Continuing with the DC Universe’s Futures End one-shots, we take a look at how Aquaman is faring five years into the future. Has he finally brought peace, justice, and open-mindedness to the Atlanteans? Or do they still hate all-things surface-dweller? We’re betting it’s the latter.
Previously in Futures End: The war with forces from Earth 2 has been hard on everyone forever changing the DC Universe. DC lets us look in on all our favorite characters to see how things are shaping up for them five years from now. For Aquaman, things ain’t looking too good.
THE ATLANTEANS ARE REVOLTING… AGAIN
Five years after the war, Arthur Curry has again taken it upon himself to heal relations between Atlantis and the surface world. Despite constant skirmishes with the ever-disgruntled Atlanteans, a vision of doom from Sayeh, and the summoning of a dead king, Aquaman staunchly continues construction on an Atlantean island outpost with the help of the Outsiders, including his apparent new girlfriend Ya’wara. Attempting to soothe relations with Atlantis where Queen Mera rules in his stead, he finds things run a little differently now, as Mera has different ideas on how Atlantis should be governed. Arthur also gets a hard lesson in why one should never cheat on their Xebelian spouse.
Jurgens hasn’t really made this issue stand out from the rest of the New 52 Future’s End one-shots. As far as surprises go, what transpires in this issue isn’t exactly surprising. The displeased Atlanteans are trying to replace their king with a newer and shinier model. Aquaman is having issues soothing relations between the surface world and Atlantis. His marriage to Mera is beyond strained. It’s all pretty standard stuff for the Aquaman mythos. Really, the only surprising part of this issue is that Ya’wara has replaced Mera as Arthur’s main squeeze, but even that isn’t an amazing revelation given the sexual tension between the two.
What could have been better developed—and indeed may develop in Aquaman and the Outsiders—is the summoning of the Dead King. It really feels like Jurgens is grasping at any plot point he can to make Aquaman feel fresh and new, even if that means taking a deus ex approach to resurrecting a dead Atlantean king and even that’s not enough to make this issue amazing.
UNDAH DA SEA
Martinez and Sotomayor present a nice looking book. Martinez provides adequate work though I question how stagnant various characters’ hair looks underwater where I’d expect it to be much more flowy and wild. Still, Martinez has put in a lot of work to create a war-torn Atlantis and it’s visually very nice. Sotomayor has really come through as colorist for this book. Attention has been paid to even the subtlest coloring detail—such as reflected light—which can be hard when working on a book that takes place primarily under water.
Together, Martinez and Sotomayor are a good team and more than able to keep up with Jurgens’ writing. The only real complaint is that there’s nothing that makes it stand out from any other book in the DC Universe out there at the moment.
BOTTOMLINE: ARE THE ATLANTEANS EVER HAPPY?
It would have been nice to see something a little different for Aquaman rather than it’s standard fanfare. It’s getting a little tiresome that the Atlanteans are always unhappy and Aquaman has to always soothe relations between his people and the surface dwellers. It’s even more disheartening that this is set five years in the future and nothing has really changed. While somewhat entertaining, this issue continues the trend of making Aquaman a one-trick pony. The art is good—neither terrible nor amazing—and Sotomayor has done a good job of keeping everything looking aquatic when necessary. Overall, it’s not a life-changing book, but it’s not a rag either. It’s somewhere in the middle. If “somewhere in the middle” isn’t enough to make you spend $2.99, then go ahead and skip it, though it make behoove you to at least flip through it if you plan on picking up this month’s Aquaman and the Others.