Aquamen takes in its final pages to set aside the superheroics and dive deeper into the intricacy of human interaction/connection, the mixing of politics and fear, as well as grief and the toll of unexpected losses. This has been a truly beautiful and character-driven series that has done so much to expand this family of characters and their world. It will be deeply missed.
It is never easy when things come to an end, especially when they are things that are fun and resonate or bring new life to that which we might love. For a lot of the past year, there has been a great bit of life brought to the Atlantis/Aqua-Family side of the DC Universe through Aquaman: The Becoming, Black Manta, and Aquamen. While the time of these books and their creators leading the way for this family of characters is over, what those moments brought to the fandom will resonate hopefully for years to come.
With the Atlantean sleeper cell threat and Scavenger ended, the Aquamen and their allies do not have a lot of time to reflect or relax. Chuck Brown and Brandon Thomas use the real estate they are given in this final issue to handle so much. There are tons of great character moments, deep discussions about the surface world and Atlantis’ relationship (whether war will happen or not), really big emotional moments, and more. None of it feels rushed or shoehorned in or left dangling by the time the final pages roll around. It almost feels like the issue is double-sized rather than being just standard length.
The last issue brought the “big damn hero” moments, as I referred to them in that review, but here there are more personal things at stake. Some characters repair their strained relationships, others have their solid relationships chipped away, and there is even a rekindling of a classic romantic relationship from DC Comics of the past.
Without spoiling things fully, I really like how they were able to weave in the recent death of the Justice League moment into this story to create a very real situation where sometimes we are not able to have the final moments, we might want with those we love before they are gone. Deaths are basically a temporary resting period within the world of comics, many heroes having gone through it many times, but using those deaths to tell powerful stories and tap into realistic feelings is what makes issues like this stand above and stand out.
For this final issue, Adriano Lucas is still on colors but Max Raynor steps in to handle the artwork (Sam Barsi and Vincente Cifuentes can actually be found over in the latest Catwoman issue). Just like the previous artists, Raynor does a great job at nailing the paneling and close-ups for this issue especially since this is a very emotion/character-driven issue. Near the end, there is a couple of pages of mostly silent pages where the panels are just done so beautifully that the emotion is radiating off them.
There is a weight to this world, and whether in the depths of Atlantis or in secret areas of the surface world, the areas have a distinct feeling to them and energy. This is enhanced by the colors of Lucas making sure that even areas in the same place, like say Atlantis, do not just feel like single-color copies of one another. Colors are bright and powerful with the darkness/shadows encroaching on the edges more and more, especially once we reach the ending and characters are feeling a heavy weight upon them.
Lettering that is done by those at Andworld Design is always going to be fantastic and bring such energy to whatever story is being put together. Being a more personal and emotionally heavy issue, they make sure that this tone and energy is matched in the dialogue/captions. Volume and tone are clear which is important in a story like this when we know that the characters are whispering, or their voice is breaking in dealing with the moments. Being a quieter issue, there isn’t much SFX in play but where it does pop up in the few action heavier scenes, they maintain their big bold in-your-face colorful energy that makes sure that these SFX are an important part of whatever is happening.
This is a series that I’m saddened to see end, as it has done so much for the Aquaman-related characters and world while also just being a fantastic comic with so much to say about the world and relationships. Hopefully, there is more to come with these characters soon in some capacity, but that won’t stop one from missing this book and what could have been.
Aquamen #6 is now available.