Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Aquamen #2 Review


Writer: Brandon Thomas, Chuck Brown
Artist: Sami Basri
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 22, 2022

I was not a fan of either Aquaman: The Becoming or Black Manta, so I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed the first issue of Aquamen.  Maybe it was seeing Arthur back, but I also enjoyed the intelligent depiction of Black Manta and was intrigued by the overall mystery going on in the book.  So, I was pumped to see if my enjoyment continued going into this issue.  Let's find out if that was the case...

Aquamen #2 opens up right where we left off in the last issue's cliffhanger.  Jackson is not very happy that Aquaman tells them that they are teaming up with Black Manta and flips out.  I get it.  Jackson has a lot of daddy issues, and really, Black Manta is one of the worst villains out there.  Plus, Jackson does think Manta killed a man and is cutting him apart.

My problem here is that Jackson won't get past that one-note for the entire issue.  Brandon Thomas and Chuck Brown seem to want to present more of a mystery here, but it feels out of nowhere and gives off mixed signals.

The overall mystery continues with Jackson leaving with the body of the man Black Manta was studying and taking it to Atlantis.  Again, we get to see some fan-favorite characters (and surprises) as they discover this man was probably controlled and was perhaps a sleeper-agent spy.  Meanwhile, the feds are finding similar things at the site of the house explosion from the last issue, and Aquaman and Black Manta continue working together as well.

The Aquaman / Black Manta stuff gets a little fuzzy as we see them shutting down the signal device in the Ninth Tride of Atlantis while Jackson starts investigating what is wrong with Aquaman.  However, with everything that has happened recently, I didn't think it was suspicious for Aquaman to team up with Black Manta, and in fact, I thought he was doing it to help out Jackson.  But, unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case, and whether or not this is really Arthur or if he is mind-controlled or not, it is already feeling like he will end up being the villain of the story, and I hope that's not the case.

Also, I wouldn't say I liked seeing Jackson take a heel turn at the end.  I understand he has a lot going on here with his mother still in a coma and his mentor running around with his piece of shit father, but what he does to Orm at the end is too much.  We still have a ton of story to go, and everything will no doubt twist and turn all over the place, but overall, this issue left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.  Maybe I was looking for more of a feel-good story altogether, but I am still going to hope we eventually get there with as minor damage as possible. 

Bits and Pieces:

Aquamen #2 was a bit down for me, and while I am still intrigued with the overall mystery, the characterizations have me worried.  The art is outstanding, and there is some cool fan service going on, but I am already struggling with the book's dark tone.  I understand that is all on me, so your mileage may vary, but I wish that finally having Arthur and a larger Aqua-Family in a book together would make me smile more.


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