Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Aquamen #1 Review

Will The Real Aquaman Please Stand Up?

Written by: Chuck Brown, Brandon Thomas
Art by: Sami Basri
Colors by: Adriano Lucas
Letters by: Andworld Design
Cover art by:  Travis Moore, Adriano Lucas
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: February 22, 2022

Aquamen #1 picks up after the events of Aquaman: The Becoming and Black Manta’s solo series when a new threat emerges, turning ordinary surface dwellers into raging, violent fanatics in the name of Atlantis. What's behind this mass hysteria and how can the Aquamen stop it?

Was It Good?

Aquamen #1 is the latest in a series of books geared towards elevating Jackson Hyde as a worthy successor to his seminal namesake. Does this issue grab readers in the first issue as the start to a truly epic tale? Sorta but not really.

Let's talk about the positives and what works. The art from Basri is generally good, buoyed by excellent coloring from Lucas. The character designs are excellent, and readers get big action set pieces to inform readers that the threat level for the challenge ahead is high.

The general scale and scope of the story are decent enough. Nuggets are dropped along the way to tease the arrival of some big presence or world-threatening event. It's too early to tell what exactly is the nature of the event, but Brown and Thomas do a solid job teasing out curiosity for whatever comes next.

That said, the main weak point of this issue is the characters (with an 's' as in plural). Jackson is more unsettled and erratic than when we left him at the end of his own series. Aquaman is overly worried and cautious to the point of seeming afraid. Both characters are pushed to uncommon extremes for their respective personalities and it doesn't read as true or authentic.

The secondary weak point of the characters is the lack of sense in how they respond to what's going on around them. For example, a gigantic sea monster floods the UN and the surrounding areas of NYC. The sudden rush of water is greater than any tsunami in recorded history, likely killing thousands of people. However, Jackson keeps yelling about making sure nobody gets hurt, including the sea monster, and Arthur expresses worrying concern when Jackson knocks out a few of the sea monster's teeth as though Jackson has lost all control. None of these characters' actions or motivations make sense in context and it's as if Brown and Thomas are unaware of what's happening in the surroundings of their own story. It's a bizarrely off-kilter read.

In all, it's an okay start. The characters all feel off for what we already know of them and how they respond in the situation. That said, the threat feels big and there's enough curiosity to move forward.

Make sure to listen to our Weekly DC Comics Recap and Review Podcast to hear us talk more about this book.  Just look up "Weird Science DC Comics" anywhere you listen to podcasts, and make sure to rate, review, and subscribe!

Bits and Pieces

Aquamen #1 kicks off with large-scale mayhem and stakes. The art is decent, there's plenty of big action, but the characters all feel off and bizarrely disconnected from what's happening around them.

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