Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Aquaman: The Becoming #1 Review

If it walks like a YA comic, and it talks like a YA comic...

Written By: Brandon Thomas
Art By: Diego Olortegui, Wade von Grawbadger, Adriano Lucas, and Andworld Design
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 21, 2021

Aquaman: The Becoming #1 is definitely a YA comic. Readers are (re)introduced to Jackson Hyde as he trains to fill in for Arthur Curry who's away on a mission to Mars(???). All the while, Jackson battles laughably corny criminals, has breakfast with his mom, goes gaga for cute boys, and does it all with a winning smile and hair that just knows what it wants to do. It's all so wholesome and fabulous until a jealous Atlantean decides to put Jackson's privileged butt in his place.
Was It Good?

Overall, it's not bad. I'm having a little fun with the cheeky blurb above, but honestly, it's a fine Aquaman-ish comic squarely aimed at the YA crowd looking for LGBTQ+ superhero content.

The tone is lighthearted, slice-of-life material for the vast majority of the issue. Things only get serious in the last few pages when the main villain makes an entrance and flips Jackson's world upside down. Before that point, Jackson is living the carefree life of a wholesome teenager.

In many ways, Jackson's life mirrors the almost stereotypical life of a high schooler in Anytown USA. He has supportive parents that love him. His father figure/coach, Arthur Curry, helps Jackson train to become the best he can be. Jackson's circle of friends (the Titans), lovingly tease Jackson about his latest criminal capture (aka job) while simultaneously encouraging him for doing the right thing.

We get a love/crush at first sight scene between Jackson and a boy who just started working at the diner Jackson's mom frequents. The scene is so awkward but in a good way.  You can't help thinking "OMG, they would be so ADORBS together." And we learn the main villain, mostly heard through surveillance narration, has it out for Jackson because of his perfect, privileged life. It's Mean Girls 101, and the only thing missing from this inaugural issue is a prom scene.

If that sounds like your kind of Aquaman content, you'll be in hog heaven.

The art is good-to-pretty-good for this issue. The linework is excellent. The few fight scenes presented have energy and impact. And the colors are bold and visually interesting. The one point I playfully alluded to in the blurb that may be fine for you or a down point is Jackson's hair. It never stops moving, almost to the point of distraction. If the majority of the issue was underwater, the movement would make sense, but the majority of the issue is on dry land, so you can't help but notice something weird is going on with those dreads. It sounds like a small thing, but it becomes increasingly distracting as the issue progresses.

Bits and Pieces

Aquaman: The Becoming #1is the YA version of Aquaman you've always dreamed of having. Jackson Hyde is the perfect, All-American High School sweetheart that practically helps old ladies across the street, saves kittens trapped in trees, and has an emotionally healthy relationship with everyone in his life. For some, the wholesomeness may be too saccharine-sweet for your taste, but YA fans will eat it up and ask for more.


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