Two Aquamans For The Price Of One: Reviewing ‘Aquamen’ #1
by Scott Redmond
Aquamen’s debut issue is the right amount of fun, emotion, and action as it weaves a story built on pre-existing threads that is built to welcome in any new passengers coming on board for this grand journey. It’s a bold and beautiful time for the Aquaman/Atlantis portion of DC Comics, and the fans of those realms are going to be eating quite well for the foreseeable future.
No matter what some out there might say, Aquaman is a super cool character with a world setting that is rife with so much amazing potential within the DC Universe. Now we get two Aquamen for the price of one, and their new series is off to a fantastic start.
After finishing off the recent Black Manta and Aquaman: The Becoming mini-series, writers Chuck Brown and Brandon Thomas are teaming up just like the leads from their respective mini-series for this new Aquamen series. While there are things that carry over from those two mini-series (such as the state of Jackson Hyde’s mother, Jackson’s rise to being Aquaman, what Manta is up to, etc), the first issue is pretty much fully new reader-friendly. Kicking off with some an old-school-type battle between the two Aquamen and Ocean Master (and a sea serpent he had enthralled) really helped with that.
There is a wonderful chaotic energy that runs through the issue, as we intercut between Jackson/Arthur and Black Manta before the two storylines come crashing together at the end with the conclusion that leaves Jackson quite shocked. There is a ton of action going on but it’s accompanied by the same really great character moment/work that both writers were displaying in their previous mini-series.
Not only is this a fun but emotional book from the writing side of things, but the artwork is really bright and superhero-like and fun while still coming with a very serious edge. Sami Basri knocks it out of multiple parks at the same time here, presenting a big bold, and bright world and story. As mentioned before the issue has many spots where it bounces between characters/settings and that flows so smoothly with the way that Basri handles the paneling, especially the pages where the changes happen panel to panel. It flows perfectly and never misses a beat.
All the action is dynamic and the opening double spreads with the sea serpent and Ocean Master’s attack are spectacular ways to open an issue. Adriano Lucas remains in this Aquaman world after bringing the colors to Aquaman: The Becoming and brings the same bright colorful but dark energy over here. All the big superhero/otherworldly/fantastical things are shiny and bright and smooth but there is the right amount of shadows to bring depth and fit the emotional tone that is needed. Especially in Manta’s pages which are going to inherently come with a bit of a darker edge.
Another figure that remains from the previous minis is the folks at Andworld Design taking care of the lettering here. As usual, they are able to bring great life, personality, and life through the words just by simple things like font changes for whispers or yelling and other elements that help things stand apart. All of the SFX have their own personality too and are very much a part of what is happening on the page, helping one feel what is meant to be heard at this moment.
All around this is a great premiere issue that leaves one definitely wanting to see what comes next. This is an Atlantean ride that I’m excited to be part of each month. It’s a good time for Aquaman/Atlantis fans.
Aquamen #1 is now on sale in print and digital from DC Comics.