Aquaman #1

by Ian B on June 22, 2016

Written by: Dan Abnett

Drawn by: Brad Walker

Coloured by: Gabe Eltaeb

Lettered by: Pat Brosseau



Aquaman #1 follows up on several threads that were introduced in the Aquaman: Rebirth one-shot, namely Black Manta wanting to destroy Aquaman's life, as well as Aquaman's dream to create a bridge between the sea and land through the use of an Atlantean Embassy. Tensions remain high due to recent actions and invasions by Atlantis, and it is up to Aquaman to not only force his nation out of the shadows, but to show the world that Atlantis has much to offer them.



The story revolves around the opening of the Atlantean embassy, and introduces us to a new character, a young Royal Navy officer who will be working as a liaison between Britain and Atlantis named Joanna Stubbs. The story mainly follows her and Ray Delane, a reporter for the Daily Planet, as they are shown around the embassy and taught about how it functions. Not a lot happens in this issue until the end, but through interactions between her and a young Atlantean officer, we get glimpses into how the Atlantean military is structured, and we get to see just how similar, and how different, the Atlanteans are to the rest of the world.



The art, however, is where the book takes a real dive. The art on the characters is bad. Some of the faces look misshapen, and on more than one occasion I thought that I may have been looking at Plasticman because the proportions were so off. This isn't to say that the art is entirely without merit, the backgrounds look great, there are lots of small details scattered around such as the presence of lots of fish swimming around in any scene with water, and Black Manta's costume in particular looks spot on. The artwork on many of the characters just ruins the illusion created by those details. During one scene where we are introduced to the Atlantean officer, I honestly had no idea what emotion they were trying to convey, and as such I couldn't get a read on what his character was going to be, a smug, surface hating jerk or a confident man trying to set a nervous person at ease. It turned out it was the latter, but the artwork made me think it was the former.



Ultimately this issue is a lot of set-up for future stories, but done fairly well. I was interested in the new characters that they had introduced, I enjoyed learning a bit more about the Atlantean way of life, and we had some good moments between Aquaman and Mera. If the artwork had been better, I would have been very happy with this issue, but as it stands, this issue is simply a good story with a lot to build on surrounded by odd proportions and incomprehensible facial expressions.

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