Aquaman #44 Review

by Hussein Wasiti on January 23, 2019

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Robson Rocha
Inking by Daniel Henriques
Colouring by Sunny Gho
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
I'm having a very hard time reading this book. Aquaman is a character I equally struggle with and I have a hard time connecting to himself as well as his world. Everything from Mera to Atlantis comes across as very boring to me. Marvel's Thor is the obvious comparison but numerous creators have done a wonderful job with the character by giving him defining traits and amazing stories, but nothing of the sort has been done for Aquaman. Geoff Johns' run is fantastic but short-lived, and it seems that his shadow will forever be cast upon the character. All this to say, this new run isn't doing it for me at all.
Aquaman needs a strong artistic voice and I think Robson Rocha was the right choice, along with his regular inker Daniel Henriques and new collaborator Sunny Gho. All three of these artists are doing wonderful work here. From a design sense Rocha in particular did a great job delineating the settings of Arthur and Mera, the former living on this bare island while the latter is in her palace and is wearing extravagant clothing. I did find some oddities with Rocha's detail, however. On the fourth page of the issue, the first featuring Arthur, there is a surprising lack of detail on Arthur himself given how the first three pages look. Arthur isn't even too far away. I found this page rushed, and unfortunately this did carry out through for a few pages after this.
Kelly Sue DeConnick's plot doesn't really impress me. On a fundamental level, I don't care about literally any of the characters Arthur interacts with. DeConnick is more concerned with building up the mystique of the island and the people living on it rather than the people themselves. Following the ending of the last issue, which was relatively speaking very exciting, there is no momentum from the last issue to this one to the point where I re-read last issue's ending. I thought the ending didn't happen, but sure enough, it did. The pacing is a big sticking point for me. There's an extended scene between Arthur and a woman named Caille, but the conflict the characters have between each other is immediately tossed out in the next scene. The page space economy isn't handled well at all, which disappoints me on a very deep level as I really like DeConnick.
I was willing to give this run a bit more leeway after last issue but I was disappointed yet again. I'm sure someone out there will find something to like here. Other than the art, which itself felt rushed, there wasn't much for me to enjoy here.

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