I have to say, I never in my dreams expected to be writing an Aquaman review, especially with all the grief that has been leveled at the King of Atlantis on The Definitive Crusade podcast. But here we are, swimming against the tide somewhat.
Despite being switched from the twice-a-month schedule, to the perceived second tier of monthly books, Aquaman celebrates its 25th Rebirth issue with an extra pages anniversary issue and a change of pace. Arthur Curry is now the disposed King. Thought as dead by the new powers that be, Arthur ekes out an existence in the slums of the Night Tride of Atlantis. Still, as with many a hero before him, Arthur can’t help but defend the downtrodden and punish those responsible. Indeed, with each action, the Ghost of the Aquaman gains more and more substance, going as far as to acquire a new sidekick of sorts.
Dan Abnett has been writing a storm over in Titans and it is great to see the new direction that he is taking this book. Enough of the idea that Atlantis is just a New York or Gotham underwater; enough with the idea that Aquaman is a typical hero. Abnett has started to show that Arthur possess the heart of a King, ironically by removing him from the throne. Taking this step allows Abnett to show the political side of Atlantis. This gives the book a wordy look, which shouldn’t put anyone off and in fact is another welcome change to any number of comics that are on the rack. In his hands, the Ghost of Aquaman seems like a cross between Year One Batman and the Netflix show Daredevil; each relies on rumours that create a bigger picture and ensures that there is plenty of action to go with the political shenanigans.
As good as the writing is, it’s the art by Stjepan Sejic, (Witchblade, Sunstone), that will really grab your attention. Sejic delivers an underwater kingdom that actually looks like an underwater kingdom. The attention to detail is amazing, the figure work excellent and the facial elements express a level of emotion an engagement that is rarely seen. True there is the odd panel, Aquaman swimming at speed for example, that doesn’t quite work, but that is easily forgiven. Sejic’s style is especially gorgeously evident to see with his version of Mera, drawn as royally as a Queen should be. As an aside, with Sejic’s skill; just wait for his guest art-work on Suicide Squad #20; and the increased number of her guest appearances, I would love to see Sejic on a Catwoman book or one-shot! Sejic also provides the colors for his art, a painted affair that give the book a different level of quality. The painted look is becoming more popular, the underwater scenes with is diffused light source make it a perfect fit.
With Aquaman’s appearance in the up and coming Justice League movie gaining a lot attention, it’s about time that DC got around to showing Arthur Curry and his fans, some love. With Abnett and Sejic on board, it is now safe to go back into the water.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
(W) Dan Abnett (A/CA) Stjepan Sejic