REVIEW: Aquaman #1

Despite a prominent role in a  Justice League arc that led to a DC universe animated movie and boat load of internet chatter following a cameo role in the recent Batman vs Superman movie,  Aquaman still remains one of the most water logged heroes of the DC pantheon. Rebirth was a chance to somehow right the ship, to steer a new course.  Yet instead, DC runs to the usual story of the Atlantean’s and the landlocked.

It is a bold day.  Spindrift Station, an embassy, a link and a bridge between two worlds opens it’s doors.  This presents recurring characters-to-be the opportunity to make their mark.  Also along for the ride is an enemy out to maintain the distrust between the two races.

Dan Abnett writes a functional story, that pretty much continues the ongoing distrust vibe that has been a mainstay for large parts of Aquaman’s history.  Along with the functional element, the pacing of the story is also standard with the acts playing out as you would expect.  Dialogue wise, its much the same to be honest.  As for new characters,  I am not sure if I charmed or annoyed by the “Ainsley Hayes” elements of Lieutenant Stubs.  Abentt tries to show that casual racism is also a part of the problem facing both sides, with Mera thought of as a “mermaid”.  Still, for all the positives tackling this specific problem,  I don’t know any Brit that still says “crikey”.   Maybe Abnett knows more people than I do, but still, thanks for the sterotype.

Brad Walker has worked both sides of the Big Two aisle, albeit on books that I haven’t picked up.  Looking at his work with fresh eyes then; I can see why Walker has been a success.  Many times, I have spoken about “house styles”.  Here Walker shuns that, going for a cartoony, almost caricature style that somehow emphasizes the silliness of superheroes in general.  Walker’s strength is definitely his faces whilst they are the main focus, sometimes those in the background can lack the same sort of style.  Andrew Hennessey provides the inks that suit Walker’s over the top style, with colors by Gabe Eltaeb adding a four color brightness to the whole affair.

Aquaman is probably my least favourite DC character, even behind Plastic Man.  Some of that is environmental, under water stories don’t hold much attraction to me.  The other is that I feel that DC actually do Aquaman a massive disservice in their ongoing drive to make him a standard superhero.  Let’s not forget, he is a King.  This should open up other story ideas rather than the hero against a bog standard villain.  Make the book a mature book and threw in some politics and not the comic book metaphor politics.  With the amount of comics that DC are pumping out in a month, Aquaman needs to a premium book to escape the following tide.  On this issue alone, I think that ship has, unfortunately sailed.

Writing – 2.5 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors – 3 Stars

STORY BY Dan Abnett
ART BY Scot Eaton, Oscar Jimenez, Mark Morales
COLORS BY Gabe Eltaeb
LETTERS BY Pat Brosseau
COVER BY Brad Walker, Drew Hennessey, Gabe Eltaeb,
PUBLISHER DC Comics

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