Time to give birth to Aquaman in some way or form as DC continues to semi-reboot their entire lineup. Characters aren’t changing, but a strong redirection is taking place, question is, is it good?
Aquaman: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
The DC Comics official summary for this title reads:
Born to both the surface and the sea, Arthur Curry walks in two worlds but can find a home in neither. The King of Atlantis looks to reconcile his split heritage as he embarks on a new mission that may finally make him choose between his two paths. POLITICAL PLAYER: “As the leader of a world power,” writer Dan Abnett says, “Arthur believes it’s time Atlantis became part of the global community. Atlantis has been on the outside for too long: feared, mysterious and misunderstood. But that means getting the world used to Atlantis… and vice versa.
Why does this book matter?
Writer Dan Abnett (best known for his work on Guardians of the Galaxy) continues to flesh out the more diplomatic Aquaman. He has an embassy near Boston that serves to connect the dry land humans with the Atlanteans. On top of that, Aquaman’s lady-friend Mera has her own chainmail costume and is by Arthur’s side again, making for a much more complicated Aquaman than ever before.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a fantastic issue from beginning to end for anyone who knows nothing about Aquaman. Abnett writes very informative captions that range from most humans’ interpretation of him (not unlike most folks who think he’s silly) to his place in the Justice League. Most importantly Abnett explains how – when you think about it – Aquaman is basically the ruler of two thirds of the Earth given how much the ocean covers. By cutting to 24 hour news, checking in with Mera at the embassy, and writing succinct captions Abnett covers all the bases as far as what makes Aquaman unique.
While that’s transpiring we get a look at a group of terrorist ocean bottom dwellers who are none too happy with Aquaman’s much more peaceful relationship with surface dwellers. Abnett introduces them well too and in doing so you get a sense that Aquaman’s ecosystem is incredibly complex. In a way this issue is a summary of every element that makes Aquaman’s world – in a lot of ways – much more compelling than the other big DC heroes.
Aquaman: Rebirth #1 features shared penciling duties between Scot Eaton and Oscar Jimenez with inks from Jimenez and Mark Morales and colors by Gabe Eltaeb. While it’s easy to tell when the artists switch I can’t say for certain who did what. Regardless though the comic has a strong art style that jumps between hyper-detailed to a somewhat detailed but cartoony look. For the most part it either looks like a modernly drawn comic or a slightly 80’s style one and both work well. The colors pull it all together with a rich brighter look that makes this feel like a primo DC character book. The more detailed pages sometimes make the faces look a tad off compared to others, but the action is easy to follow and you’ll never notice the heavy use of captions in part because the art flows nicely.
It can’t be perfect can it?
As someone who’s loved Abnett’s last few issues this one suffers a bit since it spends so much time recapping who Aquaman is and why he’s so important. The bad guys in this issue serve as something for him to do – and to expand on how a villain isn’t just a bad guy anymore due to Aquaman’s embassy – but when the cliffhanger drops you’ll realize it’s a intro to Aquaman and not much more. Let’s just say the cliffhanger isn’t all that surprising nor does it feel fresh. The more complicated politics of Aquaman’s life are intriguing, but to see a villain who’s more of a one trick pony (and one Geoff Johns used heavily in the New 52) makes this comic feel like a free comic book day comic more than anything else.
I wanna see more of these terrorists.
Is It Good?
Well written, looks tight, but doesn’t offer much new for longtime readers. Anyone new to Aquaman can find a fantastic introduction to the character here. Everyone else might want to wait for the next issue to see how things develop, because as of now this doesn’t feel all that new as much of this recap and old hat.