly what’s going on, feel free to pop over to Part One!

We open with Amber approaching a sketchy-looking bar located at a Thailand port.  Inside she bee-lines it over to two fellas who she hopes might be able to provide her with safe-passage into San Francisco.  The one dude tells her to buzz off… to which, she plops a sack full of jewels in his lap.  The other dude still thinks taking her along isn’t worth the risk, and pulls his gun… to which, she tells him to go ahead and shoot her!  Ya see, their tub is set to meet up with an opium dealer somewhere offshore… and her death might just cause the authorities to begin sniffing around.

And so, they decide to let Amber tag along on their trip to the States.  We catch up with them a few nights later, when one of the fellas in charge enters Ambers room… and proceeds to force himself on her.

Amber tries fighting him off… even starts shining up the Sun-Stone in her palm to take care of the scumbag “for good”… but, decides against it.  Her only purpose right now is revenge against her father… and so, she just lets it happen.

Until… they are interrupted by shots being fired by the Cambodian Pirates they’re supposed to be doing the Opium deal with!  Ya see, the Pirates seem to have changed their minds.  They’ll take the payment… but, now they’ve decided they’re going to keep the merchandise too!  Oh, and they’re going to kill everybody on board too.  So, yeah… bummer day.

Amber ain’t gonna take none’a this laying down, and so she gets all up in the Pirate’s face… to, well, offer sexual favors if he lets her live.  The Pirate doesn’t even have to think about it… he refers to her as a tramp and goes to push her away.  When he does, however, he notices the Sun-Stone embedded in her hand… and decides he wants it for his own.

At this point, Amber’s got no qualms about firin’ that bad boy up and making it do the hoo-doo it does.  With but a smack, the Head Pirate in Charge is turned to… forever amber.  The Pirates and the Smugglers then start rumblin’!

It isn’t long before the Smugglers come out on top… and, at this point, Amber’s taken control of the entire operation.  She orders the dead pirates tossed off into the sea… and the Smugglers (including the fella who, just minutes before forced himself on her) all oblige because… I mean, she’s one scary broad!

Six weeks later, the tub arrives in San Francisco… and our Smugglers learn the hard way not to screw with our gal, Amber.  When they go to seal-the-deal on the Opium sale… turns out, Amber got there first, and used her weird alchemical powers to turn the booty into glass.

We wrap up with Amber attempting to get into some sort of warehouse… only to be discovered by the Po-lice.

This was pretty great!  I feel like so far (I mean, we’re only two issues in…) New Talent Showcase is ending with its strongest story.  Last week, Class of 2064 blew me away, and now Forever Amber really killed it!  This chapter was just awesome.

When I first opened up to this one, I assumed it would start with “Three Months Later… in the United States” or something.  I didn’t think we’d actually see her travels… or really, have any reason to.  I feel like, in showing it, we get to see just how “down and dirty” the underworld can be.  Amber, really not having any other options… and at this point, nothing left to lose, is forced to just let things happen… so long as it leads to her ultimate goal.  This was an uncomfortable read… but, worth it.

I also dig that we learned that Amber’s powers can work on actual “things” rather than only on people.  Her turning the opium into just shards of amber was pretty cool… and, we gotta assume that her sex-pest very likely paid the ultimate price for that.

Really good stuff here.  Not sure how many more chapters we have for this feature.  I’m hoping (though doubting) we have many more to come.

Tomorrow: The compilation of 2
Then: Ho-Ho-Ho… or, izzit Oh-Oh-Oh?

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