After recently skirmishes with the surface world, the King Of Atlantis is ready to open diplomatic channels to the surface world. But at least one man from the surface has slightly stabbier ideas… Your Major Spoilers review of Aquaman #1 awaits!
Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciler: Brad Walker
Inker: Andrew Hennessey
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Brian Cunningham & Amedeo Turturro
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Aquaman: Having regained the throne of Atlantis, Aquaman is ready to move on with his life. He has proposed to his long-time consort, Mera (who, it must be noted, is the one who deposed him and took over his throne) and is ready to begin diplomatic relations with the surface world, in the hopes that it will make his Atlantean home less terrifying to those who breathe air…
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
The pacing of this issue is fascinating, beginning with Mera and Arthur quietly preparing for their big day, using their chit-chat to drop important hints and bits of information that the readers will need, before launching into the official grand opening of Spindrift Station, the first Atlantean embassy on land. We get that information through the eyes of a couple of average Joes, one of whom is a decorated member of the British Royal Navy, and it’s impressive how Abnett’s script shifts perspective from the “man” to the leader of men, making Aquaman an impressive figure both in and out of universe. When one of the guests at the grand opening turns out to be more than he seems (Hint: He wears black and has a head like a Manta), things immediately accelerate into all-out battle, with Black Manta taunting Aquaman in front of the assembled multi-national congress, ending with a truly shocking final panel cliffhanger…
*THAT* GUY AGAIN
I have to admit, I had drifted away (pun intended) from the adventures of Aquaman after his strong launch during the New 52, but I’m happy to see this more mature take on the King, rather than the defiant, angry Arthur we had been seeing. The art is pleasant enough, especially when it comes to facial expressions, and the architecture of Spindrift Station is really incredible, but some of the compositions and anatomy during the fight sequence feel a little bit unsteady. That said, Walker’s work is reminiscent of Rags Morales and Nicola Scott, two artists whose work I hold in very high esteem, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for him and for Aquaman.
THE BOTTOM LINE: THAT SHOCKING LAST PAGE
The creative team delivers a very strong final page cliffhanger this issue, and even though you know that Black Manta isn’t going to fatally stab our hero, it’s still a moment that could be pivotal to the character going forward. Aquaman #1 is an issue that I hope will stop people’s incessant silly mockery of the character, featuring some strong art and a nice new angle on the Aquaman character, one which I hope is given some time to breathe and take hold before they inevitably blow it all up, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’m really hoping for a good 20+ issue run of this creative team and premise…